Walter Brueggemann

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Walter Brueggemann
Born (1933-03-11) March 11, 1933 (age 88)
EducationElmhurst College,
Eden Theological Seminary,
Union Theological Seminary,
Saint Louis University
OccupationProfessor of Theology
OrdainedUnited Church of Christ
WritingsOver one hundred books, dozens of scholarly articles, largely on rhetorical criticism
Offices held
Professor of Theology, Eden Theological Seminary (1961-1986); Professor of Theology, Columbia Theological Seminary (1986-2003); William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary (2003-present)

Walter Brueggemann (born March 11, 1933) is an American Protestant Old Testament scholar and theologian who is widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades.[1] He is an important figure in modern progressive Christianity whose work often focuses on the Hebrew prophetic tradition and sociopolitical imagination of the Church. He argues that the Church must provide a counter-narrative to the dominant forces of consumerism, militarism, and nationalism.[2][3]


Brueggemann was born in Tilden, Nebraska in 1933. He received an A.B. from Elmhurst College (1955), a B.D. from Eden Theological Seminary (1958), a Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary, New York (1961), and Ph.D. from Saint Louis University (in 1974). The son of a minister of the German Evangelical Synod of North America, he was ordained in the United Church of Christ. He was professor of Old Testament (1961–1986) and Dean (1968–1982) at Eden Theological Seminary. Beginning in 1986, he served as William Marcellus McPheeters professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, from which he retired in the early 2000s. Brueggemann currently resides in Traverse City, Michigan (2020). He is the editor of Journal for Preachers.[4]


Brueggemann is an advocate and practitioner of rhetorical criticism. He has written more than 58 books, hundreds of articles, and several commentaries on books of the Bible. He is also a contributor to a number of the Living the Questions DVD programs and is featured in the program "Countering Pharaoh's Production-Consumption Society Today."[citation needed] Brueggemann participated in Bill Moyers' 1990s PBS television series on Genesis (documented in Genesis: A Living Conversation. Main Street Books, 1997. ISBN 0-385-49043-7).[page needed]

Originally a strong supporter of modern day Israel and its biblical claims, Brueggemann later repudiated Israel for its exploitation of "ancient promises" to create a "toxic ideology," and now affirms his belief that it is not anti-Semitic to stand up for justice for Palestinians.[5]

Brueggemann is known throughout the world for his method of combining literary and sociological modes when reading the Bible. V. S. Parrish categorized Brueggemann as being an exegete and theologian.[citation needed] As an exegete he has composed several commentaries (Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, 1 and 2 Samuel, Isaiah, and Jeremiah). His most notable work was on the book of Psalms, and he has written many monographs and articles on specific portions of the Hebrew Bible. For example, he believes that lament is lacking in current religious faith and practice with detrimental results according to the subject.[6] As a theologian he has been an editor for the Fortress Press series "Overtures to Biblical Theology". His development of Old Testament theological methods consists of literary mode, social function, and dialectical approach.[clarification needed] Titles such as "David's Truth in Israel's Imagination and Memory" (1985), "Power, Providence and Personality" (1990), "1 Kings and 2 Kings" (1982c), "The Prophetic Imagination" (1978), and "Hopeful Imagination" (1986) reflect his interest in the prophetic corpus.[7]


Among his honors are:

  • LL.D., DePauw University, 1984
  • D.D., Virginia Theological Seminary, 1988
  • D.H.Litt., Doane College, 1990
  • D.D., Jesuit School of Theology, 1993
  • D.Litt., Colgate University, 1997
  • D.H.Litt., Elmhurst College, 1997
  • D.D., Huron University College, 2014

There is also a festschrift in his honor: God in the Fray: A Tribute to Walter Brueggemann (eds. Tod Linafelt and Timothy Beal, Minneapolis: Fortress Press).



  1. ^ "33rd G. Arthur Keough Lectures". Washington Adventist University. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
  2. ^ Theology, Paperback (April 15, 2014). "Walter Brueggemann's 19 Theses Revisited: A Clarification from Brueggemann Himself".
  3. ^ "The Word That Redescribes the World: The Bible and Discipleship". The Christian Century.
  4. ^ Journal
  5. ^ Walter Brueggemann, Foreword to "Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land", Mark Braverman, Synergy Books, 2010
  6. ^ Boda, Mark J. (2003). "The Priceless Gain of Penitence: From Communal Lament To Penitential Prayer in the "Exilic" Liturgy of Israel". Horizons in Biblical Theology. 25 (1), 51-75. doi: 10.1163/187122003X00033 ISSN 0195-9085 Brill Online
  7. ^ Mckim, Donald (2007). Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters. City: IVP Academic. pp. 242–247. ISBN 0-8308-2927-X.

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