How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor

How (Not) to be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor

Paperback

By (author) James K. A. Smith

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  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co
  • Format: Paperback | 152 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 226mm x 12mm | 220g
  • Publication date: 27 May 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Grand Rapids
  • ISBN 10: 0802867618
  • ISBN 13: 9780802867612
  • Sales rank: 13,122

Product description

What does it mean to say we live in a "secular" world? Charles Taylor's landmark book A Secular Age (2007) provides a monumental history and analysis of what it means for us to live in our post- Christian present - a pluralist world of competing beliefs and growing unbelief. This book by Jamie Smith is a compact field guide to Taylor's genealogy of the secular, making that 900-page work accessible to a wide array of readers. Smith's How (Not) to Be Secular is also, however, a philosophical guidebook for practitioners - a kind of how-to manual that ultimately offers guidance on how to live in a secular age. It's an adventure in self-understanding and a way to get our bearings in postmodernity. Whether one is proclaiming faith to the secularized or is puzzled that there continue to be people of faith in this day and age, this book is a philosophical story meant to help us locate where we are and what's at stake.

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Author information

James K. A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview. He is the award-winning author of a number of books, including Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?, The Devil Reads Derrida, Desiring the Kingdom, and, most recently, Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works.

Review quote

Tim Keller--Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York City"Charles Taylor's crucial book on our secular age is inaccessible for most people, including the church leaders who desperately need to learn from its insight. Jamie Smith's book is the solution to this problem. As a gateway into Taylor's thought, this volume (if read widely) could have a major impact on the level of theological leadership that our contemporary church is getting. It could also have a great effect on the quality of our communication and preaching. I highly recommend this book."T. M. Luhrmann--Stanford University"This is a brilliant, beautifully written book on the dilemma of faith in a modern secular age. It introduces the reader to the material in Taylor's dense book, of course, but it does more. It invites the reader on a journey through the experience of the spirit in different centuries, and how our conceptions of mind and person shape belief in ways far more intimate than we usually imagine. How (Not) to Be Secular is a gem."Hans Boersma--Regent College"Charles Taylor's daunting tome, A Secular Age, has just turned a great deal less intimidating. Combining his usual lucid style, his love for literature, and his passion for the church's future, Jamie Smith offers a faithful guide through the pages of Taylor's monumental work. Along the way, he wisely cautions his co-religionists against facile responses to the disenchantment' of modernity, but he also insists that the Christian faith may have much more going for it than many recognize."