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Archive for April 26th, 2011

Purchase: Amazon

This work is a wonderful conscious observation of modernism and postmodernism beyond pop Christian critique of postmodernism of Postmodernism’s epistemological project. Readers will enjoy the wordsmith of the author Peter Leithart, as he paints an illustr…ative picture of Modernism and Postmodernism, offering food for thought concerning the cultural history of Western civilization itself from the Renaissance period onwards today. Each chapter argues about the fleeting “vapor” like nature of human experience apart from God, what Solomon describes in Ecclesiastes as life “under the sun.” His observation of modernism as man’s attempt to control thing in his or her hand was eye opening for myself. While noting that there are difference with the current climate of postmodernism from modernism, the author also argue that there are some continuity between modernism and postmodernism, claiming that postmodernism is really modernism’s “vapor’s revenge” that exposes modernism’s PR claims about itself are not truly what it is in reality. Throughout the book the author critiques what he calls the trinity of Modernism: control, freedom and progress. View from this perspective, Leithart’s book contributes towards a Christian critique towards the Modernist’s worldview which has not totally left the scene altogether in today’s world. Leithart brings balance to the Christian discussion about Modernism and Postmodernism, seeing how modernism has indeed produce good things (who can imagine technological advance as totally wicked), while also seeing postmodernism as a state of reality today, which offer true critiques of modernism’s failures. Leithart is not uncritical of Postmodernism however, and does argue from Solomon in Ecclesiastes that those who are Postmodernist at times do not find the solution in the Transcendent God. Which brings up the major issue that I have with this book: For a work titled “Solomon and the Postmodern,” I wished the author could have brought Ecclesiastes and Solomone more in the book. References to Ecclesiastes or to Solomon in general probably made up less than five percent of the book. Having presently interacted with the first half of Ecclesiastes in the Hebrew and other exegetical materials, one can see that Leithart was familiar with relevant resources on Ecclesiastes and interpretative decisions (which I must say, I agree with concerning his definition of Havel as “vapor” and “shepherding the wind” than “chasing the wind”, etc), one must realize that Leithart could had Ecclesiastes do more of the “speaking” in the work. The author was capable and skillful in bringing in Postmodernist’s materials into the conversation in the book (love seeing his footnotes!), surely he was capable of making Solomon alive and “speaks” to the issue (which I believe Solomon does). Certainly then will the book live up to the title of “Solomon among the Postmoderns.”

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