Best Thoughts I Have Ever Read on Bible Geneaologies by Walter Brueggemann

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In talking about the biblical exile and how the Western church finds itself in its own sort of exile Brueggemann writes,

“The enormous popularity of Alex Haley’s Roots came about, I suggest, not because of fascination with our guilt about slavery, but because of resonance with the need to recover connection and genealogy…The scriptural resources for such uprooted folk, I suggest, are the genealogies that have seemed to us boring and therefore have been skipped over. We have skipped over them, I imagine, either because we thought those old names were not intrinsically interesting, or because we thought htey referenced some family other than our own. The recovery of these genealogies could indeed give an index of the mothers and fathers who have risked before us, who hve hoped before us, and how continue even now to believe in us and hope for us. The genealogies might be useful in recovery of baptism, because in that act, we join a new family. We are like any new in-law at a first family reunion when we meet all the weird uncles and solicitous aunts, who seem like an undifferentiated mass until they are linked with lots of stories. After the stories are known, the list becomes meaningful and is simply shorthand that makes and keeps the stories available. Two easy access points for such genealogy are (a) the Matthean genealogy, which includes some of our most scandalous mothers…and (b) the recital in Hebrews 11 of all our family ‘by faith.’…I suggest that if the genealogical indices are well  handled, they become a way to recover old narratives that contextualize our present faith.” – Cadences of Home, 5-6

5 Responses

  1. Frederick Bruner’s commentary on Matthew does an excellent job in explaining the story and theology Matthew is telling his audience through the geneologies. He will have you captivated for about 20 pages.

    1. Rusty, I am not familiar with his commentary. I am guessing you recommend it? Hope you are doing well brother!

  2. That’s a fantastic excerpt, Matt. Thanks for sharing. Definitely recovers a lost intimacy we have had with the genealogical records if we pay attention to Brueggemann’s words!

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