John D. Caputo

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John D. Caputo
John David Caputo

October 26, 1940 (1940-10-26) (age 83)
Alma mater
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Doctoral studentsJames K. A. Smith
Other notable studentsTheodore George
Main interests
Notable ideas

John David Caputo (born October 26, 1940) is an American philosopher who is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University.[1] Caputo is a major figure associated with postmodern Christianity[2] and continental philosophy of religion, as well as the founder of the theological movement known as weak theology.[3] Much of Caputo's work focuses on hermeneutics, phenomenology, deconstruction, and theology.


Caputo received his BA in 1962 from La Salle University, his MA in 1964 from Villanova University, and his PhD in philosophy in 1968 from Bryn Mawr College.[4]


Caputo is a specialist in contemporary continental philosophy, with a particular expertise in phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. Over the years, he has developed a deconstructive hermeneutics that he calls radical hermeneutics, which is highly influenced by the thought of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Additionally, Caputo has developed a distinctive approach to religion that he calls weak theology. Recently, his most important work has been to rebut the charges of relativism made against deconstruction by showing that deconstruction is organized around the affirmation of certain unconditional ethical and political claims.

Caputo has a special interest in continental approaches to the philosophy of religion. Some of the ideas Caputo investigates in his work include the "religion without religion" of Jacques Derrida; the "theological turn" taken in recent French phenomenology by Jean-Luc Marion and others; the critique of ontotheology; the dialogue of contemporary philosophy with Augustine of Hippo and Paul of Tarsus; and medieval metaphysics and mysticism. In the past, Caputo has taught courses on Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida.

Positions held[edit]

Caputo taught philosophy at Villanova University from 1968 to 2004. He was appointed the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University in 1993. Caputo was the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, where he taught in both the departments of philosophy and religion from 2004 until his retirement in 2011. He is emeritus professor at both Villanova University and Syracuse University and continues to write and lecture in both the United States and Europe. He is active in the American Philosophical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and he chairs the board of editors for the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.

Notable former students of Caputo[edit]


  • (1978) The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought (Ohio University Press)
  • (1982) Heidegger and Aquinas (Fordham University Press)
  • (1986) The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought (Fordham University Press paperback with a new "Introduction")
  • (1987) Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction and the Hermeneutic Project (Indiana University Press)
  • (1993) Against Ethics - Contributions to a Poetics of Obligation with Constant Reference to Deconstruction (Indiana University Press)
  • (1993) Demythologizing Heidegger (Indiana University Press)
  • (1997) The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida (Indiana University Press)
  • (1997) Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida, ed./auth. (Fordham University Press)
  • (2000) More Radical Hermeneutics: On Not Knowing Who We Are (Indiana University Press)
  • (2001) On Religion (Routledge Press)
  • (2006) Philosophy and Theology (Abingdon Press)
  • (2006) The Weakness of God (Indiana University Press)
  • (2007) After the Death of God, with Gianni Vattimo (Columbia University Press)
  • (2007) How to Read Kierkegaard (Granta; Norton, 2008)
  • (2007) What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (Baker Academic)
  • (2013) The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps (Indiana University Press)
  • (2014) Truth [Philosophy in Transit] (Penguin)
  • (2015) Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim (Fortress Press)
  • (2015) The Folly of God: A Theology of the Unconditional (Polebridge Press)
  • (2018) Hermeneutics: Facts and Interpretation in the Age of Information (Pelican)
  • (2019) Cross and Cosmos: A Theology of Difficult Glory (Indiana University Press)
  • (2020) In Search of Radical Theology: Expositions, Explorations, Exhortations (Fordham University Press)
  • (2021) The Collected Philosophical and Theological Papers, Volume 3: The Return of Religion (John D. Caputo Archives)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "John D. Caputo". Westar Institute. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  2. ^ Camilleri, René (October 18, 2009). "Reinvent the Church". Times of Malta. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "John D.Caputo". College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  4. ^ "Villanova University Catalog" (PDF). Villanova University.

External links[edit]

Online writings