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Solomon Among the Postmoderns

4.35  ·  Rating Details ·  181 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon states that "all is vapor" and describes humans as trying to "shepherd the wind." In "Solomon among the Postmoderns," author Peter J. Leithart uses these claims, as well as the entire book of Ecclesiastes, to show how Solomon resonated with postmodernism.

Exploring the strengths and weaknesses of postmodernism, Leithart shows how the theory reflects
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Brazos Press
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May 03, 2014 Brian rated it it was amazing
One of Leithart's greatest books. I feel like nearly all my studies at NSA really prepared me for this book; the way our presuppositions and angles continually affect us is important and part and parcel of our finitude. He applies Ecclesiastes to our modern/postmodern age and shows how recent intellectual thought can free us from the Modern, individualistic, cosmic quest to fit the wind into tightly packaged and organized boxes. A very encouraging book.

Surprisingly, I found it somewhat less dens
Nov 09, 2015 Nathan rated it it was amazing
Modernism is the tower of Babel, postmodernism is the confusion of languages after Babel. Solomon is like postmodernists except for one major difference: the postmoderns conclude that no one can shepherd the wind while Solomon confesses that Someone DOES, and that Someone calls us to feast and enjoy life under His benevolent care.
Jun 05, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, culture
Leithart's audience in this book is a group of people he labels APCs—Anti-Postmodern Christians. Many Christians make blanket statements about the perilous consequences of postmodernity without ever realizing they are embracing a worldview (modernity) that has just as many, if not more, negative consequences as postmodernity. In this book, Leithart shows how Christians should embrace certain aspects of postmodernity's "revenge" against modernity. Moreover he shows the shortcomings of postmodern ...more
Jesse Broussard
Apr 19, 2008 Jesse Broussard rated it really liked it
Astonishing book--a critique of the modern and postmodern movements from a philosophical perspective. Erudite, sophisticated, witty and copious. Quotes from Marx in one sentence and Ecclesiastes in the next. Very good.
Douglas Wilson
Jan 12, 2009 Douglas Wilson rated it really liked it
Quite solid.
Robert Murphy
Sep 19, 2011 Robert Murphy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, wish-list
It has been difficult to find time to fit in such a dense book while reading for seminary, but it has been worth it!

I've often read on Leithart's blog things which struck me as particular pro-Postmodernism, but I always wrote that off as blind ignorance on my part. Hence, I was bowled over by the stance of this book: Peter is basically a Christian Postmodern!

My entire take on Modernism vs Postmodernism (vs. Premodernism/Van Tillianism) began with a D.A. Carson lecture series at E.T.S. in 2004. T
Chris Comis
Once again Leithart delivers the goods. He is such a brilliant man and a scholar's scholar. In this book he does a wonderful job of navigating between the pitfalls most Christians fall into when it comes to "the postmodern." I've read quite a few books on this subject, but I've never read any from a Christian perspective that does such a great job of laying out the political influences postmodernity has had on the cultural landscape. The politics of postmodernity are often neglected or just ...more
This is a really good book, despite its (in my opinion) failures. Leithart is a great writer. I find myself laughing out loud at some of his observations about postmodernity. He has a keen eye. He has a winsome way of connecting social habits to a Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde quote.

Leithart is sympathetic to Postmodernism, in that postmodernism realizes the limitation of our observations, abilities, and knowledge. As Solomon put it - everything is vapor (very postmodern of him). Leithart's respon
Dec 13, 2013 Kris rated it it was amazing
Well, Peter Leithart has done it again. That is, he has written a book that was a delight to read and expanded my mind. Solomon Among the Postmoderns surprised by giving me a totally new perspective on its subject. Like most evangelicals, my view of postmodernism was shallow and one dimensional, essentially a synonym for ""relativism", and is a successor to modernism. Leithart instead explains that postmodernism is a reaction to modernism that has been around the whole time, as soon as people ...more
Wesley Sims
Sep 20, 2013 Wesley Sims rated it really liked it
As others have pointed out, Leithart approaches a survey of postmodernism via eschatology rather than epistemology, which I never would have understood before reading the book. This doesn't take away from the value of this book for a Christian as Leithart points you forward to the Triune God of the Bible so that you see that Scriptural faith has already asked AND answered the questions of the hopeless postmodern (as well as rebuke the prideful and vain aspirations of the modern).

