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Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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"The conflict is only 'seemingly' beyond solution, because all historical-political problems have solutions, if there is enough courage, honesty, and steadfastness." In Chosen?, Walter Brueggemann explores the situation in modern-day Israel that raises questions for many Christians who are easily confused when reading biblical accounts of God's saving actions with the Israe "The conflict is only 'seemingly' beyond solution, because all historical-political problems have solutions, if there is enough courage, honesty, and steadfastness." In Chosen?, Walter Brueggemann explores the situation in modern-day Israel that raises questions for many Christians who are easily confused when reading biblical accounts of God's saving actions with the Israelites. Are modern Israeli citizens the descendants of the Israelites in the Bible whom God called chosen? Was the promise of land to Moses permanent and irrevocable? What about others living in the promised land? How should we read the Bible in light of the modern situation? Who are the Zionists, and what do they say? In four chapters, Brueggemann addresses the main questions people have with regards to what the Bible has to say about this ongoing issue. A question-and-answer section with Walter Brueggemann, a glossary of terms, study guide, and guidelines for respectful dialogue are also included. The reader will get answers to their key questions about how to understand God's promises to the biblical people often called Israel and the conflict between Israel and Palestine today.


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"The conflict is only 'seemingly' beyond solution, because all historical-political problems have solutions, if there is enough courage, honesty, and steadfastness." In Chosen?, Walter Brueggemann explores the situation in modern-day Israel that raises questions for many Christians who are easily confused when reading biblical accounts of God's saving actions with the Israe "The conflict is only 'seemingly' beyond solution, because all historical-political problems have solutions, if there is enough courage, honesty, and steadfastness." In Chosen?, Walter Brueggemann explores the situation in modern-day Israel that raises questions for many Christians who are easily confused when reading biblical accounts of God's saving actions with the Israelites. Are modern Israeli citizens the descendants of the Israelites in the Bible whom God called chosen? Was the promise of land to Moses permanent and irrevocable? What about others living in the promised land? How should we read the Bible in light of the modern situation? Who are the Zionists, and what do they say? In four chapters, Brueggemann addresses the main questions people have with regards to what the Bible has to say about this ongoing issue. A question-and-answer section with Walter Brueggemann, a glossary of terms, study guide, and guidelines for respectful dialogue are also included. The reader will get answers to their key questions about how to understand God's promises to the biblical people often called Israel and the conflict between Israel and Palestine today.

30 review for Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I found this to be a brief yet very helpful treatment of of the Israeli-Palestinain conflict from a biblical and Christian perspective. Brueggemann points out that, "much of our reading of the Bible turns out to be an echo of what we thought anyway." How can pre-conceived ideas and ideologies be challenged effectively? Here the author presents some interesting food for thought. This might possibly be a good book for those who are willing to consider again what they think they know.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paula Kirman

    A short but powerful look at the complexities of the struggle between Israel and Palestine, particularly dealing with the subject of what exactly "chosen" means in its true Biblical definition. It includes discussion and study questions for small groups. An excellent resource for liberal Christians.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andy Hickman

