donderdag 21 februari 2013

Review of: Walter Brueggemann, Deuteronomy (AOTC), Abingdon Press, 2001; in: Interpretation

Walter Brueggemann, Deuteronomy (AOTC), Abingdon Press, 2001.

Review in: Interpretation 2002 56: 328
Review door: Mark E. Biddle
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by Walter Brueggemann
Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries. Abingdon, Nashville, 2001.
305 pp. $34.00. ISBN 0-687-8471-7.

THIS SERIES, to which Bruggemann's volume makes an outstanding contribution, addressees a readership with some theological sophistication, but not necessarily with specialized expertise in biblical studies—parish ministers, seminarians, and lay leaders. Following a general introduction to Deuternonomy, the commentary treats each literary unit under three headings: literary analysis devoted to genre and structure; exegetical analysis dealing with historical, linguistic, and rhetorical issues; and theological and ethical analysis serving as the point of departure for the reader's reflection on the contemporary significance of the text.

In keeping with the purposes of the series, Brueggemann's treatment of Deuteronomy is not a detailed, in-depth treatment of the text. It reflects the current state of scholarship, but does not expand the discussion. Other commentaries will better serve the reader seeking verse-by-verse and word-by-word discussions of the Hebrew text. The strength of Brueggemann's volume is his theological/ethical reading of the text. The Shema's insistence on the necessity of only one loyalty leads him to comment on the twin dangers of despair born of the impossibility of such absolute loyalty and pride born of self-delusion (pp. 88-91). Noting that Deut 11:1-32 emphasizes Israel's relationship with YHWH, and therefore Israel's life in the land, as both gift and demand, Brueggemann proposes that Deuteronomy challenges contemporary society to acknowledge that "self-promotion ... not curbed by the demand of the holy, and self-sufficiency... not impinged upon by the presence of the neighbor constitutes a path to destruction" (p. 141).

This commentary will prove especially helpful for readers interested in the movement from exegesis to theological reflection. Brueggemann exemplifies this movement with unusual skill.

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