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Solomon among the Postmoderns Paperback – January 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Solomon's words from a famous passage of Ecclesiastes have been translated, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." In Solomon among the Postmoderns, Peter Leithart says those words are better translated "Vapor of vapors, all is vapor," emphasizing that human life is fleeting. He uses this theme, as well as the entire book of Ecclesiastes, to indicate how Solomon resonated with the themes of today's postmodernism.

"Classic Leithart: learned, witty, and readable, Solomon among the Postmoderns guides us toward a sympathetic and faithful engagement with our critical, protean, and vaporous times."--R. R. Reno, Creighton University

"Here is a vivacious account of postmodern culture from a true Renaissance man. With characteristic verve, Leithart deftly narrates the postmodern critique of modernity--without the typical fixation on epistemology and questions of knowledge. But the story doesn't end on the postmodern bandwagon; rather, Leithart pushes further to show that the postmodern critique of idolatry still fails to yield wisdom. In the wake of Derrida and Foucault, we still find ourselves waiting not for Godot or St. Benedict, but Solomon. Amidst the ruins of modernity, this book is an invitation to feast in the temple."--James K.A. Smith, associate professor of philosophy, Calvin College and author of Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault to Church

"Peter Leithart's Solomon among the Postmoderns is welcome evidence of a maturing evaluation of postmodernism in Christian circles that neither lionizes nor demonizes. Engaging in conversation rather than caricature, the author takes his interlocutors seriously precisely because he is so confident in the power of the biblical narrative to pull down all of our towers of Babel, whatever we call them. For those weary of wholesale denunciations or wholesale endorsements of postmodernism, this patient, well-informed and well-written essay in godly wisdom will illumine and inspire."--Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary

About the Author

Peter J. Leithart (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is senior fellow of theology and literature at New St. Andrews College and pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of numerous books, including A House for My Name: A Survey of the Old Testament, Against Christianity, and 1 & 2 Kings in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. He is also a contributing editor for Touchstone.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Brazos Press (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587432048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587432040
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #915,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on March 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book was a helpful summary of and response to the phenomenon known as "postmodernism." In short, postmodernity is that phenomenon that follows the arrogance of modernity and posits limitations to human knowledge and politics.

However, postmodernity has suffered from naive supporters and savage critics. I had my own misunderstandings. I thought postmodernists were those people with dark eye-liner, low-brow culture, readers of Nietzsche and those who sit around all day watching *Fight Club.* Leithart convinced me I was wrong.

The strengths of the book:
Leithart, following Kevin Vanhoozer, sympathetically interacts and appreciates some of the good things that postmodernity has to offer. Postmodernity can celebrate the death of modernity (but so can conservative foundationalists) but postmodernity doesn't share the same modern presuppositions that many of modernity's critics share.

Leithart gave a good critique of democracy. Democracy celebrates religious freedom to the degree that a religion supports the statist status quo. Whenever that religion begins to proclaim another king, one Jesus, then they will be marginalized and persecuted.

Leithart gave a good critique of postmodernism's non-eschatology. Postmodernism can't even claim the honor of being a noble tragedy. A tragedy implies a climactic ending. Postmodernism denies precisely that. It forces its adherents to hope for eternal anti-climax (Foucalt's thoughts on the matter).

Leithart correctly translates the Hebrew word *hebel* as vapor, not vanity.

This is not Leithart's best piece of writing, stylistically. I gave him 4 stars because he is capable of outstanding, breathtaking writing. This book was quite good, but not his best.

That being said, I definitely recommend it and would encourage the reader on to Leithart's other work *Deep Comedy,* particularly the chapter "Supplement at Origin."
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brian Maskell on August 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be fascinating and inspiring. I could not put it down. Apart from providing a new understanding of Ecclesiates the author also sheds light on the changing thinking within the world we live. Highly recommended.
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By SLIMJIM on May 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This work is a wonderful conscious observation of modernism and postmodernism beyond pop Christian critique of postmodernism and moves beyond just the critique of it's epistemological project. It is actually more of a survey of modernism just as much as it is a survey on postmodernism, though the author is more critical of the former in the work than the latter. Readers will enjoy the wordsmith of the author Peter Leithart, as he paints an illustrative picture of Modernism and Postmodernism, offering food for thought concerning the cultural history of Western civilization itself from the Renaissance period onwards today. Each chapter argues about the fleeting "vapor" like nature of human experience apart from God, what Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes as life "under the sun." His observation of modernism as man's attempt to control thing in his or her hand was eye opening for myself. While noting that there are difference with the current climate of postmodernism from modernism, the author also argue that there are some continuity between modernism and postmodernism, claiming that postmodernism is really modernism's "vapor's revenge" that exposes modernism's PR claims about itself are not truly what it is in reality. Throughout the book the author critiques what he calls the trinity of Modernism: control, freedom and progress. View from this perspective, Leithart's book contributes towards a Christian critique towards the Modernist's worldview which has not totally left the scene altogether in today's world.Read more ›
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By PJ on July 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is amazing and showing how a biblical book is still very much meaningful to us today. I would highly recommend this!
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