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Chris Yaw Interviews Philosopher John Caputo: The Premodernism of Postmodernism

September 15, 2012

Taken with permission from

The religious mocking and jabbing of modernism is getting its own comeuppance by many postmodern thinkers - who are affirming the limits of human understanding - especially around religious knowledge.

Philosopher, professor, and author John Caputo has spent his career pondering what we know, why we know, and the ways we know it - and he is hopeful about the future of religion.

In this interview, John giftedness, community, and mystery. Open yourself to the wisdom of this gifted thinker.


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Faced with the increasingly widely held conviction of the vastness of mystery that surrounds us, who's to say there's an end to religion? Here are my notes from the interview:

Without Why
It's Meister Eckhart's famous phrase - telling us how we are to love, and Caputo says we are wise to dwell on its implication to congregational life.

It is more difficult that we may first think to both give and receive a gift. Caputo points out the necessity - and inherent healthiness - of paying it forward.

The Risk of Community
Done right, done well, and in order to last, Caputo outlines how communities must constantly open themselves to the new and unexpected.

About John Caputo
John D. Caputo is the Thomas J. Watson Professor Emeritus of Religion at Syracuse University, where he taught from 2004 until his retirement in 2011, and the David R. Cook Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Villanova. Caputo's works circulate between philosophy and theology, treating Asacred@ texts and traditions as a poetics of the human condition, or as a Atheo-poetics,@ a poetics of the event harbored in the name of God.  His major books have attempted to persuade us that hermeneutics goes all the way down (Radical Hermeneutics), that Derrida is a thinker to be reckoned with by theology (The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida), and that theology is best served by getting over its love affair with power and authority and embracing what Caputo calls, following St. Paul, The Weakness of God, which won the 2006 AAR book award for works in constructive theology.

His most recent book, forthcoming from Indiana University Press in 2013, is entitled The Insistence of God: A Theology of "Perhaps,"  defends the provocative proposal that God does not exist, God insists, while the existence of God depends upon us to fill up what is missing in God.

Books John Recommends
How Not to Speak of God - Peter Rollins
Anatheism - Richard Carney
Pandora's Hope - Bruno Latour



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