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Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian [Paperback]

By Heath White (Author)
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Item description for Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian by Heath White...

An accessible introduction to the ideas of postmodernism and postmodernism's relationship to Christianity.

Publishers Description
Finally, here's a book about postmodernism that you don't need a philosophy degree to understand.
In "Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian, " Heath White offers a brief and accessible introduction to the ideas of postmodernism and its relationship to Christianity. White paints the historical and philosophical background underlying postmodernism in understandable, but not oversimplified, language. He then describes what postmodernism means to our view of self, language, thought, the search for knowledge, and culture.
White invites Christians who otherwise might have avoided postmodern theorizing into this important dialogue with questions for further thought after each chapter and suggestions for future reading. This book is ideal for students as well as curious pastors and lay readers.

Community Description
In this brief and highly accessible introductory work, Heath White paints the historical and philosophical background underlying postmodernism in understandable, but not oversimplified, language. Exploring the differences between premodern, modern, and postmodern thought White describes what postmodernism means to our view of self, language, thought, the search for knowledge, and culture. Ultimately, White encourages Christians to face the postmodern world with hope and courage without fear.
Please Note, Community Descriptions and notes are submitted by our shoppers, and are not guaranteed for accuracy.

Awards and Recognitions
Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian by Heath White has received the following awards and recognitions -
  • ForeWord Book of the Year Award - 2006 Third Place - Philosophy category

Citations And Professional Reviews
Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian by Heath White has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Publishers Weekly - 04/24/2006 page 57
  • Library Journal - 11/01/2006 page 80

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Brazos Press
Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.38" Width: 6.74" Height: 0.45"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2006
Publisher   Baker Publishing Group
Edition  Reprinted  
ISBN  158743153X  
ISBN13  9781587431531  

Availability  0 units.

More About Heath White

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Heath White (Ph.D., Georgetown University) is a philosophy professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Heath White was born in 1972.

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Product Categories

1Books > Special Features > New & Used Textbooks > Humanities > Religious Studies > Christianity
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Bible > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Contemporary Theologies

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Reviews - What do customers think about Postmodernism 101: A First Course for the Curious Christian?

Just what I was looking for and more  Jul 24, 2008
What I was looking for was a clear definition of postmodernism. What I learned from this book was that this was not entirely possible. Nevertheless, with surprising ease I was able to get a good grasp of postmodernism which was just what I was looking for. It also has the bonus of discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I'm not sure that I would want to use the entire book for a Sunday School class or Small Group study, but I will use some of the chapters in my teaching. This is a topic terribly relevant to modern evangelism. The questions look interesting and good for discussion. I am looking forward to trying them out.
PostModernism  Apr 12, 2008
PostModernism 101 is the best non-technical analysis of PostModernism I have seen. It is well written and easy to understand. Best of all, it relates PostModernism to recent developments in the Church. A must buy for all seminarians.
A very good introduction to a confusing subject.  Dec 14, 2007
This is an even-handed treatment of the subject by a Christian philosopher. The author lays out the basic tenets of Postmodernism and looks at how that might work out for a Christian. One especially helpful approach that this author has taken is to be clear that there are several streams of postmodern thought and describe each individually. Many contemporary Christian writers on the subject conflate the views of all the well-known postmodern thinkers into a monolithich philosophy that no one would agree with--especially not the postmodern thinkers whose ideas are suppossedly being described. A good, enjoyable, and easy book to understand (easy for a philosophy book).
Switch it on and it goes  Sep 12, 2007
This book has the feel of a lot of compiled college lectures, and of being written in one sitting. It probably wasn't, but rather than being a bad thing, that gives large parts of it a sense of momentum. Later, in my view, it falls into jargon, but that's easy for a philosopher to do, especially with chapters that seem like they'd be quite interesting delivered separately in a classroom. The second consideration is that many will find the book difficult, not in the sense that they can't read or understand it, but that many of the ideas will be new and the language, and especially how the language is used, unfamiliar.

Part of that is due to the ingenious construction of the book, which is somewhat separated into pre-modern, modern, and post-modern time periods, spoken of, for instance, as modernity, and mind-sets, spoken of as modernism. These don't exactly overlap or correspond, but in general they do. The author warns that he writes (or paints) in broad strokes, which is probably the only way to write this book. Hold on, it's a wild ride. Ready? Switch it on and it goes.

