In January, I announced my dad’s latest book, Post-Christian: A Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture. I posted about it here. I promptly read it halfway, stopped, and started over from the beginning. It’s half a year later and I still haven’t written a review. It was simply a lot to digest. I’d read it. Think it through. Reread the chapter. Or section. 🙂 But at long last, here’s my review.
This was an enlightening book that I reread from almost the first day. One of my favorite aspects is the way, in the first third or so, you can watch the intellectual assumptions and developments shift over time. Paragraph to paragraph, you see history step forward to today. It’s both marvelous and shocking. The gradual shifts, though incremental, are decidedly mark-able. It’s tempting to think some positions are universal when really they are built on modern mindsets. Or post-modern! Or now even post-secular!
Veith has touched on several of these topics elsewhere, as Veith is a prolific author & blogger who has touched on many cultural, intellectual, and artistic topics. See Family Vocation, for example, to read more about the human body. At the same time, this book is unparalleled. It’s more than an update for Post-Modern Times. It’s a culmination of his long career, reflecting both his academic skills and his skills of cultural critique.
Veith is known for smooth reading and being a lay-friendly author. (For example, The Spirituality of the Cross! Btw, I heard another updated version is coming out in the spring!) Well, this is lay-friendly and well-written, but it’s also mentally heavy material. I’d love for serious high schoolers to read this, perhaps with a study guide of sorts. I’d love for college and seminary classes to go through it, and I’d certainly love Christians in general to think along these terms, considering exactly what people mean by expressions like post-Christian, post-modern, and post-secular. In fact, I wonder if this is a book written in part for professors, who benefit from books that bridge culture and religion, history and the church.
This is a book in which you want to understand chapters before you move on to the next part. The four sections may stand alone (Reality, The Body, Society, and Religion), but that doesn’t mean chapters or sections are equally skimmable. 🙂