Thus it appears to me that in a practical way, speech leads reality in the Old Testament. Speech constitutes reality, and who God turns out to be in Israel depends on the utterance of the Israelites or, derivatively, the utterance of the text. We are so long practiced in hegemonic utterance that such a claim about speech being constitutive of reality is exceedingly difficult for us. I shall argue, nonetheless, that practically and concretely, the very character of God in the Old Testament depends on the courage and imagination of those who speak about God, and who in speaking make available to Israel (and belatedly to the church) not only God, but a specific God of a very odd and unprecedented kind. Brevard Childs writes, in his canonical approach, about “the reality of God” behind the text itself. It terms of Old Testament theology, however, one must ask, What reality? Where behind? It is clear that such an approach as that of Childs derives its judgments from somewhere else, from an essentialist tradition, claims about God not to be entertained in the Old Testament text itself. In doing Old Testament theology, one must be vigilant against importing claims from elsewhere. (Theology of the Old Testament, 65)
Later he will say:
It is the work of a serious theological interpreter of the Bible to pay close and careful attention to what is in the text, regardless of how it coheres with the theological habit of the church. This is particularly true of the churches of the Reformation that stand roughly in the tradition of sola scriptura. The truth of the matter, on any careful reading and without any tendentiousness, is that Old Testament theological articulation does not conform to established church faith, either in its official declaration or in its more popular propensities. There is much that is wild and untamed about the theological witness of the Old Testament that church theology does not face. (Theology of the Old Testament, 107)
Brueggemann, Walter. Theology of the Old Testament: Testimony, Dispute, Advocacy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1997.