Monday, November 02, 2015

Review: Hoping Against Hope

Title: Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim
Author: John D. Caputo
Date: 2015
Publisher: Fortress Press

Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim by John D. Caputo is about his journey from a 1950's Catholic altar boy in Philadelphia to philosopher. 
Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim is:
  • part spiritual autobiography
  • part homily on what he calls the "nihilism of grace,"
  • part call for people (believers and nonbelievers) to participate in the "praxis of the kingdom of God,"
  • and his desire to redeem religion and to reinvent religion for the postmodern times.
This is the first book I have read by Caputo, and while the title caught my eye and gave hope for a creative look at postmodernity, I came away with a sense of confusion.

Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim, is dry and bland. Caputo rambles through his life's history interspersing it with some theological reflections that don't always make a great deal of sense.

Caputo writes, "in the proto-religion whose cause I am advancing, the works of mercy are the kingdom of God; the kingdom of God is not a reward (mistos, merces, Matt. 6:1) for doing works of mercy." His understanding of the kingdom is more rooted in his philosophical roots than in an accurate reading of Scripture.

While he does say some helpful things, it often comes across as being disjointed or unconnected. He keeps on using this analogy of finding missing manuscripts with his interpretation of what God really means, or what his understanding of what his non-existent God might say.

disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book through Cross Focused Reviews, in exchange for an honest review.

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