What Would Jesus Deconstruct? (The Church and Postmodern... and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
  • List Price: $20.00
  • Save: $3.66 (18%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Corners slightly bent. Spine bumped. Shelf wear. No marks noted in text.
Sell yours for a Gift Card
We'll buy it for $4.84
Learn More
Trade in now
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture) Paperback – November 1, 2007

See all 2 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$11.98 $11.50

Frequently Bought Together

What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture) + Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture)
Price for both: $30.74

One of these items ships sooner than the other.

Buy the selected items together

Holiday Deals in Books
Holiday Deals in Books
Find deals for every reader in the Holiday Deals in Books store, featuring savings of up to 50% on cookbooks, children's books, literature & fiction, and more.

Product Details

  • Series: The Church and Postmodern Culture
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801031362
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801031366
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Many in the church who are wrestling with ministry in a postmodern era view deconstruction as a negative aspect of the postmodern movement. But John Caputo, one of the leading philosophers of religion in America and a leading voice on religion and postmodernism, sees it differently. In this lively and provocative analysis, he argues that in his own way Jesus himself was a deconstructionist and that applying deconstruction to the church can be a positive move toward renewal.

"Caputo brilliantly manages to bring thought to life and life to thought. He wears his learning and scholarship so lightly that one has the impression of returning to a flesh-and-blood world where Jesus deconstructs and reconstructs our lives. Challenging, compassionate, witty, and wise. This book is compulsory reading for anyone concerned about the future of Christianity."
--Richard Kearney, Charles Seelig Professor in Philosophy, Boston College

"Let this book settle the debate once and for all: postmodern philosophy does not preclude true Christian faith. In fact, taken rightly, postmodernism leads not to nihilistic relativism but to a robust faith in the Savior, who himself was bent on deconstruction. Caputo is a sheep in wolf's clothing."
--Tony Jones, national coordinator of Emergent Village, author of The New Christians: Dispatches from the Emergent Frontier

"This is a marvelous little book. It enables readers to understand deconstruction as the hermeneutics of the kingdom of God and provides a glimpse of what this concept might look like in the hands of Jesus as applied to the church. This will be difficult therapy, and many of us will be inclined to resist. However, let us remember that while discipline is painful in the moment, it produces a harvest of peace and righteousness in the long run. May the church learn from the wisdom found in these pages."
--John R. Franke, professor of missional theology, Yellowstone Theological Institute

About the Author

John D. Caputo (Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College) is Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities and professor of philosophy at Syracuse University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Weakness of God (winner of the 2007 A.A.R. Award for Excellence in Constructive Reflective Study of Religion), On Religion, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, and Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida.

More About the Author

John D. Caputo, the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus (Syracuse University) and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus (Villanova University) is a hybrid philosopher/theologian who works in the area of radical theology. His most recent book, "The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps," is a sequel to The Weakness of God, which develops his concept of radical theology and engages in dialogue with Malabou, Zizek and Latour. He has also just published "Truth," a part of the Penguin "Philosophy in Transit" series, aimed a general audience. His interest is centered on a poetics of the "event" harbored in the name of God, a notion that depends upon a reworking of the notions of event in Derrida and Deleuze. His past books have attempted to persuade us that hermeneutics goes all the way down ("Radical Hermeneutics"), that Derrida is a thinker to be reckoned with by theology ("The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida"), and that theology is best served by getting over its love affair with power and authority and embracing what Caputo calls, following St. Paul, "The Weakness of God." His notion of the weakness of God, an expression that needs to be interpreted carefully by following what he means by "event," is reducible neither to an orthodox notion of kenosis nor to a death of God theology (Altizer, Zizek), although it bears comparison to both. He has also addressed wider-than-academic audiences in "On Religion," "Philosophy and Theology," and "What Would Jesus Deconstruct?" and has an interest in interacting with working church groups like Ikon and the Emergent Church. While at Syracuse, Professor Caputo specialized in continental philosophy of religion, which means both working on radical approaches to religion and theology in the light of contemporary phenomenology, hermeneutics and deconstruction, and tracking down the traces of radical religious and theological motifs in contemporary continental philosophy.

Customer Reviews

I really enjoyed this book and think it gives a glimpse of the future of faith.
Sick Boy
John D Caputo's writing style was always engaging and the book was very easy to read for a philosophy book on a fairly complex subject.
Helen Hancox
Tying in with what I've said above, Caputo's writing also suffers from the `saying it's so doesn't make it so' fallacy.
Joseph E. Torres

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Douglas H. Hunter on December 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
I take the publication of this book as an announcement of sorts. It tells us that what could be loosely called post structural Christianity is going public. There have been a number of other books that deal with Derrida's work in the Christian context but What Would Jesus Deconstruct? is the first book I know of that attempts to outline the profound sympathy between Derrida's later work and Christianity in a readable, non-academic way. That alone makes this an important book.

