cover image PEACE


Walter Brueggemann, Author . Chalice $24.99 (205p) ISBN 978-0-8272-3828-2

First appearing during the peace-loving 1970s, this book now receives a welcome reintroduction as part of Chalice Press's Understanding Biblical Themes series. Brueggemann, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, looks at the protean concept of "shalom" and its relation to concerns today for peace and justice. The task is daunting, but Brueggemann tackles it with his characteristic penchant for conceptual clarity. He outlines a broad biblical vision for shalom ("one community embracing all creation... including all those resources and factors which make communal harmony joyous and effective") and identifies some of its comprising factors (freedom, unity, order, justice, etc.). The second half of the book begins to work out what it means for the church and its people to be a community of shalom. One of the best sections is the new introduction, which is Brueggemann's own insightful critique of the book (and the era in which it was written). Brueggemann seems just as at home with the New Testament as the Old, and like many seminary educators, his style slides between the pedagogical and the sermonic. Once in a while there's a clunky cluster of theological terms, but just as often a memorable and poetic turn of phrase. This is another fine example of what Brueggemann does best: squeezing the Bible to produce hard-working theology for the church. (June)