How to Be Secular (Not)
What does it mean to say we live in a “secular” world? Charles Taylor’s landmark book A Secular Age provides a monumental history and analysis of what it means for us to live in our post- Christian present — a...
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What does it mean to say we live in a “secular” world? Charles Taylor’s landmark book A Secular Age provides a monumental history and analysis of what it means for us to live in our post- Christian present — a pluralist world of competing beliefs and growing unbelief. This book by Jamie Smith is a small field guide to Taylor’s genealogy of the secular, making it accessible to a wide array of readers.
Smith’s How (Not) to Be Secular is also, however, a philosophical guidebook for practitioners — a kind of how-to manual that ultimately offers guidance on how to live in a secular age. It’s an adventure in self-understanding and a way to get our bearings in postmodernity. Whether one is proclaiming faith to the secularized or is puzzled that there continue to be people of faith in this day and age, this is a philosophical story meant to help us locate where we are and what’s at stake.
James K. A. Smith (Ph.D., University of Villanova) is associate professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Previously he taught at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California. He is editor of In the Twilight of Western Thought in the Collected Works of Herman Dooyeweerd, and he has written numerous articles on philosophy and religion, and has a remarkable grasp of Post-modern hermeneutics and interpretation.
This is reflected in his publications Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Church and Postmodern Culture Series: Baker Academic, 2006); Jacques Derrida: Live Theory (Continuum, 2005), Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-Secular Theology (Baker Academic Press, 2004). Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation (Radical Orthodoxy Series: Routledge, 2002); Letters to a Young Calvinist: An Invitation to the Reformed Tradition (Bakerbooks, 2010) and The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic (InterVarsity Press, 2000).
He is preparing four volumes The Violence of Finitude: Derrida and the Logic of Determination; Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Learning and the Formation of Radical Disciples; The Devil Reads Derrida - and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts and Thinking in Tongues: Elements of a Pentecostal Worldview (Pentecostal Manifestos Series; Eerdmans, 2008).
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