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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece
If you are confused by Derrida's claim, "there is nothing outside of the text", or if you think that Lyotard inflicted a kick to the tender area of Christianity with his pronouncement that postmodernism is the rejection of metanarrative, this book will be something of an eye-opener. It is jargon free and easy to read, but succinctly describes three major postmodern...
Published on 25 Jan. 2007 by Winchester

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2.0 out of 5 stars Why I'm Still Afraid
When I first read this book during university, I was very impressed. Smith's appropriation of cult figures such as Derrida and Foucault was compelling for a renewed Christian perspective on postmodernism and the clarification of popular misconceptions of postmodern thought was helpful. Indeed, his discussion of Lyotard and metanarratives proved very influential for my...
Published 2 months ago by Simon Jones


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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece, 25 Jan. 2007
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Winchester (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
If you are confused by Derrida's claim, "there is nothing outside of the text", or if you think that Lyotard inflicted a kick to the tender area of Christianity with his pronouncement that postmodernism is the rejection of metanarrative, this book will be something of an eye-opener. It is jargon free and easy to read, but succinctly describes three major postmodern "champions".

Unlike most of the Christian literature on postmodernism it does not fall into the trap of confusing philosophical ideas with popular cultural trends and breaks a few myths about postmodernism along the way. It also articulates the idea that postmodernism is more of a help to the Christian gospel than a hindrance.

This is a great introduction to postmodern thought, but it is more than "a bluffer's guide to...", it also draws practical conclusions for what a postmodern church would look like. If you are in any way interested in how the church meets the challenge of contemporary culture (and it would be better for the church if more people were...), seriously consider buying this.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Why I'm Still Afraid, 31 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
When I first read this book during university, I was very impressed. Smith's appropriation of cult figures such as Derrida and Foucault was compelling for a renewed Christian perspective on postmodernism and the clarification of popular misconceptions of postmodern thought was helpful. Indeed, his discussion of Lyotard and metanarratives proved very influential for my dissertation and I would have happily called myself a postmodernist.

But then I discovered a review article in a theological journal and my view of the book and postmodernism in general changed. I would strongly recommend reading John C Poirier's review of the book (available as a pdf free online at the time of writing) as my critical remarks below are indebted to insights I gained from that review.

Reading the book in a new light and with an informed perspective on the weaknesses of Smith's deceptively attractive stance, you'll soon be running back to your evangelical roots like there's no tomorrow. On closer inspection, Smith's understanding of truth and meaning is muddled to the point of being incoherent. He fails to distinguish between ontic and epistemic categories, which means that "knowing" truth and meaning (epistemic) is confused with truth and meaning "itself" (ontic). This is why Smith uses truth and knowledge as if they're interchangeable. The confusion of categories makes Smith's elevation of the role of the community in biblical interpretation problematic. It can be plausibly argued (as Poirier does so well) that the validity of the gospel is predicated upon ontic rather than epistemic questions. In terms of Paul's letters, 1 Cor 15 is clear that Paul's understanding of truth is based on the actuality of Christ's resurrection as an ontic moment. The narrative of Christ's resurrection is (quoting Poirier) "simply the epistemic reflection of a prior ontic moment". This is to defend a theory of meaning which hinges upon authorial intention, hence Paul's insistence on sound doctrine. To make the community the arbiter of scriptural meaning and doctrine (as Smith/postliberalism does) deceptively turns issues in the interpretive process into prescriptions on the nature of meaning and where it is found in a text. Smith's emphasis on the realm of linguisticality and difficulties in hermeneutics overlooks the role of transcendence in reference (Paul's lens as opposed to deconstruction) and the fact that reality is always rushing in upon language.

Smith's charge against evangelical readings of scripture or "primitivism" amounts to a Straw Man which is used as a springboard for his own traditionalist commitments. Smith's narrow use of the term "history" is deceptive and unjust to those who hold to original intentions while still affirming God's action in history.

To summarise, the postmodern treatise advanced in this book is at odds with the gospel of the New Testament.

Be afraid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I found this to be an excellent book in which the author introduces, 5 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
I found this to be an excellent book in which the author introduces, critiques and then explores some of the implications of the work of Derrida, Lyotard and Foucault for the Christian church. It is a great book to get to grips with postmodernity. It is well written, challenging, but wholly readable and gets into enough depth so as to avoid a superficial and inaccurate understanding of the three writers. I'm no dunce, but it is the first book on these three that I have understood with any confidence. Having cheekily tweeted the author to see if he could also help me out with other philosophers, I'm told that his 'The Fall of Interpretation' will help with Gadamer & Levinas, and 'Imagining the Kingdom' will help with Merleau-Ponty, so I'm off to have a look!
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1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, 28 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars who is afraid of postmodernism, 30 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
I like the book because it has been written in such a way that it is easy to understand. I recommend the book to anyone who want to know more about post-modernism. In the book you will find interesting issues about liberation theology more academic good staff.
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