Saturday, April 12, 2008

Oh yeah, well deconstruct this!

It's been awhile since I've posted. Of all the habits of blogging, doing it consistently, regularly, has been the hardest for me. I'll get a streak of several posts within a week or so, and then be dark the next week as my 'real life' (ha ha) gets busy. All of which is not to say that I'm going to be better on this front, just that yes, I know...

Anyway, I ran across an article by Jamie Smith - who is usually assistant professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, but just now is overseeing their exchange program at York St. John's University - on The Incarnation as More Radical Hermeneutics. It is a critical yet appreciative review of John Caputo's What Would Jesus Deconstruct?

I like the sort of stuff that Smith does, and this is a good introduction to part of it. Part of his critique of Caputo is that his portrait of Jesus is (ironically) hard to tell from contemporary liberalism, and that the Jesus of the gospels - indeed, for those with ears to hear, of orthodoxy - is far more radical than that. One way this is so is that the scandal of the incarnation creates a body, an institution, which carries on in the Spirit down the ages, witnessing to the Word, the living God; this body is scandalous (to us) by not simply being a voluntary organisation of like-minded people, a benevolent organisation whose watchword is laissez-faire individualism. At least in this way, we are different from the world around us.

Or so we're supposed to be.

Go and have a read of Smith's essay, it's good. I've borrowed a couple of terms and intellectual moves from him for the above, which is an improvisation on one or two aspects of the essay.

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