What is postmodernism? What is postmodernity? More importantly, how does each one affect the church at the beginning of the twenty-first century? If these are questions you have been asking, this book will help. Stanley Grenz is a well-respected author and theology professor who has extensively studied postmodernism (the emerging worldview) and postmodernity (the context in which postmodernism is dominant). He offers this aptly named primer on the major tenets and socio-cultural implications of the epochal changes occurring in our society in the early stages of the twenty-first century.
Grenz defines postmodernism, and traces its history from the late 1800s (Nietzsche offered some very viable criticisms of modernity before his death in 1900) through to the present, looking at the three major authors and thinkers who have shaped it. The three authors are Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Richard Rorty, whose writings are the de facto philosophy at many universities in America. While their philosophy is only a part of postmodernism, it can't be ignored when looking at the movement as a whole.
One of the most important aspects for understanding postmodernism is placing it within the context of late modernity. The best definition of postmodernism is a radical distancing from modern philosophies about truth and knowledge, so Grenz examines some of the major tenets of modernity as well. He then juxtaposes the changes occurring in postmodernism onto existing modern concepts, offering a clear, understandable look at what postmodernism is really about.
Thoroughly documented and extremely relevant, this primer will meet the needs of Christians at all levels, from Sunday School to higher education. More importantly, it will begin the process of helping the church truly learn how best to embody the principles and truth of the gospel in our new cultural setting, that of postmodernity. If we cling to the remaining vestiges of modernity, Grenz feels the church will become completely irrelevant. Understanding what postmodernism is will help us toretain and improve our relevance, and will enable us to reach out with the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.
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Review 1 for A Primer on Postmodernism
Date:August 24, 2004
For someone out there wanting to dig into the intellectual issues of our society from a Christian perspective, this book is a must read. Grenz offers the best easy to understand presentation on postmodernism from a Christian perspective. That's no small praise since postmodernity is by nature hard to understand or comprehensively talk about.