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The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 462 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (October 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080282921X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802829214
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A splendid book. . . . Hart’s prose is trenchant but often beautiful." -- Janet Martin Soskice in Times Literary Supplement

"I can think of no more brilliant work by an American theologian in the past ten years." -- William C. Placher in The Christian Century

"This magnificent and demanding volume should establish David Bentley Hart . . . as one of his generation’s leading theologians." -- Geoffrey Wainwright in First Things

About the Author

David Bentley Hart is an Eastern Orthodox theologian who has taught theology at the University of Virginia, the University of St. Thomas, Duke Divnity School, and Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.

More About the Author

David Bentley Hart is the author of several books, including In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments and The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth. He lives in Providence, RI.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Jacob on December 19, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It took me several months to finish this book. Hart argues for getting beauty back as a theological category. Reformed and the more intellectually rigorous evangelicals are the ones who will likely read this book. That is good. Those are the ones--and I am reformed--who need to see beauty in theology. Hart uses the latest vocabulary from postmodern philosophy. the reader is urged patience in this regard. The first section of the book (the first 150 or so pages) is incredibly hard to read. Hart assumes that his readers are intimiately familiar with Nietzsche, Derrida, and Levinas. I wasn't.

Hart argues that the Trinity is the answer to the postmodern problem of *differance.* Where postmoderns see the world--and language--as chaotic and violent because of the inherent difference of reality, Hart sees the Trinity as a sublime answer to differance. The Trinity can accommodate differance because the Trinity can posit a reality that is both diversity without confusion, otherness without violence. This is the hardest part of the book. What Hart is saying is that postmoderns--and most Calvinists, ironically--assume that any difference in reality is necessarily violent. Hart shows how the Trinity solves the problem of linguistic violence.

The rest of the book after that is relatively easy to read. Hart divides his book into Trinity-Creation-Salvation-Eschatology categories. This is where his Eastern Orthodoxy is evident and provides a welcome relief to the strictly judicial categories of the West. The section on salvation literally sang! The last 200 pages were a brilliant tour-de-force.

This book has the potential to re-write American theology. It also can unify across confessional lines without watering the unity down into the usual WCC garbage.
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50 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Happy Buyer on January 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite is a veritable Tour de Force! Like the the great theological masterpieces of old, Dr. Hart draws his readers into what may be called "The Great Conversation," as he displays an easy familiarity with with Christian writings "ever ancient, ever new." According to Dr. Hart, God the Thrice-Holy Trinity reveals and manifests Himself as the all-transcendent Essence of Beauty, and the infinitely potent Energy through, with, and in Whom all creation -- both visible and invisible -- is made beautiful. My recommendation: buy TWO copies -- one for the shelf, and one to keep always within reach ... this one's a modern classic of metaphysics, philosophical theology, and Christian mysticism.

(It is unfortunate, however, that Amazon.com continues to list the paperback as "out of print," when it clearly IS in print, and moreover, quite available. I got my copy at Newman Bookstore in Washington, DC: (202) 526-1036.)
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72 of 98 people found the following review helpful By Bob Swain on October 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book takes on and even takes in to a great extent the work of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and many others in the postmodern lineage and compares them to the likes of Gregory of Nyssa and St. Augustine. In doing so, Hart shows what duffers our "postmoderns" are. Revealing a truly gigantic erudition, Hart does what many Christians have wanted for several decades running now. He shows that our great classical tradition doesn't end with "postmodernism" any more than humanity itself ends just because some teenager decides to dress up as a Goth. Humanity may end for that teenager, but it doesn't end the entire human race or the rest of civilization's covenant with the Almighty. Unless you've read this book, you cannot consider yourself to be educated. Unless you've read this book, you might consider the French and German postmoderns to be truly intelligent. They are symptoms of dying societies that have lost touch with the most profound wisdom and substituted for it some paradoxes that can easily sweep up those who are enthusiastic about minor fads because they lack a broader perspective. David Bentley Hart provides a powerful perspective that will allow genuinely erudite people to regain their culture. I am deeply grateful to him.
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