Final Thoughts on “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?” @BakerAcademic

So I finished reading the book over my vacation. Since I’m still on vacation, I will keep this short. Just a note, this is a collection of thought, not a review of the book.

I found the premise of the book to be interesting. Since my philosophical education stopped at modern philosophy, I was not familiar with postmodern philosophy. So I appreciate that Smith breaks down the “bumper sticker” readings of Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, and Michel Foucault. I even consider this to be one of the greatest strengths of the book.

As for the chapters dealing with the different philosophers’s, I really enjoyed the discussion on Derrida and Lyotard, but found myself losing interest in the discussion on Foucault. Honestly, I can’t say why that was.

I also found the discussion in the final chapter (Applied Radical Orthodoxy) to be hit or miss. There were parts of this final chapter that I found myself agreeing with and there were parts that I thought were harder to get through. 

Overall, I found the book to be informative. Since I had little to no exposure to postmodern philosophy in my undergraduate philosophy courses, Smith gave me some of the background on some of the influential postmodern philosophers.

I am still unsure as to what postmodernism has to offer the church. I do not believe it to be the great monster that some in conservative Christianity has made it out to be. Until this book, my only knowledge of postmodernism has come from Chris Rosebrough, an LCMS blogger/podcaster (Fighting for the Faith). I am looking forward to reading some of the other books in this series.

Craig Falvo
I'm a former American Baptist turned Agnostic turned Lutheran. I have a Master of Divinity from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. I also blog at Bad Theology.

3 thoughts on “Final Thoughts on “Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?” @BakerAcademic

  1. Smith’s book is a nice intro although I suspect he has moved away somewhat from his appreciation of P.M. as he has become more politically engaged. He had a recent posts on Cardis making the case for institutions and large political involvement both of which indicate a less P.M. approach. This, of course, does not invalidate his book’s value nor does it mean an outright rejection. Like the Radical Orthodoxy theologians I suspect his position is critical in the best way-looking for what may be learned. If you are interested in how Postmodernism may look in the Church check out the Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann who espouses an approach to truth that emphasis the powerless, justice, narrative, and the contested nature of human truth.

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