    “Chosen?” by Walter Brueggemann Walter Brueggemann states that there is no straight line between the ancient holy texts and the oppression of the Palestinian people by an expansionist Zionist government in modern State of Israel. It is destructive to Jews around the world who are increasingly being seen through the lens of Israel’s arrogant policies toward their neighbours whom they have been commanded to love by the Torah. Jews have tuned away from Judaism because they see it increasingly becomi “Chosen?” by Walter Brueggemann Walter Brueggemann states that there is no straight line between the ancient holy texts and the oppression of the Palestinian people by an expansionist Zionist government in modern State of Israel. It is destructive to Jews around the world who are increasingly being seen through the lens of Israel’s arrogant policies toward their neighbours whom they have been commanded to love by the Torah. Jews have tuned away from Judaism because they see it increasingly becoming an idolatrous worship of Jewish nationalism. Many Jewish communities around the world, for e.g. ‘Jewish Voices for Peace’ and ‘Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), are appalled at Israeli actions and are firmly sympathetic to the Palestinian struggle. “We must have the courage to deal with the political realities without being cowed by accusation of anti-Semitism.” So what do those who actually live in under Israeli oppression say about Zionism? “Indeed God cares to see that everybody lives with dignity and security in a home.” – Dr. Mary Mikhael, President and Professor of Christian Education, Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon; and author of ‘Horizons Bible Study’. The State of Israel has evolved into an immense military superpower. There is no doubt that such an insistence on military power has been in part evoked by a hostile environment in which the State lives, including periodic attacks by neighbouring states. The State of Israel has escalated (and continues to escalate) its occupation of the West bank by an aggressive development of new settlements. The State of Israel has exhibited a massive indifference to the human rights of Palestinians. (page xiv-xv) We are required to do fresh thinking about human rights in the face of the capacity for power coupled with indifference and cynicism in the policies of the Israeli State. Certainly the Christian West continues to have much to answer for with its history of antisemitic attitudes and policies. None of that legacy, however, ought to cause blindness or indifference to political reality and the way in which uncriticised ideology does enormous damage to prospects for peace and for the hopes and historical possibilities of the vulnerable. (page xvi) In the Old Testament the covenant tradition in Deuteronomy and the prophets was that ‘land’ was given unconditionally but held conditionally depending on obedience to the Torah. (p.2-3). The Old Testament scriptures are explicit in the inclusion of ‘others’. Isaiah 56:7 “a house of prayer for all nations.” The inclusion of other peoples in the sphere of God’s attentiveness mitigates any exclusionary claim by the current State of Israel with its Zionist policies of the exclusion of the other (Palestinians). (p24) This a dominant motif and continues to hold intransigently to the exclusionary claim that all the land belongs to Israel and the unacceptable other must be excluded, either by law or by coercive violence. (p.6-7) In Exodus 19:5 there is a huge IF in the invitation to covenant. The formulation of 1 Peter 2:9-10 echoes Sinai and amounts to a claim for the church as the chosen of God. In Galatians 6:16, Paul even identifies the community around Christ as ‘the Israel of God.’ The popular terminology of ‘the Promise Land’ is a significant image used in the historical narrative of the USA, where the U.S. military expansionism continues under the claim that the ‘leader of the free world’ must ‘save’ peoples in other lands. (p21) But since the State of Israel has opted to be a military power engaged in power politics along with other nation-states of the world it cannot at the same time appeal to old faith tradition in a persuasive way. (p38) The Holocaust (or Shoah) hardened Zionism into a desperate aspiration with an uncompromising ideology that supported the State of Israel and its security at all costs. As a result, the theological roots of the claim were skilfully allied with Israel’s immense and growing military power and with the great degree of international empathy for the Israeli State. (p49) Christian Zionism is more complex. It includes a general sense of solidarity with Jews that is informed by the legacy of Christian anti-Semitism and grounded in a theological dispensationalism that regards the State as an essential prerequisite to the “return of the Messiah.” Therefore, Christian Zionism regards the claims of Jewish Zionism as absolute and non-negotiable that yields singular commitment to the sole interests of the Israeli State. (p50-51) Every uncompromising ideology reduces faith to an idolatry. (p53) So, defenders of the Israeli State insist upon its identity as the ‘covenant people’ and therefore justify its reliance on military power without reference to covenantal restraints. (p56) Christians must be zealous, relentless advocates for human rights. (p58)

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Fritsche

    I promised a friend I'd read it🤦. Done 😕. Brueggemann did not do enough research into the roots of this conflict. It was as if he just was telling you what he thought with no evidence. Arguments are based on emotions and not facts. I wanted to like it, but it is lacking all evidence and critical thought a book like this requires.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    A short work by Brueggemann detailing a change of heart he has hard regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, framed as a work to be used within mainline Protestant denominations to justify and explain divestment from Israel. For his part Brueggemann focuses primarily on the text and theological issues. He attempts to ride the line between certain OT passages which seem to suggest Israel is given the land unconditionally with other passages that make it quite clear it is conditionally given. He do A short work by Brueggemann detailing a change of heart he has hard regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue, framed as a work to be used within mainline Protestant denominations to justify and explain divestment from Israel. For his part Brueggemann focuses primarily on the text and theological issues. He attempts to ride the line between certain OT passages which seem to suggest Israel is given the land unconditionally with other passages that make it quite clear it is conditionally given. He does so by suggesting the land is given unconditionally but held conditionally. His change of heart is based on Israel's stockpiling of weapons and treatment of the Palestinians. This will not make him many fans in the Jewish community, nor among Zionists of Jewish or Christian persuasions. He also uses quite strong terms to denounce any concept of supersessionism but never, at least in this work, gets around to making a coherent argument against it, especially in light of how he demonstrates agreement that both Paul and Peter appropriate the language of Israel to speak of Christianity and the church. One must wonder if there is a confessional bias which proves difficult to sustain textually in these regards. Quite frankly, not one of Brueggemann's better works. It seems highly politically motivated; it's not as if the exegesis is thoroughly unsound as much as simply convenient. Given in perpetuity but only held conditionally? Why bother? **-galley received as part of early review progam

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    How Relevant is the Bible to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem Today? Brueggemann's thesis is that it is necessary to deal with the human rights issues before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved. He uses the Bible to trace the history of the claims to the land Israel now occupies and tries to draw conclusions about the legitimacy of Israel's claim and the counter claim of the Palestinians. Although he discusses the conflict in terms of the oppression of the Palestinians and the idea th How Relevant is the Bible to the Israeli-Palestinian Problem Today? Brueggemann's thesis is that it is necessary to deal with the human rights issues before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be resolved. He uses the Bible to trace the history of the claims to the land Israel now occupies and tries to draw conclusions about the legitimacy of Israel's claim and the counter claim of the Palestinians. Although he discusses the conflict in terms of the oppression of the Palestinians and the idea that the Israelis are the chosen people of God, I didn't think he did enough in depth discussion to prove his points beyond a superficial level that most people are familiar with. The topic is relevant to the political situation today. I was interested to see how Brueggemann would address the fact that Israel is placed in an extremely dangerous situation and that the Palestinians have religious and secular ties to Israel's neighbors. Although the book makes some good points, I was disappointed in the shallowness of the presentation. For me, the more relevant discussion today is the terrible human suffering wrecked upon the region by ISIS. The book was interesting, but I thought it was naive in the context of the situation in the Middle East today. I reviewed this book for Net Galley.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vicars Hodge

