Hoping Against Hope

Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim

Hoping Against Hope

Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim

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John D. Caputo has a long career as one of the preeminent postmodern philosophers in America. The author of such books as Radical HermeneuticsThe Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida, and The Weakness of God, Caputo now reflects on his spiritual journey from a Catholic altar boy in 1950s Philadelphia to a philosopher after the death of God. Part spiritual autobiography, part homily on what he calls the “nihilism of grace,” Hoping Against Hope calls believers and nonbelievers alike to participate in the “praxis of the kingdom of God,” which Caputo says we must pursue “without why.”

Caputo’s conversation partners in this volume include Lyotard, Derrida, and Hegel, but also earlier versions of himself: Jackie, a young altar boy, and Brother Paul, a novice in a religious order. Caputo traces his own journey from faith through skepticism to hope after the “death of God.” In the end, Caputo doesn’t want to do away with religion; he wants to redeem religion and to reinvent religion for a postmodern time.


Listen to an interview with John Caputo on the Drew Marshall Show discussing his new spiritual autobiography, Hoping Against Hope!


John Caputo is Going Beyond Puerile Religion
Theologian Tony Jones interviews John D. Caputo about his most personal book, Hoping Against Hope.


Review on Bill Tammeus's Faith Matters blog

Review in Publishers Weekly, October 19, 2015:
"Philosopher Caputo (The Weakness of God) fulfills his duties as a self-appointed benevolent iconoclast by challenging believers about their images of God. Utilizing an interesting rhetorical device whereby he consults versions of his past life (known as Jackie and Brother Paul) Caputo attempts to save religion from itself by inviting the faithful to allow mystery to remain mysterious. Attempts to explain or anthropomorphize God have led some to a destructive theology whereby good deeds and avoiding sins are the only ways to achieve a relationship with the divine. Hospitality and love, he demands, are offered as pure gift; there is no why. These are not earned, nor are they dangled in front of us like a carrot for good behavior. The "nihilism of grace" is a phrase he uses to describe a postmodern sense of the utter gratuity of this gift. Caputo draws upon Christian mystics, such as Meister Eckhart, to aid his argument, and he does so convincingly, utilizing the wisdom of this spiritual tradition to forge new paths. For those not afraid to pause and take stock of their assumptions about religion and God's role in it, this work will greatly satisfy."



"In Hoping Against Hope, 'God doesn't exist, God insists,' and God insists with so much love and grace that the omnipotent Daddy you don't really believe in anyway gives up the ghost. But John Caputo's gripping narrative is told with such adventurous honesty and irresistible humor that you don't need to agree with him—you just don't want to stop reading him."

Catherine Keller | author of Cloud of the Impossible

"By helping us reimagine the very way we conceive of religion (without religion), John D. Caputo writes for those of us who live our lives somewhere between belief and doubt yet feel overcome by an unconditional call of love and wonder that will not let us go.""

Phil Snider | senior minister of Brentwood Christian Church, author of Toward a Hopeful Future, and founder of Subverting the Norm

"John Caputo is a triple threat philosopher, and it's all on display in this book: brilliant, witty, and human. In ​Hoping Against Hope you will discover the beating heart of a philosopher, full of passion and set on hope."

Tripp Fuller | founder of Homebrewed Christianity and author of The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to Jesus

Certainly arouses one from one's dogmatic slumbers and makes one think . . .

"John Caputo has a near magical facility with words, finding just the right one to craft and deliver yet another alarming nihilistic punch to my theistic solar plexus. I find myself clutching my increasingly tattered cloak of 'orthodox' belief ever closer around me! He displays a wonderful tapestry of self-contained if ambiguous unconditionality and draws strength and reinvigoration instead of anguish and despair from a complacent acknowledgement that it is all likely to peter out in a cosmic catastrophe.

"I find his remarks about God's insistence very helpful in articulating the pre-philosophical sense of wonder, mystery, mystical, and numinous experiences from which I derive my theistic affirmation. . . . On nearly every page I wanted to write yes or no, impress an exclamation or question mark. The book certainly arouses one from one's dogmatic slumbers and makes one think—albeit rather uneasily. It is a remarkable testament and achievement. I think it is the best thing of his I have read—Augustine, Pascal, Newman, move over."

Patrick Masterson | Retired President, European University Institute, retired President, University College, Dublin

Product Info

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451499155
  • eBook ISBN 9781506401508
  • Brand Theology for the People
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Pages 224
  • Publication Date October 1, 2015