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A Primer on Postmodernism

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  435 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
From the academy to pop culture, our society is in the throes of change rivaling the birth of modernity out of the decay of the Middle Ages. We are now moving from the modern to the postmodern era. But what is postmodernism? How did it arise? What characterizes the postmodern ethos? What is the postmodern mind and how does it differ from the modern mind? Who are its leadin ...more
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Published October 1st 2005 by Hovel Audio (first published February 1996)
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I hadn't expected the Christian angle, especially not an evangelical one. Since this was a not a pervasive aspect of the book, it doesn't matter that much, and in any case, I take an interest in religion too so it's interesting still.
However, to me the conclusion doesn't make sense: "You don't know anything, but hey, God loves you".

Also, I'm not sure that using Star Trek: Next Generation as an example of postmodernism was all that meaningful. Especially with respect to religion. I might as wel
Ryan Linkous
Nov 23, 2015 Ryan Linkous rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is helpful book for understanding postmodernism. Grenz not only spends time identifying postmodernism in many aspects of culture (from architecture and theater to its impact on science), but then reviews the modern period (fairly succinctly) some "pre-postmodern" philosophers, and three important postmodern philosophers - Foucault, Derrida, and Rorty. Grenz does not fall into the typical evangelical jeremiad of lamenting every fruit of postmodernism. In the conclusion, he outlines where Chr ...more
Jun 25, 2012 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good introduction to answering questions like "What's the big deal about postmodernism?" and "What IS postmodernism?"

I highly suggest reading at least the first two or three chapters as well as the final chapter. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are pretty dense reading: the other chapters cover the basic idea well enough, and these chapters only go more in-depth. Even the author suggests reading the book this way in the foreword, if you want to avoid the philosophical terminology and concepts tha
Jul 03, 2010 Bryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent history and analysis: This was an excellent study in the philosophical foundations of the actual movement of postmodernity, contrasted with the pop images of that movement which don't represent the shift in the history of human thought.

Grenz cleverly takes us into the movement (c. 1) by contrasting images of the old Star Trek, in which Mr. Spock represented the peak of intelligence, pure logic. He is presented as an image of modernity. In the newer Star Trek(s), there is ethnic divers
Jan 20, 2008 Brett rated it really liked it
A thoughtful, informed, and accessible introduction, A Primer on Postmodernism offers a Christian analysis and response to philosophical postmodernism. “The postmodern era,” Grenz observes, “has in effect replaced knowledge with interpretation,” having moved from “an objectivist to a constructionist outlook” (40). Grenz evaluates the thought of major postmodern theorists, such as Derrida, Foucault, and Rorty. Concluding that Christians must “explore the contours of the gospel in a postmodern con ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Humza rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For someone like myself who knows nothing about either philosophy or post modern thought, this was a very informative and enjoyable read. Thankfully, it wasn't as obtuse or dense as I thought it would be given the subject but it was still hard to get through at some points. The most interesting part of the book was the last chapter entitled "The Gospel and the Postmodern Context", where he explains how evangelicals should minister in the post modern age. I actually wish he would've made this cha ...more
Tanmay Tathagat
A good summary of postmodernism, centered around the narrow aim of ensuring that none of its ideas affect Christian faith. More like A Guide to Keeping One's Faith in Postmodern Times. Much too evangelical for a book chronicling an intellectual movement. Misses the point of intellectual work altogether: instead of working towards an understanding of how new ideas can change the way we understand the world, it is a manifesto for maintaining the status quo.
Frankie Della Torre
What follows are my thoughts on Foucault that come from this book:

Michel Foucault was a relentless critic of the Enlightenment. The modern paradigm was rooted in the thinking subject, an autonomous individual with the ability to view the world’s objects as they are. In other words, an individual’s perceptions provide a solid foundation for knowledge in an objective sense since those perceptions give accurate representations of what is there.

This Foucault attacked in a number of ways. He did this
This book is a bit trying and lacks some of the depth that I would have enjoyed from Grenz. While it is an introduction, the discussion is better carried on in Smith's "Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?", but that's my opinion.
Dan Glover
Pretty fair intro to postmodernism and its leading voices though a bit too embracing for me to agree with all of Grenz's conslusions.
Feb 01, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gml-dmin, culture, history
Grenz gives a thorough review of the nature of postmodernism, as well as its historical roots. To do this, he spends a great deal of his time on modernity, and its underpinnings. I learned as much about the modern worldview as I did postmodernism from this book.

As Grenz points out throughout his work, postmodernism is a rejection of the Enlightenment project of modernity. He asserts, and I agree with him, that this is not an entirely bad thing.

Modernism certainly should be rejected on certain l
Andrew Fox
Jul 23, 2012 Andrew Fox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grenz has clearly written a brief history of western culture to explain the current phenomena of Postmodernism. Without that context any explanation would stand completely opposed to Christianity. This is especially true for the Evangelical church which does not appear to have developed in its communication of the Gospel to Postmodernism. This is seen in the journey from Enlightenment to Modernism and finally postmodernism exposing a general degree of change in science, art, literature, architec ...more
M Pereira
The one thing that surprised me about this book is the Christian focus of the analysis. Not that it really matters to the perspective of what it actually addresses. The beginning acknowledges this, and the last part of the book is about how Christianity can take on postmodernism (in its critique of the Englightenment) but distance it in others (the dissolution of a universal history/narrative/text).

