Smith, James K.A. 1970-
Smith, James K.A. 1970-
Born 1970, in Embro, Ontario, Canada; married; wife's name Deanna; children: Grayson, Coleson, Madison, Jackson. Education: Attended University of Waterloo, 1992-93; Emmaus Bible College, B.Sc., 1993; Institute for Christian Studies, M.Phil., 1995; Villanova University, Ph.D., 1999.
Educator and writer. Villanova University, Philadelphia, PA, lecturer in philosophy, 1995-99; University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, adjunct assistant professor of biomedical writing, 1998-2002; Vanguard University, Costa Mesa, CA, adjunct professor of theology and ethics, 2001; Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, assistant professor of philosophy, 1999-2002; Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, associate professor of philosophy, 2002—. Distinguished Scholar Lecturer, Trinity Western University, 2003.
John G. Tich Award for Academic Excellence, Department of Philosophy, Villanova University, 1997; James Harvey Teaching Award, Department of Philosophy, Villanova University, 1998; Altruism Course Award, Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, 2004.
The Fall of Interpretation: Philosophical Foundations for a Creational Hermeneutic, InterVarsity Press (Downers Grove, IL), 2000.
Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation, Routledge (New York, NY), 2002.
(With Kelly James Clark and Richard Lints) 101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology, Westminster John Knox Press (Louisville, KY), 2004.
Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Postsecular Theology, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.
Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI), 2006.
(With Henry Isaac Venema) The Hermeneutics of Charity: Interpretation, Selfhood, and Postmodern Faith, BrazosPress (Grand Rapids, MI), 2004.
(With James H. Olthuis) Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant, and Participation, Baker Academic (Grand Rapids, MI), 2005.
(With Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Bruce Ellis Benson) Hermeneutics at the Crossroads, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 2006.
Author of the blogs Fors Clavigera and What I'm Reading. Contributor to periodicals, including Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Calvin Theological Journal, Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory, Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, Faith and Philosophy, Literature and Philosophy, Journal of the Canadian Society for Hermeneutics and Postmodern Thought, and American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly.
James K.A. Smith is a professor of philosophy at Calvin College and a prolific writer on philosophy, theology, science, linguistics, and art. His doctoral thesis was titled How to Avoid Not Speaking: On the Phenomenological Possibility of Theology, and he further explored the subject in one of his first books, Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation. Smith relies on various sources to establish a possible way of speaking to God without enacting "violence," or diminishing God's eminence. The book was described as "stylish, precise, and highly stimulating" by Religious Studies reviewer Christopher I. Insole, who added: "It is a testament to the stimulation provided by the book that it brings the reader to some of the deepest problems of philosophical theology. Whatever one makes of his conclusions, Smith's passage through complex and diverse material is subtle and rigorous, and commands attention."
Smith has a special interest in Radical Orthodoxy, which he describes on his home page as "a theological movement—or better, sensibility—operating across many Christian traditions, in dialogue with other non-Christian traditions, and working alongside other academic disciplines such as politics, economics, the natural sciences, social and cultural theory." In addition to serving as coeditor of Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant, and Participation, which a reviewer for the Christian Century maintained proves an "ecumenical conversation can be both sharply critical and mutually enriching," Smith penned a comprehensive introduction to the subject titled Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Postsecular Theology. J. Todd Billings wrote in a review of the book for Interpretation that "Smith's work is an outstanding secondary source ‘introduction,’ introducing not only the ideas, but also the literature." Billings added: "Smith's book is an extremely valuable guide for teachers and students of theology who want to see the ‘post-secular,’ post-Enlightenment possibilities for Christianity."
In Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, Smith posits that contrary to a commonly held belief among scholars, the philosophical movement known as postmodernism does not conflict with Christianity and can, in fact, positively influence modern Christian traditions. Although Library Journal reviewer Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., remarked that Smith's "discussions often bog down in academic jargon," Alex Visotzky disagreed, writing in a review for Cross Currents that Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? "reads in a pleasantly colloquial vernacular, avoiding the bogs of technical language." A Publishers Weekly critic commented that the book is "one of the most accessible introductions to postmodern thought to date."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Christian Century, March 21, 2006, review of Radical Orthodoxy and the Reformed Tradition: Creation, Covenant, and Participation, p. 41.
Cross Currents, summer, 2006, Alex Visotzky, review of Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church, p. 279.
Interpretation, January, 2007, J. Todd Billings, review of Introducing Radical Orthodoxy: Mapping a Post-secular Theology, p. 104.
Library Journal, June 15, 2006, Henry L. Carrigan, Jr., review of Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?, p. 73.
Publishers Weekly, January 30, 2006, review of Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?, p. 64.
Religious Studies, June, 2005, Christopher I. Insole, review of Speech and Theology: Language and the Logic of Incarnation, p. 233.
James K.A. Smith Home Page,http://www.jameskasmith.com (July 23, 2007).