cover image Mandate to Difference: An Invitation to the Contemporary Church

Mandate to Difference: An Invitation to the Contemporary Church

Walter Brueggemann, . . Westminster John Knox, $19.95 (215pp) ISBN 978-0-664-23121-7

Renowned Old Testament scholar Brueggemann offers some profound insights in this collection of essays, roughly tied together by themes of social justice in the Bible and in the contemporary church. The best moments are his specific exegetical observations about the politics, economics, religious practices and community customs of various societies in the Hebrew Bible. Brueggemann produces a persuasive report card on the deficiencies of King Solomon as opposed to King Josiah, measuring their effectiveness by the yardstick of social justice. He examines three magnificent biblical poems of worship and also explores the fourth commandment as a radical "alternative to the quota system of the empire." Despite these flashes of brilliance, the book does not cohere well as a collection. The eleven essays, which Brueggemann delivered orally in various venues throughout 2005, are only loosely connected to one another, though most of the individual pieces are well researched and thought provoking. (Jan.)