The book is abso
May 06, 2014 Christopher rated it really liked it
Solid. Leithart traces the history of modernism and postmodernism giving us the wisdom of Solomon to help us out of the sand trap. A great book to end Traditio with, giving us a review of what we studied, and offering us a way forwards. From a subjective standpoint, reading Against Christianity is like eating a Texas-size steak, but while brilliant, reading Solomon Among the Postmoderns is like eating a salad. It was a great salad, but I didn't feel full when I was done. Still, one I expect to r ...more
Gwen Burrow
May 03, 2010 Gwen Burrow rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Read this at the end of freshman year and again at the end of senior year, and definitely got more out of it the second time. Lots of wit and insight in succinct, Leithartian style.
Quite amazing. Leithart explains/exposes/attacks the key assumptions of modern men, ultimately showing forth the Triune God as the medicine for what ails us.
Mike Casbon
Mar 04, 2012 Mike Casbon rated it really liked it
Helps to understand the water in our fishbowl.
Sep 24, 2011 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
This work is a wonderful conscious observation of modernism and postmodernism beyond pop Christian critique of postmodernism and moves beyond just the critique of it's epistemological project. It is actually more of a survey of modernism just as much as it is a survey on postmodernism, though the author is more critical of the former in the work than the latter. Readers will enjoy the wordsmith of the author Peter Leithart, as he paints an illustrative picture of Modernism and Postmodernism, ...more
Frankie Della Torre
May 09, 2014 Frankie Della Torre rated it it was amazing
Shelves: postmodernism
As Qoheleth (or Solomon; ugh, I'm not sure who) once said, "I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind." This world, yes, all of it, is a vapor. Human life is fleeting, and, perhaps, senseless. Intriguing, I think to myself. Tell me more, Qoheleth!

Peter Leithart (PhD, University of Cambridge) has made the case that Qoheleth (who he takes to be Solomon) seems to have resonated with the themes of today's postmodernism. The essential narra
Joe Haack
Aug 12, 2011 Joe Haack rated it really liked it
This book would have spared my many sleepless nights as an English Literature undergraduate. I was at once a) scared-to-death of the "cheerful nihilism" in the excerpts/articles/books of theory I read (a cheerful nihilism shared enthusiastically by my fellow classmates); yet compelled by their unblinking (and accurate!?) descriptions of the world in which I lived. It was very troubling. So from my perspective, this book came 10 years too late!

Leithart's encyclopedic and nuanced comprehension of
Oct 06, 2012 James rated it really liked it
What I remember from it:

-Moderns say man is in control, postmoderns say nothing is in control, Christians say God is in control.
-What's most wearying about the world is not that it changes, it's that we try changing it but it basically goes back to being the way it was (my thought: modernism may be the biggest deviation from the pattern so far at least re: technology and scientific knowledge but perhaps there will be a correction back to the mean of "nothing really changes" either once s
Apr 16, 2010 Clay rated it really liked it
This book was a amalgam of topics relating to postmodernism tied loosely together through the Solomonic observation that all is vapor. Leithart's thesis is that while postmodernism is certainly not a godly philosophy, or a cure-all of any kind, it does strip away some of the fallacies of modernism. Modernism to Leithart is an attempt to shepherd the wind, to control the vapor, to demystify the mysterious, and postmodernism reveals all of this to be a sham.

