One of the components of postmodernism is the idea of deconstruction, founded by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Many in the church who are wrestling with ministry in a postmodern era would 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.
Deconstruction is not destruction but rather a breaking down of the object in question so as to open it up to its own future and make it more loyal to itself. This is because in deconstructing, the undeconstructible is revealed, in this case, the eternal truth of God revealed in the gospel. In this book, Caputo describes why today’s church is in need of deconstruction, deconstructs what he sees as some of the church’s idols, and points toward implications for the life and ministry of the church. Caputo’s lucid writing makes difficult concepts accessible, resulting in an appropriate text for undergraduate or graduate classes in philosophy, theology, and postmodern ministry.
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While [Caputo] has the nuance and sophistication of an expert, his writing, as usual, is creative, playful, frequently humorous, and often profound. . . . Caputo provides an outstanding theological orientation to Derridean deconstruction.
—Brannon Hancock, Reviews in Religion and Theology
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
John D. Caputo (PhD, Bryn Mawr College) is Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion and Humanities and a professor of philosophy at Syracuse University. He is the author of numerous books, including The Weakness of God, On Religion, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, and Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida.