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New series points to pivotal moments in the Old Testament

Westminster John Knox Press releases first volume in Bible study series

by Westminster John Knox Press | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Westminster John Knox Press is proud to announce a new series of Bible studies.

The “Pivotal Moments in the Old Testament” series helps readers see Scripture with new eyes, highlighting short, key texts — “pivotal moments” — that shift our expectations and invite us to turn toward another reality transformed by God’s purposes and action.

 The first volume, “Delivered out of Empire: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Exodus, Part One” by Walter Brueggemann, is available now. The book of Exodus brims with dramatic stories familiar to most of us: the burning bush, Moses’ ringing proclamation to Pharaoh to “let my people go,” the parting of the Red Sea. These signs of God’s liberating agency have sustained oppressed people seeking deliverance over the ages.

But Exodus is also a complex book. Reading the text firsthand, one encounters multilayered narratives about entrenched socioeconomic systems that exploit the vulnerable, the mysterious action of the divine, and the giving of a new law meant to set the people of Israel apart. How does a contemporary reader make sense of it all? And what does Exodus have to say about our own systems of domination and economic excess?

In “Delivered out of Empire,” Brueggemann offers a guide to the first half of Exodus — from the nation of Israel’s deliverance from the empire and priorities of Pharaoh, to their passage through the Red Sea — drawing out “pivotal moments” in the text to help readers untangle it. With the covenant of Sinai on the horizon, Brueggemann shows how Exodus consistently reveals a God in radical solidarity with the powerless.

“Brueggemann details, traces themes, and explores implications of each moment for thinking about God’s emancipating work in the world — past and present — and the social-political-economic arrangements that God’s transforming power challenges and confounds,” says Christine Roy Yoder, the J. McDowell Richards Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Columbia Theological Seminary. “Brueggemann’s insights, paired with discussion questions at the end of each chapter, make this an illuminating and accessible study that is sure to spark reflection and inspire hope.”

Delivered out of Empireis available now, and the second volume, “Delivered into Covenant: Pivotal Moments in the Book of Exodus, Part Two,” will release this fall. Brent A. Strawn is the series editor.

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: Saying No to the Culture of Now,” “Interrupting Silence: God’s Command to Speak Out,” and “Truth and Hope: Essays for a Perilous Age.”

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