Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict  -     By: Walter Brueggemann
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Chosen?: Reading the Bible Amid the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Westminster John Knox Press / 2015 / Paperback

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Product Description

Are modern-day Israelites descendants of the ancient Hebrews? Was the promise of land to Moses permanent and irrevocable? What about the other nationalities living in the land when Britain gave it to the Jews after World War II? Brueggemann respectfully sheds light on a host of vexing topics. 108 pages, softcover. Westminster John Knox.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication Date: 2015
Dimensions: 8.50 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 066426154X
ISBN-13: 9780664261542

Publisher's Description

“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.

Author Bio

Walter Brueggemann 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.

Editorial Reviews

"I commend this book to all those struggling with these questions and all who are concerned for peace and Justice in the Land called Holy."
—Dr. Mitri Raheb, President of Diyar Consortium and Dar al-Kalima University College in Bethleham, President of the Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land, and Senior Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethleham, Palestine


"This important volume could be a “game changer” for pastors, congregational study, denominational policy, the academy, religious journals, and hopefully elected officials who continue to fail the Palestinians, Israelis, and their own constituents with decades of misguided Middle East policies."
—Rev. Dr. Don Wagner, National Program Director, Friends of Sabeel-North America.


"This important volume could be a "game changer" for pastors, congregational study, denominational policy, the academy, religious journals, and hopefully elected officials who continue to fail the Palestinians, Israelis, and their own constituents with decades of misguided Middle East policies."
--Rev. Dr. Don Wagner, National Program Director, Friends of Sabeel-North America.


"Walter Brueggemann has done a great service to the Jewish people and to all who rely on the Hebrew Bible as a guide to life by demonstrating in this book that there is no straight line between these ancient holy texts and the oppression of the Palestinian people by an expansionist Zionist government in modern Israel. ?
— Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine: A Quarterly Jewish and Interfaith Critique of Politics, Culture and Society, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and author of Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation and Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy for Middle East Peace


"No matter what you think about who God’s chosen people are, Professor Brueggemann is clear and starkly honest in his assessment of the untenable nature of the modern State of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians...This book is a welcome refocusing of a faith lens that has been too often used in the past—especially in the context of the Israelis and Palestinians—to exclude and appropriate, rather than include and edify."
—Dr. Peter Makari, Executive for the Middle East and Europe, Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and author of Conflict and Cooperation: Christian-Muslim Relations in Contemporary Egypt.


"This is a groundbreaking and terribly important book, because of the authority Brueggemann brings and because theological investigation is the key that will free Palestinians as well as Israelis from the current tragic impasse...As ever, Brueggemann’s voice, his compassion, and his courage are a beacon, shining a light where it most needs to be shone."
— Mark Braverman, author, Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land, Executive Director, Kairos USA


"This book is written for Christians and Jews who take seriously God’s promises to Israel in the Hebrew Scripture but who are troubled by how contemporary Palestinians are being treated by modern Israelis...It is simply the best book on its subject that I have read.
—Dr. Duncan Hanson, area supervisor for the Middle East, Europe and India for the Reformed Church in America


"This may be the best guide yet to help the church talk about a matter of enormous importance for our generation."
—Gary M. Burge, Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College & Graduate School and author of Jesus and the Land: The New Testament Challenge to Holy Land Theology.


"Brueggemann offers an honest critique of a belief system that reduces faith to a self-serving ideology and warns against a Christian reading of the Bible that reduces it to an ideological prop for the state of Israel. While he does not critique the texts that are used to justify the oppression of the Palestinians, nor offer a solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict based on justice and international law, I do think the book is very useful for American Christians to read and discuss."
—Naim Ateek


"No matter what you think about who God's chosen people are, Professor Brueggemann is clear and starkly honest in his assessment of the untenable nature of the modern State of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians...This book is a welcome refocusing of a faith lens that has been too often used in the past--especially in the context of the Israelis and Palestinians--to exclude and appropriate, rather than include and edify."
--Dr. Peter Makari, Executive for the Middle East and Europe, Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and author of Conflict and Cooperation: Christian-Muslim Relations in Contemporary Egypt.

Product Reviews

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  1. Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    His reflections on the state of Israel
    September 30, 2015
    bookwomanjoan
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Age: 55-65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 3
    This book is by no means a scholarly look at the subject. It is more Brueggemann's feelings on the situation with some Scripture investigation and then a study guide as a springboard for discussion.

    He notes that he championed the idea that Israel needed to be a nation but is now having second thoughts about their national behavior. There has been indifference toward the human rights of Palestinians. The way Israel is behaving, Brueggemann writes, they are not making a good impression as God's chosen people.

    An unconditional one-sided support of Israel is not the way to move forward in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One must realistically look at the political situation if there is ever to be a solution.

    He explores how one reads the Bible and the meaning of Israel as chosen. Sometimes it looks unconditional while other times conditional (as in Exod. 19:5). With respect to the land, ...we may conclude that the land is given to Israel unconditionally, but is held by Israel conditionally. Looking at the various verses in Joshua, he concludes, Thus, the land is given, the land is taken, and the land is losable. This is evidenced in the exile, the return, then losing the land again.

    He also questions whether today's Israel is the biblical Israel. He gives reason to conclude, It is simply not credible to make any direct appeal for the ancient promise of land to the state of Israel.

    The strength of this little book is the study guide, set up for four sessions. I have seen many Christians unconditionally support the state of Israel without really thinking through the issue and the human rights actions of the Israelis toward Palestinians within the state. Reading this book and discussing the issues may be a good way to bring some reality thinking to the situation.

    I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
  2. 2 Stars Out Of 5
    Falls short
    September 24, 2015
    Wray M.
    Quality: 5
    Value: 2
    Meets Expectations: 2
    As a fan of Brueggemann I expected more blunt talk about Israel's appalling treatment of Palestinian Christians and Muslims. I thought it good as far as it went, but he turned what should have been a long journey into a walk in the park.
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