Book Review: The Prophetic Imagination

The Prophetic Imagination by Water Brueggemann

Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, 2nd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2001). 151 pp. Available at Amazon or CBD.

Walter Brueggemann has a unique command over the English language which, I suspect, is driven by his devotion to the poetry of the Prophets. In his classic work The Prophetic Imagination (1978, repr. 2001), Brueggemann examines the chief tasks of all God’s prophets:

  1. Breaking free from the power of the royal consciousness
  2. Criticism of oppression and apathy, and
  3. Energizing a new community of amazement and love.

What is most amazing about this book is Brueggemann’s ability to weave the worlds of the Mosaic community, Jeremiah, and Jesus together and place them against the backdrop of the contemporary American situation of superpower dominance.

The language is heavy sledding, and will require significant close reading and thought. The trouble (and also the beauty) of it is that WB cannot write a single sentence without the pregnant language of poetry. But for those who are willing to work through this book, they will find it a rich resource for grasping the movements of biblical voices, both ancient and contemporary.