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Starred Review. Christians who think that "Lyotard" is something worn by gymnasts ought to investigate this unusual book, which aims to make accessible the philosophical and religious contributions of three postmodern thinkers: Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard and Michel Foucault. Smith, a philosophy professor at Calvin College, does this cleverly by employing illustrations and examples from such films as The Matrix; Memento; One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; and, surprisingly but successfully, The Little Mermaid. Along the way, Smith also dissects the popular teachings of postmodern writers like Brian McLaren (reviewed and interviewed in this issue), Leonard Sweet and Robert Webber. At times, the language is decidedly academic ("heuristic," "metanarrative" and "epistemology" make routine appearances), and the book tends to assume a basic familiarity with philosophical debates. Still, it's one of the most accessible introductions to postmodern thought to date, and its concluding chapter—in which Smith brilliantly employs the movie Whale Rider to explore how Christianity might be simultaneously faithful to tradition and open to change—is alone worth the price of admission. Ironically but persuasively, Smith argues that postmodern Christianity's most powerful contribution could be a return to ancient, premodern church traditions and liturgy. (Apr.)
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James K. A. Smith (Ph.D., Villanova University) is the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition, he is editor of Comment magazine and a senior fellow of the Colossian Forum. He is the author of Introducing Radical Orthodoxy, coeditor of Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition, and editor of the Church and Postmodern Culture series (www.churchandpomo.org).
Great read worth your time! Left me curious,and excited to study further. Smith does not leave the reader without application of content. I certainly recommend.Published 2 months ago by Kyle Jackson
James Smith has done it again- he has written an excellent book that made a difficult topic easier to understand.Published 2 months ago by Sheri PhD
Sometimes I put unreasonable expectations on books. I wanted an entire book on prominent post-modern thinkers. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Adam Oliver
James K.A. Smith in his book, Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? says that those who criticize postmodernism do so based upon misinterpretation of "bumper sticker" slogans, and not... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Garrett Craig
Smith's work methodically builds the case that many evangelicals are responding to a poorly truncated understanding of post-modernism. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Michael Langer
Postmodernity is heavily defined by French philosophy, especially Jacque Derrida, Jan-François Lyotard, and Michel Foucault. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Caleb Wolanek
James K.A. Smith is a writer on the horizon. Keep his name in your mind. He's younger, but holds extreme potential in his words that, though now powerful in his recent... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Marcus Privitt
Highly recommended read. When Jamie Smith is on, he is ON...when he's off, keep moving because he hits his stride again and will blow your mind (and hopefully some idols, as well). Read morePublished 19 months ago by the frenchman
There are other books out there on postmodernism so you may want to look for them. This was dull. but okay.Published 20 months ago by joy