John D. Caputo

John D. Caputo
Born October 26, 1940
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Era 20th-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Deconstruction, phenomenology
Main interests
Hermeneutics, ethics, mysticism, theology
Notable ideas
Weak theology
Radical hermeneutics

John D. Caputo (born October 26, 1940) is an American philosopher who is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University. Caputo is a major figure associated with Postmodern Christianity,[1] Continental Philosophy of Religion, as well as the founder of the theological movement known as weak theology. Much of Caputo's work focuses on hermeneutics, phenomenology, deconstruction[2] and theology.


Caputo received his B.A. in 1962 from La Salle University, his M.A. in 1964 from Villanova University and his Ph.D. in philosophy in 1968 from Bryn Mawr College.


Caputo is a specialist in contemporary continental philosophy, with a particular expertise in phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. Over the years, he has developed a deconstructive hermeneutics that he calls radical hermeneutics, which is highly influenced by the thought of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. Additionally, Caputo has developed a distinctive approach to religion that he calls weak theology. Recently, his most important work has been to rebut the charges of relativism made against deconstruction by showing that deconstruction is organized around the affirmation of certain unconditional ethical and political claims.

Caputo has a special interest in continental approaches to the philosophy of religion. Some of the ideas Caputo investigates in his work include the religion without religion of Jacques Derrida; the "theological turn" taken in recent French phenomenology by Jean-Luc Marion and others; the critique of ontotheology; the dialogue of contemporary philosophy with Augustine of Hippo and Paul of Tarsus; and medieval metaphysics and mysticism. In the past, Caputo has taught courses on Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzsche, Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Lévinas, Gilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida.

Positions held

Caputo taught philosophy at Villanova University from 1968 to 2004. He was appointed the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University in 1993. Caputo was the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, where he taught in both the departments of philosophy and religion from 2004 until his retirement in 2011. He is emeritus professor at both Villanova University and Syracuse University and continues to write and lecture in both the United States and Europe. He is active in the American Philosophical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and he chairs the board of editors for the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.

Notable former students of Caputo


See also


  1. Camilleri, René (October 18, 2009). "Reinvent the Church". Times of Malta. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  2. Arlandson, James (April 21, 2007). "The Deconstructed Jesus". American Thinker. Retrieved August 20, 2012.

Online writings


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