My experience with postmodernism (the hyphen is optional) has been from the architecture side (Jonathan Hale) or the art side (Steve Scott). Some of the book I found disinteresting and wanted to get through (as with classroom lectures). But I also wanted to keep reading due to the engaging style of the author, who frequently anticipates reactions and objections, and provides lists of questions at the end of the chapters. I was particularly taken by the early chapter on Premodern and Modern Minds, and how much premodern and postmodern views have in common, modernism being, as it were, the odd man out. My advice to anyone tackling this book is if you find the middle tough going, don't miss the last chapter, History and Hope, and the Epilogue.

If you do skip the middle of the book, however, you'll miss what is nearly the best part, the author's own views of the Bible and the church in relation to postmodernism. From these small bits, I'd very much like to read his autobiography, were he to write one, as he can find good sides to premodern, modern and postmodern views. At first I thought the subtitle "A First Course for the Curious Christian" was slapped on by the publisher to sell the book. That may still be the case, but as with Francis Schaeffer and C.S. Lewis, confronting, in their way, "modernism", a word that seems so odd now that no one even knows what it is, so he shows that modernism, in that sense is dead, replaced by postmodernism, another word so odd that no one knows what it is. But in the same way that you can read Lewis and Schaeffer's grappling with that earlier worldview without yourself having any special knowledge of it, so White gives enough homely examples that you don't need a doctorate to follow his arguments.

One of the best lines in the book is on page 110: "By the time of the Enlightenment, it was clear that somebody was getting the Bible wrong." "Somebody" is in italics, and this chapter, "Inquiry and Interrpretation", gives a quick overview of not only the postmodern view of the Bible, but also the modern view which gave way to higher and textual criticism, and why the latter seems so at odds with believers' views of the Bible. In White's view, the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and early Calvinist churches are all pre-modern, with some others being formed in the modern era. He never says what would constitute a postmodern church. Perhaps the warehouse churches like Mars Hill in Seattle.

This book would be an ideal textbook for a college course, being complete, as noted, with study questions. Apart from that I'd advocate a tack I've suggested before: that anyone who reguarly reads at this level and enjoys grappling with this sort of topic explain it to interested parties who don't share that level of academic engagement. For instance, it could be an adult Sunday School class; nothing says they have to be limited to the journeys of St. Paul.
Number one recommended introduction to post-modernism  Aug 11, 2007
In Postmodernism 101, Heath White offers lay people an introduction to post-modernism and the issues surrounding it. White teaches philosophy at the University of North Carolina and claims that he was moved to write the book in response to the large number of questions he received concerning the topic. It is written in clear, simple, straightforward prose, contains helpful illustrations, and offers a basic overview of the major facets of post-modernism and how it affects different areas of life and thought.

White begins the book by briefly sketching out why Christians should care about post-modernism, discussing the issue of the church's relationship to culture and the importance of understanding the culture we live in. He then spends a couple of chapters placing post-modernism in its historical context, showing the move from pre-modernism to modernism and into post-modernism. He then spends several chapters unpacking the ways in which post-modern ideas affect different areas of life and thought including morality, views of the self, language, interpretation, culture, and history. He concludes with a chapter which raises the question of how important post-modernism really is and which challenges Christians to seriously engage the questions it raises, even as he points to our ultimate hope in God.

The thing I appreciate most about the book is its even handed tone. On the one hand, it avoids the fearful reactionism and simplistic caricatures of postmodernism that seem to predominate among many conservative Christians, while also avoiding a wholesale embrace of postmodernism. White clearly thinks that much of the postmodern critique of modernism is correct and needed, but also sees that there are many ways that post-modernism presents problems and challenges for orthodox Christianity. Rather than simply offering out of the box answers and prescriptions, though, he continually invites his readers to further reflection and discernment on the matter. In every chapter, he attempts to reflect on the issues discussed from a specifically Christian point of view and offers helpful examples of some concrete and practical ways Christians might respond to these challenges. Questions are also included at the end of every chapter to help the reader process what he or she has read and to reflect on it further.

By ending the book with some serious unanswered questions to which he encourages Christians to seek serious answers, while also pointing to our hope in God, White demonstrates precisely what Christian intellectual endeavors should look like. Faith seeking understanding, secure in the truth of what we believe, aware of the limits of our own understanding, unafraid to face the reality of changing cultural situations and the questions they raise with generous hearts and minds. For now, this is the one book I would recommend above all others to anyone seeking a good, readable introduction to post-modernism and the issues surrounding it.

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