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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deconstruction and renewal
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...
Published on 8 April 2009 by Helen Hancox

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3.0 out of 5 stars Some good points in an average book
The book is at times refreshing, at times opaque, and I guess it will be a marmite book for many - love or hate it.

I enjoyed it at points. For example, "To argue ... that the use of artificial contraception methods, even among married couples, violates the intention of nature can result only in giving the impression that to be a Christian is to check your...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deconstruction and renewal, 8 April 2009
By 
Helen Hancox "Auntie Helen" (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture) (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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some good points in an average book, 30 May 2014
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The book is at times refreshing, at times opaque, and I guess it will be a marmite book for many - love or hate it.

I enjoyed it at points. For example, "To argue ... that the use of artificial contraception methods, even among married couples, violates the intention of nature can result only in giving the impression that to be a Christian is to check your rational faculties at the door. One might as well argue that umbrellas are unnatural because they frustrate the intention of nature to make us wet." The point is well-made, provocative and memorable.

But then you get paragraphs like this ..."Deconstruction is affirmation, the affirmation of the impossible, of the coming of the event. That is what I called in the preceding chapter the “real beyond the real,” the hyper-real, which participates in the structure of the step/ not beyond. Every time a “deconstructive critique” is undertaken, every time something is criticized as a fiction or an unjustifiable assumption, such critiques “are always advanced in the name of the real, of the irreducible reality of the real, not of the real as the objective, present, perceptible or intelligible thing (res), but of the real as the coming or the event of the other.” But what, then, is the “real”?“The real is this non-negative im-possible, this impossible coming or invention of the event whose thought is not an onto-phenomenology. It is a thought of the event (singularity of the other, in its unanticipatible coming, hic et nunc).” I presume that means something to someone, but it won't win any Plain English awards.

The author advances two models of good practice at the end of the book. The first is a Catholic priest, whose experiences are recorded in "Diary of a City Priest". I haven't read the book, but according to Caputo, "Heaven, he says, is for another day, and there is no time to waste on thinking about heaven. “That promise does not figure large in my own prayer or work. It would seem a betrayal of my real task, which is to make life here a little easier”. The second is Ikon, "not a parish but a decidedly postmodern paraliturgical undertaking, an attempt to produce an avant-garde liturgy. No one is ordained, there is no ethical or theological consensus, only a concerted effort to be inclusive, both liberal and conservative, Catholic and Protestant, theist and atheist." No doubt there are good things to be admired in both, but they are miles away from New Testament Christianity.

And underpinning it all is the impression that although the book is about getting to heart of the message of Jesus, stripping away our additions to that message, it slips into taking words and (instead of understanding what they meant then to the original audience) investing them with a new meaning to make them fit conveniently with a different view of the world.
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 15 Oct 2013
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This review is from: What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
This is excellent and stimulating material for adventurous discussion. Caputo's thought-provoking approach opens doors for courageous and empowering exploration - enjoy!
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 7 Jan 2008
By 
Simon Lee (Co. Down) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
I have now read several of Caputo's books and have found them all to be very insightful and almost prophetic. This his latest is intended for a popular audience, but is nevertheless well worth reading no matter what level you normally read at. You will find it addictively readable, not only because of the facinating subject matter, but his eloquence and clarity. If you do not enjoy this book you are not interested in modern theology.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deconstruction: the Hermeneutics of the Kingdom, 19 Nov 2007
By 
K. S. Moody (Lancaster, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (The Church and Postmodern Culture) (Paperback)
John D. Caputo's What Would Jesus Deconstruct? The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (2007) is the second in Baker Academic's The Church and Postmodern Culture series.

The first (James K.A. Smith's [2006] Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?) was a good introduction to three postmodern "bumper stickers" ("there is nothing outside the text," "incredulity towards metanarratives," and "power is knowledge"), and argued that `a "radical orthodoxy" is the only proper outcome of the postmodern critique' (Smith 2006:25). The second, however, gives more voice to doubt than to orthodoxy.

At heart, this book is a call (kletos) to deconstruction through an exposition of the phrase What Would Jesus Deconstruct?. Caputo argues that there is a deeply deconstructive event that `stirs within the figure of Jesus' (Caputo 2007:26), and that deconstruction is the hermeneutics of the kingdom of God, a kingdom which he has described elsewhere as a `kingdom without kingdom' (Caputo, The Weakness of God). This book is a call to deconstruct the name of God / Jesus / Church / Kingdom in order to release the event that stirs within these names.

So, what would Jesus do? `...what Jesus does, is deconstruct' (2007:30), and with Caputo's accessible presentation of deconstruction comes a plethora of its correlatives: hyperrealism, undecidability, destinerrancy (possibly my favourite Derridean neologism at the moment!), vocation, theo-poetics, weakness, justice, the impossible, gift, forgiveness, hospitality, and love - all explained clearly and used artfully in an argument for the auto-deconstructive spirit within the Christian tradition.

Similar to the format of Smith's first volume, What Would Jesus Deconstruct?'s last chapter considers the future of the church, through John McNamee's (1993) Diary of a City Priest and Pete Rollins' (2006) How (Not) to Speak of God - the title of which you'll understand a lot more after Caputo's previous explanation of the step/not (pas) (2007:42ff). These are two very different texts, both with a lot to say about the place of doubt, of uncertainty, of the impossible. As Caputo writes, `faith is impossible, the impossible; one is called on to have faith in a world in which it is impossible to believe anything... Doubt as the condition of faith, not its opposite, making faith possible as (the) im/possible' (2007:121).

Who is this book's audience? The Religious Right? The emerging church? I would recommend this call to anyone. But, be prepared to be stirred, to say the least!!!

Finally, I love Caputo's (Eckhartian) emphasis on Jesus' prayer, Eloi Eloi, lama sabachthani, as the `perfectly auto-deconstructing prayer: it is addressed to God - which presupposes our faith that we are not abandoned - and asks why God has abandoned us' (2007:127). I love that.
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