    Brueggemann has brought his considerable intellect and wide command of the Hebrew Scriptures to this text. He raises real questions about both interpretation of scripture and ethics. When you are done reading, you have some thinking to do about the correct Christian response to the middle east conflict. Bruegeeman makes a case that Israel may have been given he land but that her holding the land is conditional upon covenant keeping. There are real challenges here to Israel and to Christians who Brueggemann has brought his considerable intellect and wide command of the Hebrew Scriptures to this text. He raises real questions about both interpretation of scripture and ethics. When you are done reading, you have some thinking to do about the correct Christian response to the middle east conflict. Bruegeeman makes a case that Israel may have been given he land but that her holding the land is conditional upon covenant keeping. There are real challenges here to Israel and to Christians who want to support Israel yet are deeply troubled by human rights abuses. I agree with most of Brueggeman's conclusions -- though I am not willing to give up on a 2 state solution as he seems to conclude. I also think that Brueggeman would do well to start a step further back.... not with the Question Israel as God's Chosen...... but rather, Who is Israel? A more careful look at NT and OT text taken together leads to the conclusion that Israel is all who follow Messiah, both Jew and Gentile.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    This book is a bit heady, and definitely in lecture format but is full of insight and thoughtful explanation regarding this area of the world that has been in conflict for eons! Great read - short, and passionate in its delivery.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mel

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book serves as a great primer for someone like me who chose it to get a handle on the varied beliefs and feelings swirling within the larger Christian community around moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and about Israel and Zionism itself. In it, Brueggemann covers such issues as the biblical tension between exclusion and welcome, helpful conclusions about reading the Bible and responsible interpretation, the Exodus versus Sinai traditions and whether the claim of Israel's chosenness is rev This book serves as a great primer for someone like me who chose it to get a handle on the varied beliefs and feelings swirling within the larger Christian community around moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and about Israel and Zionism itself. In it, Brueggemann covers such issues as the biblical tension between exclusion and welcome, helpful conclusions about reading the Bible and responsible interpretation, the Exodus versus Sinai traditions and whether the claim of Israel's chosenness is revocable (this even challenged my belief of God's preferential option for the poor), a brief biblical and historical look at the Holy Land, and the different kinds of Zionism. All of this served as a really helpful primer for me; one that is down and dirty, but also has the depth to it you expect from Brueggemann. The two big takeaways for me (spoiler alert, but it's important for me to note them for my personal records): 1) Singular claims resist alternative imagination 2) "Alternative to that settled position [of liberal Christian Zionism] that I judge to be well informed does not deny the claims from the past - the force of anti-Semitism, the brutality of the Shoah [Holocaust] - or the continuing vulnerability of Jews. But it also takes into account the current reality of Israeli military capacity that has long since moved past the vulnerability of the beginning of a fragile state, and it takes seriously the brutalizing, uncompromising policy of Israel toward the Palestinian people and their political future...The actual suffering of human bodies and the deprivations imposed by harsh force expose as inadequate old ideologies that have long seemed to be beyond question." It is clear that I still have more thinking and thoughtful study to do, but I know what areas I want to now focus in on. As always, Brueggemann serves to remind me against settled, easy dualisms and to bring me to spacious, bigger thinking, using here what he calls an "alternative imagination."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Robert D. Cornwall

