The Hermeneutics of Charity: Interpretation, Selfhood, and Postmodern Faith

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James K. A. Smith, Henry Isaac Venema, James H. Olthuis
BrazosPress, 2004 - Religion - 272 pages
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According to many published reports, the devil is from Paris. In the circles of Christian theologians and philosophers, the dreaded enemy of "secular humanism" has been supplanted by a more terrifying creature: "postmodernism"-a label that functions as a kind of blob that absorbs anything contemporary that is considered antithetical to Christian faith. And almost invariably the provenance of postmodernism is traced to France, as if postmodernism were a kind of Frankenstein created in the laboratories of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Jean-Francois Lyotard. Many Christian scholars have spent the past decade shoring up the front lines against this Parisian threat. In this context, the work of James H. Olthuis signals a markedly different kind of engagement with contemporary continental thought. Olthuis has found in French philosophers not enemies but allies. Following his early appropriations of the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer and continental theologians such as Pannenberg and Moltmann, Olthuis's earliest engagements with deconstruction-though critical-were characterized by an openness to the work that the Spirit might be doing in Paris. What could make such a unique engagement possible? We would argue that Olthuis's approach was possible only because he was operating out of the Reformed tradition of Abraham Kuyper and Herman Dooyeweerd. It is our hope that this book will introduce more students and scholars to Olthuis's unique scholarly well as introduce them to a reformational tradition of Christian theoretical reflection that has unique resources for navigating the postmodern terrain. Book jacket.

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About the author (2004)

James K. A. Smith is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

James K. A. Smith (Ph.D., Villanova University) is associate professor of philosophy and the former director of the Seminars in Christian Scholarship at Calvin College. He is the author of Introducing Radical Orthodoxy and Speech and Theology. James H. Olthuis (Ph.D., Free University) is emeritus professor of philosophical theology at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto. He is the author or editor of numerous books.

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