John D. Caputo

John D. Caputo is one of the leading philosophers in the English-speaking world today. He is a hybrid philosopher/theologian intent on producing impure thoughts, thoughts which circulate between philosophy and theology, short-circuits which deny fixed and rigorous boundaries between philosophy and theology. Caputo 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 has also addressed wider-than-academic audiences in On Religion and What Would Jesus Deconstruct? and has an interest in interacting with working church groups like ikon and the “Emergent” Church. 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 specializes in continental philosophy of religion, working on approaches to religion and theology in the light of contemporary phenomenology, hermeneutics and deconstruction, and also the presence in continental philosophy of radical religious and theological motifs. He 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.

Recently, three books have appeared about his work: Cross and Khora: Deconstruction and Christianity in the Work of John D. Caputo, Eds. Neal Deroo and Marko Zlomsic (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2010); A Passion for the Impossible: John D. Caputo in Focus, ed. Mark Dooley (SUNY Press, 2002) and Religion With/Out Religion: The Prayers and Tears of John D. Caputo, ed. Ed. James Olthius (Routledge, 2002).

Professor Caputo’s The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Indiana, 2006) received the 2007 AAR Book Award for “Constructive-Reflective Studies in Religion.” What would Jesus Deconstruct? was the winner of the ForeWord Magazine Best Philosophy Book of 2007 award.