“The big idea of this book (that echoes the big idea of the Old Testament) is that the God of ancient Israel (who is the creator of heaven and earth) is a God in relationship, who is ready and able to make commitments and who is impinged upon by a variety of “partners” who make a difference in the life of God. Such a notion of God in relationship that pervades the Old Testament is both a stark contrast to much classical theology that thought of God only in God’s holy self, and to the modern notion of autonomy whereby God and human selves as well are understood as isolated and independent agents who are only incidentally related to each other. The view taken here is that such relatedness is intrinsic to existence and definitional for all agents, including the agency of the God of ancient Israel.
“This suggests that the defining category for faith in the Old Testament is dialogue, whereby all parties — including God — are engaged in a dialogic exchange that is potentially transformative for all parties... including God. This constitutes a conviction that God and God’s partners are engaged in mutual talk. That mutual talk may take a variety of forms. From God’s side, the talk may be promise and command. From the side of the partners, it may be praise and prayer. The Old Testament is an invitation to re-imagine our life and our faith as an ongoing dialogic transaction in which all parties are variously summoned to risk and change.”
— Walter Brueggeman, “Preface” An Unsettling God: The Heart of the Hebrew Bible (Fortress: 2009).
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