Post-modern religion- the syllabi of John Caputo

One of the leading Catholic post-modern theologians John Caputo will be retiring this June. For those interested in what is considered post-modern in a religious context, his works are the place to go. (This is especially important because (be-avonosanu harabim) there are many who think any book written after 1980 is post-modern or that the ideas of Durkhiem and Dewey are post-modern). He is not my cup of tea but nevertheless a major force out there.

Below are the syllabii of his courses as posted to his web site along with a link to mp3 recordings of his course this semester.  One can gain a solid grasp of the current field by perusing his reading lists and then reading Caputo’s books.  American Jewry has yet to respond to any of this- outside of a few unknown academics.

John D. Caputo is influenced by Heidegger and “treats “sacred” texts as a poetics of the human condition, or as a “theo-poetics,” a poetics of the event harbored in the name of God. His past books have attempted to persuade us that hermeneutics goes all the way down (Radical Hermeneutics), that Derrida is a thinker to be reckoned with by theology (The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida), and that theology is best served by getting over its love affair with power and authority and embracing what Caputo calls, following St. Paul, The Weakness of God…. He is currently working in a book on our frail and mortal flesh, probably to be entitled The Fate of All Flesh: A Theology of the Event, II.”

Professor Caputo… has special interests in the “religion without religion” of Jacques Derrida; the “theological turn” taken in recent French phenomenology (Jean-Luc Marion and others); the critique of onto-theology; the question of post-modernism as “post-secularism;” the dialogue of contemporary philosophy with St. Augustine; the recent interest shown by philosophers in St. Paul; the link between Kierkegaard and deconstruction; Heidegger’s early theological writings on Paul and Augustine; “secular” and “death of God” theology (Altizer, Vattimo, Zizek); medieval metaphysics and mysticism.

FALL 2010 Courses:
REL 660: The Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion
PHI 600: Derrida

FALL 2009 Courses:
REL 667: Radical Theology from Hegel to Zizek
PHI 600: Husserl and Merleau-Ponty

FALL 2008 Courses:
REL 660: A Theology of Flesh
PHI 600: Heidegger

FALL 2007 Courses:
REL 667: Postmodern Theology: Derrida and Religion
PHI 600: Transcendence and Immanence: Levinas and Deleuze

FALL 2006 Courses:
REL 660: The Theological Turn in French Phenomenology
PHI 600: Husserl and the Foundations of Phenomenology

FALL 2005 Courses:
REL 667: Radical Theology from Tillich to Zizek
PHI 600: Postmodernisms: A Philosophical Introduction

FALL 2004 Courses:
REL 667: Postmodern Theology: The Concept of God in Levinas
PHI 600: Heidegger

Course Audio Recordings: These lectures are also available as MP3 files at “Homebrewed Christianity” website:

This year, he seems very interested in Catherine Malabou and the idea of “plasticity.” Nice reviews of her work and how she explains the Hegelian approach to religion- here and here.

The reading list for the “A Theology of Flesh” is especially detailed. As is the reading list for “The Theological Turn in French Phenomenology” which is more my speed.

A full audio list for many courses is here.

h/t AUFS

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