Walter Brueggemann: Where to Start

The most frequent question I get once someone learns I read Walter Brueggemann is “Where should I start?” or “What should I read first?”

This is not an easy question, since Brueggemann writes varied kind of works and there are various kinds of readers who ask.

Here are a few places you can consider starting:

The Prophetic Imagination.

The Prophetic Imagination
This is Brueggemann’s seminal work. Reading this book will allow you to see how he understands the prophetic task both then and now. You will be introduced to some of his signature language, metaphors and Biblical tropes. Most who are conversant in the works of Brueggemann are well versed in this text.


Journey to the Common Good.

Journey to the Common Good
In this small volume Brueggemann summarizes much of his Biblical understanding in accessible language and offers a stunning paradigm for grasping our move from personal anxiety to neighborliness. This book changed my vocabulary. This book, read one summer in Burundi, also named the dynamics I witnessed in our community development work at the time. This is a must read!


The Collected Sermons of Walter Brueggemann.

The Collected Sermons

These sermons allow you to see what scholarship looks like in the pulpit. I read through this collection like a devotional, short entries but with depth and rhetorical style not characteristic of most daily devotionals. I took one season and read a sermon every Sunday, from cover to cover, and had my own sense of justice recalibrated week by week. I pack this hardbound book every summer as I travel to Burundi – it’s worth the weight – and that might be the highest recommendation I can offer!


Living Toward A Vision: Biblical Reflections on Shalom.

Living Toward a Vision

So many people use the word shalom without knowing what it means beyond “peace.” This is a comprehensive look at Biblical shalom that will help you understand shalom, peace, well-being and how they all converge in the text and our current context. This is one of my favorites, even though many people have never heard of it!


The Land: Place as Gift, Promise, and Challenge in Biblical Faith.

The Land

This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is the first book penned by Brueggemann that I ever read, so it has a special place in my heart. This is also a book I re-read years later as we began to embark on our first community development endeavor, and re-read multiple times since. This is a theology of land, of place, of connection to soil. If you are engaged in community development work, please read this straight away!


Walter Brueggemann has written commentaries on a variety of books: Genesis, I & II Samuel, I & II Kings, Jeremiah, etc. But my favorite is his two-volume commentary on the book of Isaiah. I never felt the sway of this prophet until I started referring to these volumes. So if you want to read a good commentary, or be properly introduced to Isaiah, I recommend Isaiah 1-39 and Isaiah 40-66.

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2 thoughts on “Walter Brueggemann: Where to Start”

  1. Joanna Dobson
     ·  Reply

    I have a growing list of books to read when I finish my BA (only a few weeks away now!). The Land just went on the top of it!

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