James K. A. Smith

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James K. A. Smith (born 1970)[1] is a Canadian-American philosopher who is currently Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, holding the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. He is a notable figure associated with Radical Orthodoxy, a theo-philosophical movement within Postmodern Christianity (although Smith now questions the reality of Radical Orthodoxy as an ongoing theological movement: "Is 'radical orthodoxy' still a thing? I hadn't realized").[2] His work is undertaken at the borderlands between philosophy, theology, ethics, aesthetics, science, and politics. Drawing from continental philosophy and informed by a long Augustinian tradition of theological cultural critique—from Augustine and Calvin to Edwards and Kuyper—his interests are in bringing critical thought to bear on the practices of the church and the church's witness to culture.[3]

Life[edit]

Smith was born in Embro, Ontario[1] and currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Education[edit]

Smith completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo and Emmaus Bible College. He earned an M.Phil. (1995) in philosophical theology at the Institute for Christian Studies[1] where he studied under James Olthuis. He went on to receive a Ph.D. (1999) from Villanova University[1] where he worked with noted deconstructionist John D. Caputo. After teaching for a short time at Loyola Marymount University, Smith accepted his current position at Calvin College. He currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Work[edit]

As a former proponent of Radical Orthodoxy, Smith's claim is that it is actually theology or, more specifically, the story told by the church that is capable of countering modernism. His popular-level work largely aims at educating evangelicals regarding postmodernism and radical orthodoxy. Though he is critical of the emergent church movement, it should be said that he is at the same time sympathetic to much that could be described as part of that movement. It seems that a primary concern in his work is to expose certain postmodern philosophical claims (and certain ecclesial attempts to work with them) as not actually postmodern enough, pointing out instead that they too have accepted the agenda set by the enlightenment. This is seen in his warnings that the emergent tendency away from historic ecclesial tradition is a grave mistake, and that putting down roots, committing to a community for the long haul, and engaging the deep discourses within historic Christian orthodoxy are in fact the truly post- or counter-modern practices for the church today.

Given his training in continental philosophy and in the theology of the Reformed and Pentecostal traditions, his intellectual interests are a natural fit. Smith's research topics range from the continental philosophy of religion to urban altruism to the relationship between science and theology.

Bibliography[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "James K.A. Smith". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2007. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Blog Comment at Women in Theology". 
  3. ^ "Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation". January Series at Calvin College. Calvin College. Retrieved 2011-04-17. 

External links[edit]

Personal homepage[edit]

Critical reviews[edit]