Posted by: gcarkner | October 11, 2014

The Genius of David Bentley Hart

David Bentley Hart May One of the Most Brilliant Philosophers Alive Today

David Bentley Hart

He is an editor of First Things Journal, an Eastern Orthodox theologian, philosopher, and cultural commentator. Hart earned his BA from the University of MarylandMPhil from the University of Cambridge, and MA and PhD from the University of Virginia. He has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)Duke Divinity School, and Loyola College in Maryland. He was most recently a visiting professor at Providence College, where he also previously held the Robert J. Randall Chair in Christian Culture. On 27 May 2011, Hart’s book Atheist Delusions was awarded the Michael Ramsey Prize in Theology. As a patristics scholar, Hart is especially concerned with the Greek tradition, with a particular emphasis on Gregory of Nyssa and Maximus the Confessor. His writings on such figures are distinctive in that they are not cast in the mould of typical patristics scholarship; Hart is quite willing, for instance, to use Maximus as a “corrective” to Heidegger’s “history of Being”. The emphasis is very much on ideas and “deep readings”, which seek to wrest from ancient texts insights that might fruitfully be brought into living contact with contemporary questions. Issues of the Scottish Journal of Theology and New Blackfriars have devoted special space to his work.

As a cultural critic, Hart has a brilliant ability to cut to the heart of current debates on God, meaning, the history of faith, aesthetics, and the postmodern condition.

See also his provocative quotes on Naturalism on this Blog

Bibliography

Books

  • The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. New Haven: Yale University Press: 2013. (a brilliant volume which critiques naturalism and promotes a fresh understanding of God).
  • The Devil and Pierre Gernet: Stories. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans: 2012.
  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009. (award winner challenge to historical revisions of Christian influence on Western culture)
  • In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans: 2008.
  • The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith. London: Quercus: 2007.
  • The Doors of the Sea. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans: 2005.
  • The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans: 2003.

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“Late modern society is principally concerned with purchasing things, in ever greater abundance and variety, and so has to strive to fabricate an ever greater number of desires to gratify, and to abolish as many limits and prohibitions upon desire as it can. Such a society is already implicitly atheist and so must slowly but relentlessly apply itself to the dissolution of transcendent values. It cannot allow ultimate goods to distract us from proximate goods. Our sacred writ is advertising, our piety is shopping, our highest devotion is private choice. God and the soul too often hinder the purely acquisitive longings upon which the market depends, and confront us with values that stand in stark rivalry to the only truly substantial value at the center of the social universe: the price tag.”
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“Empiricism in the sciences is a method; naturalism in philosophy is a metaphysics; and the latter neither follows from nor underlies the former.”
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“It is only because a dreamer has temporarily lost the desire to turn his eyes toward more distant horizons that he believes he inhabits a reality perfectly complete in itself, in need of no further explanation. He does not see that this secondary world rests upon no foundations, has no larger story, and persists as an apparent unity only so long as he has forgotten how to question its curious omissions and contradictions.”
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Articles

  • Response to critiques of The Beauty of the Infinite by Francesca Murphy and John A. McGuckin, Scottish Journal of Theology 60 (February 2007): 95-101.
  • “Daniel Dennett Hunts the Snark”First Things 169 (January 2007).
  • Contribution to Theology as Knowledge: A SymposiumFirst Things 163 (May 2006): 21-27.
  • “The Lively God of Robert Jenson”First Things 156 (October 2005): 28-34.
  • “The Anti-Theology of the Body”The New Atlantis 9 (Summer 2005): 65-73.
  • “The Soul of a Controversy”The Wall Street Journal (April 1, 2005).
  • “Tsunami and Theodicy”First Things 151 (March 2005): 6-9.
  • “The Laughter of the Philosophers”First Things 149 (January 2005): 31-38. A review loosely structured around The Humor of Kierkegaard by Thomas C. Oden, containing a long excursus on Johann Georg Hamann.
  • “God or Nothingness” in I Am the Lord Your God: Christian Reflections on the Ten Commandments Carl E. Braaten and Christopher Seitz, eds. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005: 55-76.
  • “The Offering of Names: Metaphysics, Nihilism, and Analogy” in Reason and the Reasons of Faith. Reinhard Hütter and Paul J. Griffiths, eds. London: T. & T. Clark, 2005: 55-76.
  • “Tremors of Doubt”The Wall Street Journal (December 31, 2004). This article was the seed for the book The Doors of the Sea.
  • “Ecumenical Councils of War”Touchstone (November 2004).
  • “The Pornography Culture”The New Atlantis 6 (Summer 2004): 82-89.
  • “Freedom and Decency”First Things 144 (June/July 2004): 35-41.
  • “An Orthodox Easter”The Wall Street Journal (April 9, 2004) (in “Houses of Worship”).
  • “Religion in America: Ancient & Modern”, The New Criterion (March 2004).
  • “A Most Partial Historian”First Things 138 (December 2003): 34-41. A review of Religion and Public Doctrine in Modern England Volume III: Accommodations by Maurice Cowling.
  • “Christ and Nothing”First Things 136 (October 2003): 47-57.
  • “The Bright Morning of the Soul: John of the Cross on Theosis”, Pro Ecclesia (Summer 2003): 324-45.
  • “Thine Own of Thine Own: the Orthodox Understanding of Eucharistic Sacrifice” in Rediscovering the Eucharist: Ecumenical Considerations Roch A. Kereszty, ed. (Paulist Press, 2003): 142-169.
  • “A Gift Exceeding Every Debt: An Eastern Orthodox Appreciation of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo“, Pro Ecclesia 7.3: 333-348.
  • “The Mirror of the Infinite: Gregory of Nyssa on the Vestigia Trinitatis“, Modern Theology 18.4 (October 2002): 542-56
  • “No Shadow of Turning: On Divine Impassibility”, Pro Ecclesia (Spring 2002): 184-206.
  • Contribution to The Future of the Papacy: A SymposiumFirst Things 111 (March 2001): 28-36.
  • “The ‘Whole Humanity’: Gregory of Nyssa’s Critique of Slavery in Light of His Eschatology”, Scottish Journal of Theology 54.1 (2001): 51-69.
  • “Analogy” in Elsevier Concise Encyclopaedia of Religion and Language (Elsevier Press, 2001).
  • “The Writing of the Kingdom: Thirty-Seven Aphorisms towards an Eschatology of the Text”, Modern Theology (Spring 2000): 181-202.
  • “Matter, Monism, and Narrative: An Essay on the Metaphysics of Paradise Lost” Milton Quarterly (Winter 1996): 16-27.

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