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a continuing source of problems not only in the Middle East but for Christians. After generations of deep-rooted anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism being present in our theologies and practices, living in the shadow of the Holocaust it is natural for Christians to support Jewish self-determination, which includes a homeland. At the same time, many Christians, myself included, are uncomfortable with the current state of affairs in Palestine (both Israel and the Pal The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a continuing source of problems not only in the Middle East but for Christians. After generations of deep-rooted anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism being present in our theologies and practices, living in the shadow of the Holocaust it is natural for Christians to support Jewish self-determination, which includes a homeland. At the same time, many Christians, myself included, are uncomfortable with the current state of affairs in Palestine (both Israel and the Palestinian territories). For much of my life Israel has occupied the territories given to the Palestinians by the British and the UN (originally Jordan and Egypt had control of the West Bank and Gaza). It has developed a powerful army and its rule over the Palestinians is often heavy handed. Years of "negotiations" have provided little relief for the Palestinians and security concerns for the Israeli's. No one seems to have figured out how to fix the problem, which not only divides Israeli's and Palestinians, but causes headaches for many Christians. One of the contributors to the issue at hand is the way we read the Bible. Many in Israel and many of its supporters, including Christians, equate the modern state of Israel with ancient Israel, applying covenant promises found in the Hebrew Bible to the contemporary nation. It's understandable, but as Walter Brueggemann helpfully points out, there can be no one-to-one linkage. What we need to do then is explore these texts and ask how they should be interpreted and applied. There are few better interpreters than Walter Brueggemann, one of the most distinguished biblical scholars of our day and a person of demonstrated wisdom when it comes to applying text to modern context. "Chosen" is a very brief book. It is composed of four chapters, a Q & A with Brueggemann section, a glossary, and a study guide for a four week study. Brueggemann writes that his own approach to the topic has been influenced by his biblical scholarship. He notes in the introduction that he starts with the premise that Israel has been chosen by God. He notes that it is not only a biblical concept, but it fits theologically the modern situation, for Jews living after the Holocaust/Shoa understand themselves to be a vulnerable people. Brueggemann has in the past, and continues in the present, to support the establishment of the state of Israel. That said, facts on the ground require a more balanced reading than unconditional support for Israel. He points out that Israel will not be inclined to show restraint in its dealings with the Palestinians as long as the US offers unconditional support. Such support is not good for either Israel or the Palestinains. Therefore, his desire is to see Christians become more willing to stand up for the human rights of the Palestinian people. Brueggemann begins with a discussion of how we read the bible -- in the context of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In other words the conflict, which often involves appeals to the Bible, allows for a conversation about the way we read the Bible. When it comes to the Land, he notes that there are multiple traditions present in the Bible. Thus we have the Deuteronomic tradition that affirms that God gave the Land to Israel unconditionally, but it's ability to hold it is conditional. Then there is the tradition of Ezra, which seeks to purify the land and insists that the covenant is unconditional. Ezra is an exclusionist, but others including the writers of Jonah and Ruth offer a more welcoming vision. So, should we read the Bible in a welcoming manner or an exclusionist way? In chapter two Brueggemann goes deeper into the claim of Israel to be the chosen people. As he explores this question he raises a couple of related questions. First of all pertains to the claim of church over time to be the new chosen people. Then there is the question of the status of the "unchosen." There is, as he notes the tradition that God called Israel out to be a blessing to the nations (the unchosen). Ultimately there is a need to move beyond chosenness. The third chapter goes into greater depth on the question of the Land, and whether it is holy. He notes that while it is a gift of God there are strings attached. This is seen in Deuteronomy, which suggests that possession of the Land is linked with keeping Torah. He notes too that the Torah (first five books) end before the people enter the Land, thus Torah goes before Land. In exploring this conditionality, Brueggemann again asks the question of whether modern Israel is the same as ancient Israel. He concludes that based on the facts on the ground Israel can make claims that a nation-state can make about sovereignty and security, but it cannot at the same time root them in Ancient Israel. He writes that the "appeal to the biblical promise must simply be set alongside very old claims made by the Palestinians" (p. 38). The final chapter focuses on the concept of Zionism, both its Jewish forms and Christian forms. The two reinforce each other but have different kinds of concerns. Zionism itself refers back to the city of Jerusalem, a city that David captured to serve as his capital. Zionism thus has appeal to the person of David and his role in the life of Israel (and the church). Christians have often appealed to the image of Zion to describe its own status as the new Israel, but this supersessionist vision needs to be abandoned. With this in mind, he turns to modern Zionism, which emerged in the 19th century among Jews seeking to create for themselves a homeland. It started small, but moved toward a possibility after Britain and France took over parts of the old Ottoman Empire, and the British provided an opening for a return to their ancient homeland. After World War II, a Jewish state was declared, and much of the west supported its claim, including the UN, which partitioned the land. At the same time a Christian form developed, often with Millenialist visions -- a restored Israel would provide the opening for the return of Christ. The problem that emerges here is that the cause has become an ideology, and one that has proven to be non-negotiable. Brueggemann has provided a helpful foundation for a necessary but difficult conversation about the way Christians understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the way we read the Bible, and how religion and politics get intertwinned. It is a brief book so not all issues are resolved, but this is, I think an important starting point for an important conversation. To my Christian friends -- this is a must read!!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Not sure if this was originally a series of lectures. But it didn’t feel thorough enough, and many of his major points went mostly unsubstantiated due mainly, it seems, to the conciseness of the writing.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    Brief, concise, and a very quick read. Feels often more like a discussion guide than a real set of arguments, but one can read and enjoy it even while disagreeing with parts.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brandon G. Smith

    Not as in depth of a study as I would have expected from Brueggemann. I feel like this was a very surface level treatment of the conflict, and I still have questions.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawne

    This was a simple, easy book but was filled with great insight and information.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ginny Martinez

    Brought up good points for understanding from both sides. I'll need to read again to really "get it.". 3/2020. Reread a few days later. Brueggermann's points make a lot of sense to me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Connie Anderson

