This has to be one of the most interesting and most difficult books I ve ever encountered. Rowan Williams Says That David Bentley Hart Can Always Be Relied On To Offer A Perspective On The Christian Faith That Is Both Profound And Unexpected The Hidden And The Manifest, A New Collection Of This Brilliant Scholar S Work, Contains Twenty Essays By Hart On Theology And Metaphysics Spanning Hart S Career Both Topically And Over Time, These Essays Cover Such Subjects As The Orthodox Understanding Of Eucharistic Sacrifice The Metaphysics Of Paradise Lost Christianity, Modernity, And Freedom Death, Final Judgment, And The Meaning Of Life And Many I ve read a few of these essays in PDF or HTML form over the past decade, and it s a relief to have them all in one place While there isn t much new material here just a couple shorter essays , this is Hart s first properly academic scholarly publication since 2003 , and thus quite welcome Somehow he managed to publish three volumes of occasional writings in his attempt to be Mencken or Chesterton or whoever before coming out with this volume still, I ll take what I can get Hart is arguably the greatest living theologian despite his faintly absurd writing style and much of the material here is first rate e.g., The Myth of Schism is, I think, the greatest single essay ever written on Catholic Orthodox relations and I ve read a lot of them Highly recommended The Hidden and the Manifest brings together a number of Hart s academic essays from over the years and so demonstrates his intellectual and stylistic range quite well In fact, one of my favorite parts of reading this collection was to feel how much Hart s writing style matured over the years The earlier essays, published in the late 1990s and early 2000s, required of me a genuine discipline of the will to read, comprehend, and appreciate purely on account of their verbal excess, mind you whereas the latest, published in the last few years, are simply delightful, though still properly challenging in other respects For my own interests and theological development, the most valuable essays were those concerned with Trinitarian metaphysics the eponymous essay, The Hidden and the Manifest, as well as The Mirror of the Infinite Gregory of Nyssa and the Vestigia Trinitatis , divine impassibility or apatheia specifically, No Shadow of Turning On Divine Impassibility and eschatology The Whole Humanity Gregory of Nyssa s Critique of Slavery in Light of His Eschatology, and God, Creation, and Evil The Moral Meaning of Creatio Ex Nihilo, which is Hart s most sustained defense of universal salvation, or apokatastasis, to date There was much to be gained from the other essays, of course, but it is in these areas that Hart s most important work is done.Highly recommended to the student of theology. This is an amazing collection of essays DB Hart is probably my favorite theological mind right now, and I love that he is unabashedly committed to classic Christian thought This collection of some difficult and interesting theological discussions is as good I ve read from his since his book, The Beauty of the Infinite A few highlights His essay No Shadow of Turning On Divine Impassibility is an extremely cogent defense of the concept of apatheia as it was developed in the church fathers, against those like Moltmann and Eberhard Jungel who see it as an impersonal or unloving important from Greek philosophy For them, God becomes through suffering passions Instead, Hart argues that apatheia is actually necessary for love love is no primordially a reaction, but the possibility of every action, the transcendent act that makes all ese actual it is purely positive, sufficient in itself, without the need of any galvanism of the negative to be fully active, vital, and creative 57 Ultimately the affirmation of God s impassibility apatheia is also an affirmation that God is truly good, that creation is freely worked and freely loved, that evil and violence and all the cruelties of human history enjoy no metaphysical or divine warrant, but stand under the everlasting damnation of the cross that God simply is the fullness of charity, and so remains as he ever is in creating and redeeming and joining to himself creatures whom he summons into being not out of need, but for the much higher purpose of serving his delight 69 This is perhaps a crystallization of much of Hart s thinking Other highlights include the amazing The Destiny of Christian Metaphysics Reflections on the Analogia Entis, The Mirror of the Infinite Gregory of Nyssa and the Vestigia Trinitatis and really all his essays somehow talk Nyssa , the really incredible The Whole Humanity Gregory of Nyssa s Critique of Slavery in Light of His Eschatology, and probably the best defense of universalism I ve ever read, God, Creation, and Evil the Moral Meaning of Creatio ex Nihilo There s so much in here, so much that makes me want to read so much else His essays are little provocations that spark my theological curiosity and impel me to think deeply about reality What else could you ask for
Hart is an Eastern Orthodox writer and a professor of philosophy and theology He has taught at Duke Divinity School, the University of Virginia, and the University of St Thomas.
- 368 pages
- The Hidden and the Manifest
- David Bentley Hart
- 20 January 2019 David Bentley Hart