“The Siren Song of the Secular” by James K. A. Smith: How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor

Tuesday, 05 Jul 2016

Eerdmans, 2014; 160 pages (paperback), $16.00 In graduate school, one of my professors made a connection between two mythological figures who encounter the sirens on separate occasions. When passing the sirens on his voyage home, Odysseus has his crew plug their ears and tie him to the mast, thereby avoiding the enchanting song. Orpheus, however, is a musician, and instead of struggling against the sirens’ music, he simply sings a better song, thereby enchanting them. Songs are stories put to music, and James Smith’s How (Not) to Be Secular, a 2014 guidebook to Charles Taylor’s 2007 <...

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