    What can I say about the inner workings of Walter Brueggemann's mind to know his individual stance on the issue, pro or con. What I am led to believe is the question "Does Israel, as a powerfully militarized nation today, have the right to displace all Palestinians from the land once decreed by God, in the Old Testament of the Bible, to be Israel's for all time? And, should Christians in America back Israel as much as they do just for the sake of not being called "antisemitic "? The biggest quest What can I say about the inner workings of Walter Brueggemann's mind to know his individual stance on the issue, pro or con. What I am led to believe is the question "Does Israel, as a powerfully militarized nation today, have the right to displace all Palestinians from the land once decreed by God, in the Old Testament of the Bible, to be Israel's for all time? And, should Christians in America back Israel as much as they do just for the sake of not being called "antisemitic "? The biggest question that I, as a reader of his book, ask him is what's his main motive for writing this book? Is it for political reasons? Is he biased against one side, being Israel's? Is there a hidden agenda other than for humanitarian reasons that we are not privy to? Why this book, and why now? Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe he and I are on the same page. We see the news, read the papers, and fail to understand why Israel so adamantly wants no Palestinians on their soil. Is it right and ethical for current day Israel to be so heavily militarized and able to disregard the Palestinians' basic human rights? Mr. Brueggemann believes not, and tries to back his premise with the Bible. Yes, God told Moses that his were the chosen people and that Israel will be their land unconditionally. However, God later tells the Israelites that they may keep the land under one condition. They must all obey the Torah. If they do not, they basically forfeit the right to keep the land all to themselves. Many of them disobeyed God's one condition and therefore cannot claim the land strictly for themselves. Breuggmann claims that Israel's great military power, along with the backing of Christians in the U. S., are violating the Palestinians' human rights. It was not so long ago in history that the tables were turned. So why is Israel now doing the same thing to another ethnic group in their region of the world? I find myself questioning why Breuggmann is only now bringing this subject up, when peace talks failed again and again in the twentieth century? Shouldn't we now focus our attention on the genocide and human suffering that I.S.I.S. is installing onto the Syrian people? Isn't this a much larger and more heinous injustice to the Syrian people's Human Rights? National news agencies report that this is the largest mass exodus since World War II. I am no debater, nor have I ever wanted to be. I only believe that this book is just a little too little, a little too late when there are much greater (in quantity) pressing issues that we need to focus our attention on right now. Pointing fingers and blaming one religious group or nation is not going to win over the people you are trying to convince to help.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Walter Bruggemann stands in the top ranks of living Old Testament scholars, and in “Chosen” he puts directs his career of biblical scholarship to work to address one of the most daunting issues of our day: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While it is not unusual for theologians and ethicists to opine about the current political and social issues, the crisis in the Middle East would seem to beg for it more than most, given that the conflict is argued to have arisen from mandates contained in the Walter Bruggemann stands in the top ranks of living Old Testament scholars, and in “Chosen” he puts directs his career of biblical scholarship to work to address one of the most daunting issues of our day: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While it is not unusual for theologians and ethicists to opine about the current political and social issues, the crisis in the Middle East would seem to beg for it more than most, given that the conflict is argued to have arisen from mandates contained in the Scriptures. And it is this that Bruggemann seeks particularly to address: what does it mean that the God of the Hebrew Scriptures “chose” Israel above all other nations, and to what degree does that “chosenness” grant license to the modern state of Israel to do what it wants in exercising its will upon its neighbors? The book is slim. It is not an in-depth study employing the tools of biblical analysis, but a study guide, meant for use by local church groups interested in the issue. As such, it stands on his own. Bruggemann still writes as an academic, so the book demands some sophistication (it would be way beyond anyone reading at a 6th-grade reading comprehension level), and it also presupposes an open mind (increasingly hard to find in our polarized world), but still provides sufficient argument to justify his points. And his points, simply put, are these: 1. It is a mistake to equate the biblical nation called “Israel” with the modern state of Israel; and 2. (To quote:) “[I]t seems to me that the state of Israel, in its present inclination and strategy [e.g. its hyper-militarization, its denial to Palestinians within the Occupied Territories of basic human rights], cannot expect much ‘positive play’ from its identity as ‘God’s chosen people.” For as Bruggemann points out in a brief survey of the Old Testament narrative, there are noteworthy instances where God allows Israel to go to ruin because it does not manifest the marks of a chosen people, i.e. justice and mercy. Because opinions regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have become so hardened in many quarters, there may unfortunately be a small audience for this book. Basically, I imagine it would result in effective discussion among a group that might have formed casual opinions about the conflict, but frankly have not thought about it very much. (And too, as mentioned earlier, they would have to possess a certain level of reading sophistication.) But I hope this study guide would find that audience. For it has an important perspective to bring to the discussion.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe Henry

    This little book of 88 pages is ideally suited for a short focus on a consideration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I received a copy of it from my friend, Jane W., who had used it as basis for a small group discussion. I read it and was impressed to the point that I recommended it to a group I'm a part of--we start on it tomorrow. To be honest, the Isreaeli-Palesinian has not been on my radar so much during the very troubling 2016 US Presidential campaign. But it is high-time I dug into it This little book of 88 pages is ideally suited for a short focus on a consideration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I received a copy of it from my friend, Jane W., who had used it as basis for a small group discussion. I read it and was impressed to the point that I recommended it to a group I'm a part of--we start on it tomorrow. To be honest, the Isreaeli-Palesinian has not been on my radar so much during the very troubling 2016 US Presidential campaign. But it is high-time I dug into it a bit, and I am looking forward to doing it with the group. I think this will be a great facilitator. The chapter titles are: • Reading the Bible amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict • God’s Chosen People: Claim and Problem • Holy Land? • Zionism and Israel In addition, there is in the same volume a Study Guide. The Introduction to the Study Guide “suggests four sessions of approximately an hour. If desired, a fifth session may be created discussing the Questions and Answers Chapter and discussing potential group responses. A basic structure is provided for each session and a number of discussion questions are offered. Opening and closing prayers are provided.” P.67 Promo from back cover of the book: “The situation in modern-day Israel raises questions for many Christians. In Chosen?, Walter Brueggemann explores these issues and provides candid commentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Are modern Israeli citizens the descendants of the Israelites in the Bible whom God called chosen? Was the promise of land to Moses permanent and irrevocable? What about others living in the promised land? How should we read the Bible in light of the modern situation? Who are the Zionists, and what do they say? “In four chapters, Brueggemann addresses the main questions people have with regards to what the Bible has to say about this ongoing debate. A question-and-answer section with Walter Brueggemann, a glossary of terms, a study guide, and guidelines for respectful dialogue are also included. “Walter Bruegemann is William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he is the author of dozens of books, including Sabbath as Resistance; Introduction to the Old Testament, Second Edition; Mandate to Difference; and From Whom No Secrets Are Hid.” Copies of the book may be bought in bulk at a discount through www.thethoughtfulchristian.com (current sale price $9.10).

