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Walter Brueggemann, Prophetic Imagination, and the Productive Science of Homiletics

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This review asks to what degree Walter Brueggemann locates biblical interpretation within homiletics, particularly where homiletics is defined as a ‘productive science’ – the goal of which is to make or create something. To the degree this is true, biblical interpretation is not determined by an a priori referent, whether that referent be a closed rationality of social scientific description (or historical reconstruction) or whether that referent be a resistant theological ideology which one imposes on the text. Rather, such a hermeneutic – a productive hermeneutic – would be determined by a desired goal or outcome. Homiletics, thus defined, is a means to an end – an end achieved by naming God as an acting subject in the world to bring about said goal or outcome. This review suggests that Brueggemann’s biblical interpretation can be described in this way and that a productive hermeneutic may be both social scientifically viable and beneficial for the church.

Affiliations: 1: Emmanuel College, University of Toronto, 75 Queen’s Park Crescent, Suite 102, Toronto ON M5S 1K7,


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