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Postmodern Times (TURNING POINT CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW SERIES) Taschenbuch – 15. Februar 1994
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Gene Edward Veith (PhD, University of Kansas) provost and professor of literature emeritus at Patrick Henry College. He previously worked as the culture editor of World magazine. Veith and his wife, Jackquelyn, have three grown children and seven grandchildren.
Marvin Olasky (PhD, University of Michigan) is the editor in chief of World magazine, holder of the distinguished chair in journalism and public policy at Patrick Henry College, and senior fellow of the Acton Institute. He was previously a professor at the University of Texas at Austin, a Boston Globe reporter, and a Du Pont Company speechwriter. He is the author of twenty books and more than 3,500 articles. He and his wife, Susan, have four sons.
- Herausgeber : GOOD NEWS PUBL (15. Februar 1994)
- Sprache : Englisch
- Taschenbuch : 256 Seiten
- ISBN-10 : 0891077685
- ISBN-13 : 978-0891077688
- Abmessungen : 13.97 x 1.73 x 21.59 cm
Spitzenbewertungen aus Deutschland
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His message is that the church failed to respond to rationalistic modernism, and we should be grateful for the fact that postmodernism is now shutting up those who would question Christianity. However, he sees a real threat ahead, as people stop attacking, and just start ignoring Christianity. Although I disagree with his analysis of the church vs. modernism issue, I think he is correct here.
However, the remainder of the book is a total bemoaning the fate of the world if left in postmodernist hands. From about half way thorugh the book, he didn't seem to have anything new to say, and I really had to drag myself to the end of the book.
The last section of the book was supposed to be an application to Christians. But I found it had nothing to offer in the practical approach we should be taking to postmodernism. It just warns us to be a confronting and countering force. Veith is a modernist, stuck in modernist ways, and although he has a theoretical understanding of postmodernism, does not have a personal understanding of its approach nor of its goals.
I personally believe that the postmodern era holds an incredible amount for Christians, and that we should not shy away from it.
Vieth is cautiously hopeful. He recognizes postmodernism's potential weakness for despair; when a person believes that all truth is relative and indiscoverable, they will quickly loose hope. He also correctly identifies the dogma of absolute tolerance as intolerant.
Nevertheless, his hope springs in part from the fact that Christ was no stranger to the use of image and story to communicate the Gospel; living (as Vieth contends that we do) in an increasingly post-Christian culture, we are able once again to communicate the fundamental tenets of Christianity through allegories, parables, and pictures. Postmodern thought's ability to embrace paradox without tension leads postmodernists to instinctively understand certain aspects of our faith which the material, clinical mindset of the modern era has failed to adequately illuminate.
This book is no condemnation of postmodern thought, nor is it a postmodernist's apology; Vieth makes the distinction, for instance, between postmodernism and postmodern thought patterns, and posits that the latter lends itself to authentic, historic Christianity. He begins with the premise that the Christian faith is a timelessly relevant embodiment of truth (not the exclusive domain of modern Western thought), meaning that it will speak relevantly to any system of thought, and concludes that postmodern thought is no more alien to Christ's message than is the receding modern worldview. I have read and re-read this book, referenced it countless times, and it has aged well on my shelf. While the first third of the book has proven to be the most helpful section (as of yet), five years of re-reading and a brief encounter with the author leads me to conclude that "Postmodern Times" is offered without agenda as a well-informed perspective on the challenges and opportunities postmodern thought poses for Christ's followers today.
Spitzenrezensionen aus anderen Ländern
I will caveat this review by saying that if you are an unreserved postmodernist, then you will not like Veith's book. The target audience is orthodox Christians, most likely conservative Protestants, although I think a faithful Catholic would find it equally useful.
With that said, my overall impression of "Postmodern Times" is that it is a good summary of postmodernity, postmodernism, and the relationship to, and influence of, each of these concepts on contemporary Christianity.
The book is broken up into 4 major parts: postmodern paradigms, the arts, postmodern society, and religion.
In this section, Veith discusses the postmodernist concepts of deconstruction, post-Marxism, and relativism. Deconstruction refers to the process of getting to the "meta-narrative" behind language. Post-Marxism is essentially the application of Marxist thought to realms outside of classical Marxism. Whereas Marxism dealt primarily with economic and class issues, post-Marxism applies Marxist categories to other areas, such as race and gender. Relativism, of course, is the denial of transcendent absolutes.
Here Veith discusses how art in the postmodern age differs from modern art. He also differentiates between postmodernity and postmodernism. Postmodernity, he says, is the successor to modernity, and concludes that scientific modernism does not provide all the answers that it claimed to make available in the modern age. In that sense, postmodernity is a good thing, as it may open people up to answers that science and modernism cannot provide. Postmodernism, on the other hand, is a philosophy that grew out of postmodernity and takes it to the extreme, insisting on the complete relativity of language, and asserting that all language is merely a mask for the will to power over others.
Society in the postmodern age, according to Veith, is increasingly fragmented. Post-Marxist thought effectively encourages this outcome by emphasizing the power struggle between groups. Essentially, it's all about "the group" (not the individual, but also not the society at large), and "the group" basically must manipulate language to achieve to achieve power for itself.
Postmodernity can have a positive effect for Christianity, according to Veith, because it opens people's eyes to answers from non-scientific sources. However, postmodernism is generally negative in its impact on the church and Christianity. The most obvious effect is probably in the denial of absolutes, which shows up even in the views of otherwise orthodox Christians. Post-Marxist thought also shows up in the theological thought of some Christian groups, most notably the liberation theologies.
Overall, the book is a good read. I haven't read much on postmodernism in general, so I can't offer any comparative insights. However, it served its purpose well, especially as it related to the course I'm studying. It serves to introduce the generally orthodox Christian layman to competing schools of thought with which he or she will have to contend in our present day and age.
I outlined the first chapter of the book in Google Notebooks. You can access that outline here: [...]
In addition, at some point I will hopefully get around to writing my chapter summaries, and will provide that link here.
Though Postmodern Times is a bit simplistic, a bit dated (published in '94) and a-lot to take in if you have not read on this subject before, it is well worth the effort. If you want to understand the prevailing worldview that is attempting to shape our culture and tips on how win this culture to Christ read Postmodern Times.
This is a must read to understand and resist contemporary destructive pop culture. Society is heading in wrong direction. People have to read books like this one to see where and how postmodernism ruined and still ruining society.
This is a great introduction and overview.