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yonasan Aryeh

    In this book, Walter Brueggemann presents a surprising twist. I came into this book with the expectation of seeing yet another Christian book arguing for the Jewish nation, and left it - more walked away is the notion - shocked and dismayed that Brueggemann outright attacks the nation of Israel and discredits their military decisions, even though every decision has been made solely for the protection of the Jewish people. Contrary to what the author argues, the nation of Israel deserves its exis In this book, Walter Brueggemann presents a surprising twist. I came into this book with the expectation of seeing yet another Christian book arguing for the Jewish nation, and left it - more walked away is the notion - shocked and dismayed that Brueggemann outright attacks the nation of Israel and discredits their military decisions, even though every decision has been made solely for the protection of the Jewish people. Contrary to what the author argues, the nation of Israel deserves its existence as G-d’s chosen people even to this day in that land. It is not a land to be lost, since G-d restored them, and the Jewish people are both ethnically and religiously the same people that the Torah, Tanakh, and Gospel point the message of salvation toward. In this book, Brueggemann loses credibility and respect by presenting arguments that seem to suggest that the promises to Israel can be transposed to the church, instead of to the modern nation of Israel, which shows his own fallibility. Many would stand by him and argue for his views, including some Jewish opponents to Zionism, but it does nothing to counter the clear B’rit Hadashah commands regarding the Jewish nation and the goal of the Zionists. While some may view Zionism as being anti-Jewish, the reality is that being Jewish is a multi-faceted issue, one with religious and cultural connotations, as well as one of personal struggle for many Messianic Jewish synagogues. I have been and always will be for the state of Israel and no other nation. My nationality is that of a Jew and my citizenship is that of a talmidim of HaShem/Y’shua. In that capacity, the arguments made in this book are nothing but disappointing and a harsh reminder of the problems of errant theology within Christianity. The reality, regardless of how this author attempts to portray it, is that the modern Jewish nation has only fought to protect themselves and advocate for peace whenever possible. It is the dangers of groups like Hamas that threaten the very notion of justice in the Middle East, and no one else. Disclosure: I have received a reviewer copy and/or payment in exchange for an honest review of the product mentioned in this post.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken

    This very slim text leaves me with more questions than answers. Title is a bit misleading, as the actual mention of the current conflict is very much superficial. Was hoping for more background. Full review to come. +++++++++ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl... https://www.facebook.com/AllTheBookBl... I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have to be upfront and say that I do not know much at all about the conflict aside from the bare bones of it - Israe This very slim text leaves me with more questions than answers. Title is a bit misleading, as the actual mention of the current conflict is very much superficial. Was hoping for more background. Full review to come. +++++++++ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.bl... https://www.facebook.com/AllTheBookBl... I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I have to be upfront and say that I do not know much at all about the conflict aside from the bare bones of it - Israelis and Palestinians are fighting over the same land and have been for decades. I was hoping in this text to get a little a little more background and specifics but it left me with more questions than answers. It appeared more superficial to me, and this might only be because of my lack of knowledge, but the focus was on what was said in the Bible about the Israelites being the Chosen People who were led to the Holy Land. Time and again the author said the land was given unconditionally, but that did not mean it could be kept unconditionally. It really seemed like he was driving that point home, time and again, so that is the main take-way? I do not know enough of this author's beliefs about the topic to know if that is indicative of his specific beliefs about the current conflict. At the end of the book the author had a Q&A session, which I felt like should have been incorporated into the text itself, perhaps written as part the conclusion? It seemed strange to me, especially when the text was so slim to begin with. I also find it hard to take non-fiction authors seriously who use a lot of exclamation points. I don't know, that is just a personal thing. I think the majority of the issues with the text are mine, due to my lack of knowledge. I plan to read further in order to learn more about this topic. I could recommend it though for those better versed in the subject.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beth Peninger

