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Who’s Afraid of Relativism? Community, Contingency, and Creaturehood
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Who’s Afraid of Relativism? Community, Contingency, and Creaturehood


Baker Academic 2014

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Following his successful Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? leading Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith introduces the philosophical sources behind postliberal theology. Offering a provocative analysis of relativism, Smith provides an introduction to the key voices of pragmatism: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Richard Rorty, and Robert Brandom. Many Christians view relativism as the antithesis of absolute truth and take it to be the antithesis of the gospel. Smith argues that this reaction is a symptom of a deeper theological problem: an inability to honor the contingency and dependence of our creaturehood. Appreciating our finite nature as the condition under which we know (and were made to know) should compel us to appreciate the contingency of our knowledge without being arbitrary. Saying “It depends” is not the same as saying “It’s not true” or “I don’t know.” It simply recognizes the conditions of our knowledge as finite, created, social beings. Pragmatism, says Smith, helps us recover a fundamental Christian appreciation of the contingency of creaturehood. Smith engages key thinkers in modern philosophy with a view to ministry and addresses the challenge of relativism in a creative, original way.

Product Details

  • Title:Who’s Afraid of Relativism? Community, Contingency, and Creaturehood
  • Author:Smith, James K. A.
  • Publisher:Baker Academic
  • Publication Date:2014