On Religion (Paperback) book cover

On Religion

By John Caputo

© 2001 – Routledge

158 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415233330
pub: 2001-05-21$26.95
Hardback: 9780415233323
pub: 2001-05-21$125.00

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About the Book

John D. Caputo explores the very roots of religious thinking in this thought-provoking book. Compelling questions come up along the way: 'What do I love when I love my God?' and 'What can Star Wars tell us about the contemporary use of religion?' (are we always trying to find a way of saying 'God be with you'?) Why is religion for many a source of moral guidance in a postmodern, nihilistic age? Is it possible to have 'religion without religion'?

Drawing on contemporary images of religion, such as Robert Duvall's film The Apostle, Caputo also provides some fascinating and imaginative insights into religious fundamentalism.


"Caputo redefines religion as love of the unforeseeable. And, as that is a given in life, his definition of religiosity pretty much equates with my definition of joie de vivre. So the opposite of a religious person is not an atheist, merely a 'pusillanimous curmudgeon'. But it's not all just clever wordplay. With his unorthodox definitions in place, Caputo goes on to denounce dogma, put Marx, Nietzsche and Freud in their historical places and to reunite religion, mysticism and science. On top of all that, there's a detailed deconstruction of religion in Star Wars. I'm converted."

- Laurence Phelan, The Independent on Sunday

"Intellectual without being overly academic…one cheers his vigour and relishes his insights into the paradoxical, ambiguous nature of religion and religious belief. Recommended."

- Library Journal

"I feel obliged to warn readers that I loved this book. I loved its passion, loved its ideas, and loved the alternately sassy and incantatory rhythms of its prose … get this book and read it."

- Sea of Faith

"…this volume is both a stimulating read and a useful introduction to a strand of thinking about religion inaugurated by Jacques Derrida and other post-modernist thinkers. Caputo's writing avoids the abstractions and complications beloved of academic philosophy in favor of a vernacular and often light-hearted writing style that nevertheless succeeds in conveying ideas of considerable depth and subtlety."

-Stan van Hooft, Sophie, 48:327-329

About the Series

Thinking in Action

'Three of the first batch deserve high praise: On Immigration and Refugees, by the great logician (and campaigner for racial equality) Michael Dummett; On Belief, by that master of postmodern paradox, Slavoj Zizek; and On the Internet by Hubert L Dreyfus.' - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

This is clearly an important series. I look forward to reading future volumes.' - Frank Kermode, author of Shakespeare's Language

Both rigorous and accessible.' - Humanist News

The series looks superb.' - Quentin Skinner

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"Routledge's Thinking in Action series is the theory junkie's answer to the eminently pocketable Penguin 60s series.' - Mute Magazine

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Thinking in Action
is a major series that takes philosophy to its public. Each book in the series is written by a major international philosopher or thinker, engages with an important contemporary topic, and is clearly and accessibly written. The series informs and sharpens debate on topics as wide ranging as the internet, religion, the problem of immigration and refugees and the way we think about science. Punchy, short, and stimulating, Thinking in Action is an indispensable series of books for anyone who wants to think seriously about major issues confronting us today.

Edited by Simon Critchley, New School University, USA and Richard Kearney, Boston College, USA

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PHILOSOPHY / Religious