This book is so vast sometimes I wonder what its actual relevance is. There are big parts on the
Apr 27, 2012 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I read this just after "Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction," I want to compare the two. The latter book is better written then this one. Grenz's prose is often repetitive and his opening chapters (1-3) are almost worthless because they deal in generalities. I should remark that he is targeting an audience with no assumed knowledge of post-modernism or intellectual history, whereas Butler often bombards the reader with references to artwork and philosophical jargon. Because he targe ...more
Sep 25, 2010 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Grenz wrote a solid intro to postmodernism, it deserves four stars. He also provided some guidelines for the Evangelical who lives in a postmodern world. The objective truth of the enlightenment has been rejected by postmodernism. Good, we Christians can thank it for that. But no, we shouldn't thank it for the rejection of meta narratives. We draw the line there, as our narrative is Christ's redemption of this fallen world through his death on the cross.

Language is socially constructed say Fouc
Aug 20, 2011 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grenz presents a genealogy of postmodernism, setting the stage by contrasting it with modernism through an ingenious Star Trek analogy. He describes the attitudes and goals of the Enlightenment and how they sparked reactionary movements like structuralism, existentialism (via Nietzsche), and, of course, postmodernism. Grenz spotlights Lyotard, Foucault, Derrida, and Rorty and gives a solid overview of their ideas as responses to modernism. Finally, he ends the book with a valuable Evangelical as ...more
Jeanie Morkel
A good summary and analysis of Modernism and consequent Postmodernism. However, it's lack of neutrality in the introduction and final chapter leaves a bitter and bias after-taste, which is unfortunate. All-in-all it just proves that when it comes to truth, we are merely endued with perspective, interpretation and the recourse to mythical narratives embedded in our upbringing and/or communities.
Dec 18, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ministry, dmingml
After a concise opening couple of chapters designed to introduce the basic ideas behind postmodernity, Grenz goes on to trace the development of intellectual thought from the Renaissance up through the 20th Century. There are times when the exploration of various thinkers gets tedious, but this has less to do with Grenz than it does the complexity of some philosophers and their thoughts. Having shown the development of thought over time, Grenz then offers some closing thoughts on the Gospel in a ...more
Graham Bates
Apr 16, 2014 Graham Bates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Can be confusing in the middle when discussing the philosophical foundation of postmodernism, but overall a great introduction to the postmodern mindset without raking it (or us) over the coals.

Grenz's book has aged well over the last 18 years. Great first foray into postmodernism.
Tracy Dickerson
A Very Thorough a Walk Through Postmodernism

Very helpful read for those who ******really***** want to understand how the gospel relates to Postmodernism. It is understandably dense in places, but worth the effort.
David Joseph
Pretty decent apologetic.

Basically, people with a faith based worldview can safely sit back and watch modern and postmodern perspectives duke it out for a few hotly contested shares of influence within the arts and politics.

Dillon Rockrohr
Aug 26, 2011 Dillon Rockrohr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grenz did an excellent job of presenting the background for postmodernism, i.e. the rejection of modernism/Enlightenment philosophy and what that actually is. He also did a great job presenting the main thinkers in the realm of postmodern philosophy and their main ideas. This is a very big topic, but Grenz did well formatting it in a concise manner that didn't lack scholarly appeal. I especially loved his last chapter, instructing thinking Christians how to best share the Gospel and further the ...more
Scott Corwin
Jul 20, 2012 Scott Corwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable introduction to postmodernism by one of my favorite theologians. I appreciate his simple introductory overview, the sweep of his historical section, the scope of his philosophical summary, and the symmetry of his Christian response.

Though some have questioned the depth of his treatment -- it's a "primer"! -- and his interpretation of postmodern philosophers -- it's his "reader response"! -- I like Grenz' analytical lens -- a commitment to biblical faith experienced in community and
Jun 07, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Despite this book being over 15 years old and rather academic in nature, I really enjoyed this book. I can see how the postmodern world leads to the defeatist mentality that many of our youth take. In many ways I already knew the principles of postmodernism, I swim in its current everyday on the college campus, but it was helpful to see the roots of how it came to be. That's the part that helped me see how it can lead to a state of depression for some people, leaving them without much hope in th ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Daniel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good primer on the topic. His advice for engagement (ch 7) is debatable, but otherwise a good presentation of the contours and roots of the movement.
Olivia Reid
Jul 10, 2015 Olivia Reid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent, prophetic book. Insightful and a MUST read for any who wish to understand the underlying philosophical ethos of today's social issues.
Chet Duke
May 03, 2016 Chet Duke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology, philosophy
This was enjoyable, probably more so as a survey of intellectual history leading up to post-structuralism. The humility of Grenz's tone is refreshing.
Jan 23, 2008 Steven rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good introduction for the Christian who wants to understand post-modernism and its implications. The middle chapters of the book are somewhat tedious and could be skipped unless one wants to read about the evolution of ideas that brought about postmodern philosophy. The book is somewhat problematic in that the author uses to postmodern thinking to tear down modernism's challenges to religion and specifically Christianity; but he fails to adequately address the new challenges that Christian apo ...more
read for school
Jul 07, 2012 Brett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy

Really enjoyed this book. It's written by a Christian theologian so the last 15-20 pages are how he believes the church should deal with the conclusions of postmodernity, however the proceeding pages summarize the historical epoch leading up to postmodernism as well as offer a summary of 3 major postmodern thinkers: Foucault, Derrida, and Rorty. Finally, It's written in clear prose that make it eminently readable by those who haven't been steeped in western philosophy for half their lives.
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Stanley James Grenz was born in Alpena, Michigan on January 7, 1950. He was the youngest of three children born to Richard and Clara Grenz, a brother to Lyle and Jan. His dad was a Baptist pastor for 30 years before he passed away in 1971. Growing up as a “pastor’s kid” meant that he moved several times in his life, from Michigan, to South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Colorado.

After high scho
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