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Postmodernism: What Hath Paris to Do with Jerusalem?

July 16th, 2010 | 9 min read

By Christopher Benson

If you are skeptical about postmodern thought, I encourage you to check out "The Church and Postmodern Series" by Baker Academic, which "features high-profile theorists in continental philosophy and contemporary theology writing for a broad, nonspecialist audience interested in the impact of postmodern theory on the faith and practice of the church." Five out of the scheduled seven books have been published. I have read the following:

  • James K. A. Smith, Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church
  • John D. Caputo, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church
  • Carl Raschke, GloboChrist: The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn
  • Merold Westphal, Whose Community? Which Interpretation?: Philosophical Hermeneutics for the Church.

Of these four titles, Caputo's was my least favorite and the most problematic. If I had to pick only one in the series, I suggest the Smith title but the Raschke and Westphal titles are close runners-up. I anticipate reading Graham Ward's The Politics of Discipleship: Becoming Postmaterial Citizens and Bruce Ellis Benson's forthcoming title on improvisation as a paradigm for thinking about worship and the arts. (Bruce is a former professor of mine at Wheaton College.)

I would like to share two of my published reviews with Mere O readers:

  • Books & Culture (April 2009): "The Message is the Messenger" [a review of Carl Raschke's GloboChrist].
  • Christian Scholar's Review (Winter 2009): a review of Merold Westphal's Whose Community? Which Interpretation?

Here is my bibliography for all pomo-curious Christians.

GENERAL PRIMARY SOURCES (I regard Nietzsche and Kierkegaard as proto-postmodernists)

PRIMARY SOURCES ON CHRISTIANITY AND POSTMODERNISM

GENERAL SECONDARY SOURCES ON POSTMODERN

SECONDARY SOURCES ON CHRISTIANITY AND POSTMODERNISM

STUDIES OF POSTMODERN PHILOSOPHERS

* Information on above image: Roy Lichtenstein, Grrrrrrrrrrr!! (1965)

Christopher Benson

Topics:

Philosophy