    Thank you to NetGalley and Westminster John Knox Press for this free readers edition. In exchange I am providing an honest review. So really this is more a booklet than a book. In the Kindle edition the 114 pages are really about 70 pages content and the rest is compiled of tips and such for having a healthy discussion about the content of the book. So all this to say I read the book in about 2 minutes. *wink* Brueggemann concisely speaks about the promises from God to Israel regarding land and b Thank you to NetGalley and Westminster John Knox Press for this free readers edition. In exchange I am providing an honest review. So really this is more a booklet than a book. In the Kindle edition the 114 pages are really about 70 pages content and the rest is compiled of tips and such for having a healthy discussion about the content of the book. So all this to say I read the book in about 2 minutes. *wink* Brueggemann concisely speaks about the promises from God to Israel regarding land and being "chosen." And he holds a conversation about what being chosen entails - the responsibilities it carries - and how Israel fails to uphold those. "It would seem that in every claim of chosenness - from Israel, the United States, the church - the chosen must choose beyond their chosenness. This is difficult, for it is against the grain of entitlement and assurance. But unless difficult choices are made, the present violence can only hold out a future of perpetual violence." He logically points out that leaning upon a Biblical promise won't hold water with the world and to try to make claims based on it alone isn't going to get Israel very far. His straightforward and easy to comprehend explanations can't really be argued with at all. He concludes, based on reading the scriptures and dissecting God's interactions with the Israelites that, "the land is given to Israel unconditionally, but it is held by Israel conditionally." They can't keep the land, the promise of God, if they don't adhere to standards of behavior set forth in the Torah. This is called the Deuteronomic If. Brueggemann was able, in this booklet, to explain to me in ways I could understand the conflict surrounding being a chosen of God and why it can be filled with strife. Included in the booklet is a study guide meant to help lead group discussion about this tension filled topic - I would love to have discussions with people about this, he brings up such good points.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Laura Cheifetz

    Well, many more questions than answers. I had to re-read many sentences. Brueggemann makes me think. He addresses ways in which we read the Bible (particularly when those ways are problematic and not true to the context of the text), the issue and claim of election of a people ("chosenness"), theology of land, and Zion and Zionism. He is careful to contrast what he sees as Biblical and what he sees as a modern construct of Biblical claims. I will re-read it. A good line: "The chosen must choose Well, many more questions than answers. I had to re-read many sentences. Brueggemann makes me think. He addresses ways in which we read the Bible (particularly when those ways are problematic and not true to the context of the text), the issue and claim of election of a people ("chosenness"), theology of land, and Zion and Zionism. He is careful to contrast what he sees as Biblical and what he sees as a modern construct of Biblical claims. I will re-read it. A good line: "The chosen must choose beyond their chosenness." and "Making room for the other is a huge interruption of any absolutist claim." He continues to reinforce the distance between the time/land of the text and contemporary political claims. Again, he is clear and careful. Highly recommended as food for thought and ongoing challenge to all of us who have found the boundaries between text and politics odd, alienating, muddled, and often transgressed for our own ideologies.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rick Lee Lee James

    A Simple Explanation of a Complex Problem If you have ever wanted to understand the complex issues surrounding Israel, Zionism, Christian Zionism, and biblical ideas of Israel this is a perfect resource for you. It isn't a tremendously long book so you can probably read it in about an hour and it has a really good study guide in the back, including prayers to help lead you into group discussions on this very complex topic. Walter Brueggemann has been a brilliant job making a very complex topic a A Simple Explanation of a Complex Problem If you have ever wanted to understand the complex issues surrounding Israel, Zionism, Christian Zionism, and biblical ideas of Israel this is a perfect resource for you. It isn't a tremendously long book so you can probably read it in about an hour and it has a really good study guide in the back, including prayers to help lead you into group discussions on this very complex topic. Walter Brueggemann has been a brilliant job making a very complex topic accessible to almost everyone. I strongly encourage you to read this powerful little book and increase your understanding on the problems facing Israel and Palestine. There is no justice without Mercy. When it comes to Israel versus Palestine, we cannot just blindly turn away from human rights. To do so would be to give up the neighborliness that the Bible, and Jesus Christ, are so insistent upon.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paul Batz

    This short little book is a nice introduction for readers of the Bible hoping to make sense of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Walter Bruggemann supports the historic development of the state of Israeli, and is sensitive in light of the Shoah, he is mindful of human rights issues; he is concerned about the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians; often, within American-Christian circles, there is a deep imbalance towards favouring Israeli rights in neglect of Palestinian ones. I suppose This short little book is a nice introduction for readers of the Bible hoping to make sense of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While Walter Bruggemann supports the historic development of the state of Israeli, and is sensitive in light of the Shoah, he is mindful of human rights issues; he is concerned about the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians; often, within American-Christian circles, there is a deep imbalance towards favouring Israeli rights in neglect of Palestinian ones. I suppose I have only given this book a 3 out of 5 because it is so brief. Maybe this is also its strength? It is certainly a book you can share with someone with the hope that they'll read it entirely. Overall, I appreciated Bruggemann's willingness to assess the current situation on a ground level and to challenge his readers of the Bible to do the same. While difficult, it is possible to be critical of Israeli policies without being anti-Semitic.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Denis Mcgrath

    The biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann limits his discussion to the concept of “chosen” in the context of the Hebrew bible as it applies to people, nation states and God’s promise. He asks the probative question, “ Does it also confer title to the land?” as claimed in modern times by the Zionists and the State of Israel? He opines that Scripture does not appear to substantiate their claim. It does substantiate that the land can be lost. Military aggression, abuse of human rights subservient to The biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann limits his discussion to the concept of “chosen” in the context of the Hebrew bible as it applies to people, nation states and God’s promise. He asks the probative question, “ Does it also confer title to the land?” as claimed in modern times by the Zionists and the State of Israel? He opines that Scripture does not appear to substantiate their claim. It does substantiate that the land can be lost. Military aggression, abuse of human rights subservient to a self-serving ideology does not justify a claim to the “promised” land. A helpful study guide is appended to the book to assist in enhancing a positive conversation about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A perfect supplement for ecumenical gatherings… I was provided an electronic copy in return for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Westrope