The wonderful thing for me about this text is that Caputo did a great job selecting the ideas and themes from Derrida that can be used as a lens through which to read scripture and address Christian faith. These ideas open up a variety of potentials, and energies that just don't have the same resonance when examined without the tools that post structuralism generally, and Derrida specifically provide us. Some of these themes include the journey, the unavoidable nature of impasses; the idea that the moment when we are faced with the impossible is the exact moment when real potentials are opened. He also addresses Derrida's unique understanding of justice, the economy of the gift and hospitality, to name a few.

What makes Caputo's summary of Derrida useful is that it directs our attention to the structure of how themes such as love, or loving God, or one's neighbor (as only one of many potential examples) are articulated in scripture but also the significant pragmatic and philosophical challenges posed by such themes, their aporias, and the difficulties we face when we are willing to take this kind of challenge seriously. This is important work and frankly it strikes me that Christianity in America today is often dead set against doing this kind of work.
Read more ›
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Helen Hancox on April 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
This was a fascinating and enjoyable book. John D Caputo's writing style was always engaging and the book was very easy to read for a philosophy book on a fairly complex subject. He looks at Charles Sheldon's book 'In His Steps', published in 1896, alongside works by Jacques Derrida on deconstruction, weaving these two together to get a handle on how Jesus might deconstruct the church - not demolishing it in a negative way but drawing out peace and righteousness and the kingdom of God from two millennia of post-Jesus church building.

Caputo writes very much from his personal opinion and I enjoyed many of his amusing asides. He talks incisively about many of the failings of the religious Right, although also has things to say about the weakness and ineptness of the Left. I felt that the book was rather weighed down by its series preface/foreword/acknowledgements/introduction before it began, and that the real meat of the content didn't appear until fairly late on in the short book at chapter 5. That chapter was a brilliant read, however, deconstructing the church through the lens of the Sermon on the Mount, and was worth the price of the book alone.

This is an excellent read for those interested in a different angle in the postmodern debate and explains enough that those unfamiliar with deconstruction should understand it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thom Turner on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
John Caputo's newest book, the second in a multi-author series called The Church and Post-modern Culture, is an attempt to deconstruct the underpinnings of emerging Protestantism in the United States, namely Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism. The book is fashioned not so much as a book about postmodernism and deconstruction as a postmodern and deconstructive book itself. Caputo places this book within the oeuvre of postmodern theory and criticism, his book is built upon a pun, What Would Jesus Deconstruct? is a very different rendering of WWJD, the popular acronym for "What Would Jesus Do?" The popular Evangelical phrase is the subtitle to the book Caputo sees as the catalyst of the modernism within Evangelicalism and the Religious Right, William Sheldon's In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do? Using this century old morality tale as the founding narrative of the Christian Right (which will henceforth be used as the umbrella term for Evangelicalism, Fundamentalism, the Religious Right and Conservative Protestantism as Caputo does in his text), Caputo sets out to deconstruct "What Would Jesus Do?" by asking, "What Would Jesus Deconstruct?"

Caputo takes several stabs and jabs at the Religious Right in a cynical and enlightened humor that is necessary within a text that seeks to bring postmodern philosophy and criticism to lay persons. Within this 138 page book the terse barrage of philosophy needs some comic relief in order to keep the lay reader from blowing a fuse. Caputo casts deconstruction as a journey, for "deconstruction is adventure, is risky business, as is life. So life and deconstruction go hand and hand" (53).
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alwyn Lau on May 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book pulls together almost everything Caputo's written on deconstruction related to Christianity. I loved it especially after having ploughed through Caputo's 'Prayers & Tears of Jacques Derrida' and his 'More Radical Hermeneutics', and aching for more clarity.

Caputo writes like his mentor and model, Derrida. Full of -isms, weird sentences, twists and turns, aphorisms, puns, etc. WWJD follows suit but in much less intensive manner. And, yes, even a newbie to postmodernism would enjoy the book, if one gives it a fair presentation.

Caputo puts forth deconstruction at the method/approach of the hermeneutics of the kingdom of God, a tool of God's theo-poetic reign. This is a way of treating the interpretation of Scripture as a fresh/new kind of 'poetry', where language takes on a life of its own and resists our rigid categories, presuppositions and the overall human desire to draw absolute conclusions. Deconstruction is God's way of hermeneutically breaking-in into our world and its prejudices, fossilisation and comfort zones. This shakes the faith, laughs at our certainties and mocks our pride - and in so doing seeks to return faith back to faith.

Caputo then takes nice humourous shots at the Bush administration and many not-so-nice ones at the 'Christian Right' of USA. He then gives his take on abortion, homosexuality, poverty and some other politically hot (American)issues. The central thrust of Caputo's form of deconstruction (which is a much more fun and vibrant kind, much more than, say, the deconstruction of Mark C. Taylor whose works usually stem from the 'death of God') is the event, the advent, of the Other.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews