Wednesday 20 July 2016

Walter Brueggemann on Money and Possessions

Walter Brueggemann, Money and possessions (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2016).

Since I saw it announced, I’ve been looking forward to seeing this volume by Walter Brueggemann in the ‘Interpretation: Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church’ series.

Westminster John Knox has made available a pdf except here.

Here are some paragraphs from the Preface:

‘The purpose of this book is to exhibit the rich, recurring, and diverse references to money and possessions that permeate the Bible. While we might conventionally assume, as we do in practice, that economics is an add-on or a side issue in the biblical text, an inventory of texts such as I offer here makes it unmistakably clear that economics is a core preoccupation of the biblical tradition.

‘In writing the book I have, in ways that have surprised me, come to the conclusion that the Bible is indeed about money and possessions, and the way in which they are gifts of the creator God to be utilized in praise and obedience. In such a frame of reference, money and possessions are of course intensely seductive, so that they can reduce praise to self-congratulations and obedience to self-sufficiency. Whatever is to be made of this expansive inventory of texts, it is clear that the economy, in ancient faith tradition, merited and received much more attention than is usual in conventional church rendering.

‘It is my hope that this exhibit of textual materials might evoke in the church a greater attentiveness to a keener critical assessment of the extractive economy around us in which we are implicated and a more determined advocacy for an alternative neighborly economy congruent with and derived from the gospel we confess. It is clear enough that voices that may champion and legitimate such alternative policy and practice are minimal in our society; the voicing of such alternative urgently requires the recovery of the tradition of neighborly money and possessions that has been entrusted to us.’

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