Video: Walter Brueggemann on God, Jesus, and (Re-)reading the Biblical Text

Do check out this short video of an interview with Walter Brueggemann in which he discusses the characterization of God, Jesus, and (re-) reading the Bible.  His discussion is quite germane to the two posts immediately below on What Kind of God Do You Believe In (HERE and HERE).  Do share your thoughts on Brueggemann’s words.


18 thoughts on “Video: Walter Brueggemann on God, Jesus, and (Re-)reading the Biblical Text

  1. Joseph Kelly says:

    “I believe that the God of the Bible is deeply implicated in this inheritance of violence. . . . We are going to deal theologically with the problem of violence forever because it is intrinsic to our inheritance”

    I think I understand this, and insofar as I have understood what he is saying, I agree. And yet, I question whether or not I have understood Brueggemann at all because later he goes on to say:

    “To think that somehow someone makes the claim that our faith is requiring us to move in a new direction. . . eventually those departures can only be explained by the movement of God’s Spirit. Far beyond all that we can ask or think or imagine.[Interviewer: “Beyond the text, beyond the tradition.”] That’s right!”

    Could the violence that implicates God in the Old Testament not equally be something from which our faith requires us to depart –moving beyond the texts of Genesis, Joshua, and Hosea? His move in the latter part of this clip puzzles me. What is it about OT violence that makes it inescapable that is not also true of recognizing homosexuality to be sinful?

    This is not as much a rebuke as it is a genuine question. Am I understanding Brueggemann or not?

    • John Anderson says:

      A very interesting question. I’d have to watch the interview again to comment adequately. Perhaps the difference would be that one is simply a biblical ‘issue’ and the other is the primary biblical ‘character’? I don’t have a tidy answer for you, unfortunately. This is also made more difficult by the abrupt ending of the clip; this is clearly only a portion of the interview.

      Others have any ideas?

  2. Rob Kashow says:

    simply genius. I agree with most all that he said. I don’t know if I heard him right, but I do disagree that the homosexual movement in the Church is a result of the moving of the Spirit. I’m actually a bit baffled at that. But I’m not able to ask questions for him to clarify nor am I sure if I heard him right.

    • John Anderson says:


      Brueggemann is a delight, isn’t he? Sometimes he says things like that that confuse me also . . . . but he is a Christian doing work for the church (contra what Waltke says about him and his OT Theology). He always has a social commentary underlying what he says, also, which I think is helpful in trying to make these ancient texts relevant for the contemporary life of faith; it also comes out of nowhere sometimes. But as a biblical scholar . . . . as a reader of texts . . . . he is among the most honest.

  3. Michael says:

    Works fine on mine too. Not sure what was wrong with my phone…

    Thanks for posting this. He’s seems like a very interesting person to get to know.

    I am particularly intrigued by his metaphor of God as an addict in recovery (from violence), where violence is always latent within him.

    I do wonder (and maybe I’m showing my liberal leanings here) if it really is “too easy” to see the violent portrayals of God in the OT as human projections within the experience of the one birthing those traditions.

    I need to think through all these options much more.

  4. Jim says:

    and why does the host guy insist on touching b-man’s knee? what’s going on here john????? what are you peddling????


    • John Anderson says:


      Why only the finest knees in all of biblical scholarship, that’s what! Who can I put you down for? (wink) Wait, let me guess . . . . you think Bultmann had pretty knees, right?

  5. John Anderson says:


    I wasn’t quite sure what you were saying in your first comment, but then your second one (sadly) clarified it for me. Brueggemann has always been a very animated speaker from what I’ve seen. It very much reminds me of Jews rocking back and forth while they pray.

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