Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Devil Reads Derrida: forthcoming

The new Eerdmans catalogue includes information on a new little book of mine that will appear in April. The Devil Reads Derrida: and Other Essays on the University, the Church, Politics, and the Arts, gathers together a number of my "popular" pieces that have appeared in magazines and other periodicals ranging from the Christian Century and Harvard Divinity Bulletin to Christianity Today and The Banner. In short, it's a book without footnotes. And it includes a new introduction that articulates my vision for Christian "public intellectuals," utilizing Little Miss Sunshine as something of an allegory.

I take this sort of "outreach" scholarship seriously, and enjoy it very much, and so hope this book might fall into the hands beyond the usual suspects of students and scholars. Here's the description from Eerdmans:

The Devil Reads Derrida brings together essays and articles written for a general audience by a notable young voice in the church and the academy. A specialist in French philosophy and postmodernism, James K. A. Smith has also consistently sought to speak to the church as the most important “public” for his work.

This book brings together some of Smith’s most significant forays into the public arena, focusing especially on discipleship, the university, and politics and the church. It also provides a selection of his criticism, including essays on Harry Potter, A History of Violence, the poetry of Franz Wright, and much more.

Smith’s work as a Christian public intellectual brings theological wisdom into the service of lived discipleship. Whether grappling with the Wild at Heart phenomenon or the challenges of secularization, dealing with sex or consumerism, or commenting on The Devil Wears Prada or American Beauty, Smith tackles each issue with clarity and insight, with scholarly rigor — but always with an eye to Christian discipleship and the life of the church.