This book is great as a potpourri of to
Mayowa Adebiyi
Mar 11, 2014 Mayowa Adebiyi rated it it was amazing
I love ecclesiastes.
This book applies to Postmoderns, Postmodernity and Postmodernism - whichever way those terms are used. Leithart concludes that ultimately Solomon is not a book by a senile old man at the end of his life but a call to unspoiled joy in Christ (Eat, Drink, Rejoice).
Great tool to navigate the current chaos of this world, though the new priests in white Labcoats will have us believe they've got everything figured out or well on their way to doing so, our knowledge and control is
Jeremiah von Kühn
Jul 19, 2013 Jeremiah von Kühn rated it really liked it
I found it difficult to read at times (certainly more a problem with the reader than his writing) but the main thrust of his book was clear: Modernism is, in some ways, an attempt to "shepherd the wind." Postmodernism responds, "No, you can't do that." Through his book, the message of Ecclesiastes became more clear. "Vapor of vapors, everything is vapor" is more the sense of it than "Vanity of vanities..." Helpful book, especially if you're someone (like me) who tends to see only the negatives ...more
Mad Russian the Traveller
Jul 28, 2011 Mad Russian the Traveller rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-shelf
And I quote:


The neat boundaries of knowledge, and the easy certainties of modern language, seem to be diffusing to nothing. All is liquid, vapor, mist. It wouldn't have surprised Solomon. He would have seen our sense of disorientation and our frustrated lack of control not as the "end of reality" but as our awakening to reality as it is and always has been.
--{Leithart, Peter J. Solomon Among the Postmoderns. Michigan: Brazos Press (Baker), 2008. Print. p.66}
Joshua Nuckols
Apr 11, 2015 Joshua Nuckols rated it really liked it
With modern attempts to shepherd the mists, one can become disillusioned about reality. Solomon also viewed life as vapor, and attempts to conquer and control the world as delusional; but not as a reason to despair, but freedom to rejoice, believe, and hope in a God who will set all things aright in the end. In other words, have a great gasp of relief, that after all, the world is not dependent upon you to save it (or conquer it and subject it to hyper scrutiny and order).
Douglas Fyfe
Nov 03, 2016 Douglas Fyfe rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology-pop
Really enjoyed the read. Not actually a whole lot about Ecclesiastes but a tantalising amount to keep you interested. A great history of postmodernism applied to each of four questions for the four chapters.
Would recommend this for anyone who knows a bit about philosophy and wants to be pushed to think about how it fits with the Bible and also the world around us.
Doutor Branco
Oct 15, 2014 Doutor Branco rated it really liked it
Shelves: lidos-em-2014
I really liked reading this book. It holds a very interesting way to approach the issue of postmodernism, I just don't see how Solomon fits into this. I feel hermeutically annoyed by the use of the Bible verses in the wrong way, it made the idea of pressuring the Scripture to fit into the gaps, besides this it is a good book to read!
Matthew Hurley
The capstone of my last Traditio class at NSA> Christianity today needs a dose of postmodernism, and when the "self" is dissolved, then it needs to look outside itself, and recognize that we are not ourselves, but everyone else (Eliot, mewithoutYou). And that consequently all are responsible for all. Then we need to love the world in its suffering, and the suffering will be joy (Dostoevsky).
Apr 22, 2015 Matthew rated it really liked it
This book was an excellent treatment of what post-moderns are actually saying, and what they are actually feeling. Solomon not only see's their struggles and lived with them, but he also partook of the remedy,... The table in the midst, the world out from under the sun and under the Son.
Graham Heslop
May 16, 2016 Graham Heslop rated it really liked it
Eminently readable, Leithart does a splendid job in presenting Postmodernism's critique of Modernism. But beyond that, the author creates a fascinating intersection of Ecclesiastes (Old Testament theology), the two aforementioned philosophical movements, literature, and politics.
Oct 20, 2012 Rusten rated it it was amazing
Leithart gets beyond issues of epistemology and commends Postmodernism's accurate understanding of life as vapor, and corrects postmodernism's emphasis on utter loneliness by reminding us that there is a Table in the mist.
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Peter Leithart received an A.B. in English and History from Hillsdale College in 1981, and a Master of Arts in Religion and a Master of Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1986 and 1987. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge in England. He has served in two pastorates: He was pastor of Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity ...more
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