Walter Bueggemann's 'Divine Presence Amid Violence'
Divine Presence Amid Violence
Reading the Bible, especially the Old Testament, is very challenging due to stories that are deeply enmeshed in violence. This violence completely contradicts my modern day interpretation of the compassionate Christ that I learned about while singing, Jesus, Loves Me.
The Hebrew Bible presents some extremely violent text and when taken out of context it becomes difficult to find a connection between the compassion of Christ and a wrathful or vengeful God depicted in these Old Testament stories.
Walter Brueggemann, in his book Divine Presence Amid Violence provides an interpretation of one of these controversial stories found in Joshua 11. He explores the domination of …show more content…
He engages our thoughts by asking us how these texts are to be understood as revelation. Or, what can still be disclosed? In addition, he engages us further by asking how this information will be received. I believe these questions and this book would be very helpful for a pastor (I will disclose further in my summary). I found Brueggemann’s comparison of Joshua 11 very helpful in understanding how important the contextual variables play in our present understanding on the Old Testament text. For example, Brueggemann explains that in the thirteenth century, Joshua 11 may have revealed a divine intent about conquest and in the fifth century, the text was read with less attention to the raw assertion of divine agency through the violence against the Canaanites. Then within our own context, Brueggemann states, we may find these texts to assert divine resolve and intentionality, but we cringe from what seems to be God’s readiness for violence. This explanation was very helpful in understanding the revelation of such text and my hesitancy over years to embrace these