It Spooks

John Caputo and respondents, It Spooks, (Rapid City, SD: Shelter 50 Publishing, 2015)

Caputo - It Spooks
This delightful volume is essentially an extended essay by John Caputo with responses in poetry, visual arts, and essays by a host of other contributors. The initial essay is a bit dense, and it took me a couple of readings to be confident that I was following Caputo's line of reasoning. It is classic deconstruction - a bit of deja vu for those of us who remember the "God is dead" conversations of the late 20th century. The argument is that if you can describe it, or incorporate it into an institution, what the "it" is must be something other than God, who remains wholly other. "Spook" seems to be a preferable word for Caputo than Spirit or Ghost, but essentially, it is a concept that has been a part of Christian history from its earliest roots.

Part of the joy of the book is the intellectual stimulation of philosophical ideas without any arguments that even come close to threatening my core beliefs. Part of the joy is the striking visual presentation. Ideas that are far from black and white presented in a black and white format make for a poetic impression. Unlike many anthologies, each contributor is introduced to us in a very clever format that gets us to engage the contributors more deeply.

Another joy of the book is the delightful contribution, near the end of the book, by Catherine Keller, who responds in the form of a letter to John Caputo with responses, questions and comments on differences and gaps in Caputo's logic. The effect of making these two essays the bookends of the collection of essays is to give the overall impression of being in the midst of an ongoing conversation. It is my hunch that there could easily be a second volume - perhaps a volume of conversations between Caputo and Keller.