    This little book tackles big issues. Using the Bible as a guide, Brueggemann questions the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and suggests that Israel may need to rethink the way they are dealing with the Palestinians. While there are no concrete answers, this study definitely leaves the reader with much to contemplate. Focusing on the biblical teaching of "other" (as in "love God, love others"), he challenges America, and Christians in particular, to question their support of Israel, and exac This little book tackles big issues. Using the Bible as a guide, Brueggemann questions the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and suggests that Israel may need to rethink the way they are dealing with the Palestinians. While there are no concrete answers, this study definitely leaves the reader with much to contemplate. Focusing on the biblical teaching of "other" (as in "love God, love others"), he challenges America, and Christians in particular, to question their support of Israel, and exactly what it is they are supporting. Definitely a good read, and comes with a study guide as well, for further thought on the subject. The only problem I had was in reading the Kindle version. The formatting was so messed up, the paragrahs sometimes intersected one another, and some were repeated, making it a bit of a struggle to follow.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Curtis

    In this short work the author provides some initial thoughts on understanding the Biblical theme of Israel's chosenness in light of the contemporary Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My own interest in the topic comes from hearing other Christians so readily equate present day Israel with what we read in the Old Testament. I find this problematic and this work offered further food for thought and potential points of discussion in the future. The author continued to reference 'liberal Christians' whi In this short work the author provides some initial thoughts on understanding the Biblical theme of Israel's chosenness in light of the contemporary Israeli-Palestinian conflict. My own interest in the topic comes from hearing other Christians so readily equate present day Israel with what we read in the Old Testament. I find this problematic and this work offered further food for thought and potential points of discussion in the future. The author continued to reference 'liberal Christians' which I do not readily identify with so I'm not sure I would be able to recommend this work to others without having clarifying discussions alongside their reading. In this same vein, I don't entirely agree with the authors methodology and presuppositions for exploring this issue in light of what the Bible witness is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    The book is a thin attempt to sum up the issue of whether or not from a Biblical perspective the people of Israel were actually chosen by God to have the land that Israelis and Palestinians continue to fight over. The book is meant more for Bible classes looking at the issue, and he makes no real conclusion other than both sides of the argument can be demonstrated by verses in the Bible. What he does conclude is that, if there is a promise, it is a conditional promise. The Jewish people repeated The book is a thin attempt to sum up the issue of whether or not from a Biblical perspective the people of Israel were actually chosen by God to have the land that Israelis and Palestinians continue to fight over. The book is meant more for Bible classes looking at the issue, and he makes no real conclusion other than both sides of the argument can be demonstrated by verses in the Bible. What he does conclude is that, if there is a promise, it is a conditional promise. The Jewish people repeatedly lost their right to the land for their lack of faith and failure to follow the law handed down by God. Sympathetic to the Palestinian plight, Brueggemann makes it clear that there's a good argument the treatment of Palestinians does not follow the law and goes against a people with a promise. Light but thoughtful and a short read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This is the kind of book that tends to be a bit divisive, as for some it merely affirms a perspective they already held, yet for others functions as an explosive assault on their assumptions - not only because of the book's conclusions, but also (and for some, more importantly) the way it approaches scripture. Curiously, it goes out of it's way to describe basic Bible history and concepts in side notes, as if the anticipated audience is not expected to know things as fundamental as the timeline This is the kind of book that tends to be a bit divisive, as for some it merely affirms a perspective they already held, yet for others functions as an explosive assault on their assumptions - not only because of the book's conclusions, but also (and for some, more importantly) the way it approaches scripture. Curiously, it goes out of it's way to describe basic Bible history and concepts in side notes, as if the anticipated audience is not expected to know things as fundamental as the timeline of the fall of Judah, but approaches what, for many, will function as very complex or unexpected approaches to scripture with no explanation - perhaps a publishers attempt to broaden the potential audience, but problematic nevertheless. I question who the anticipated audience really is. I'm sure Brueggemann has someone in mind. I just can't determine who it might be.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This short book contains Brueggemann's thoughts about the state of Israel. It is not a scholarly look at the issue. He has concerns about the behavior of the state of Israel, particularly the human rights violations toward the Palestinians within their borders. He does look at Scripture, exploring the aspect of Israel being "chosen" and the concept of the land. The strength of this small book is the study guide. It is set up for four sessions and would be a good springboard for discussion about This short book contains Brueggemann's thoughts about the state of Israel. It is not a scholarly look at the issue. He has concerns about the behavior of the state of Israel, particularly the human rights violations toward the Palestinians within their borders. He does look at Scripture, exploring the aspect of Israel being "chosen" and the concept of the land. The strength of this small book is the study guide. It is set up for four sessions and would be a good springboard for discussion about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. You can read my entire review at http://bit.ly/1L4Qy6M. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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