David Bentley Hart

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David Bentley Hart
Born1965 (age 54–55)
NationalityAmerican
Scholarly background
Alma mater
ThesisBeauty, Violence, and Infinity[2] (1997)
Influences
Scholarly work
DisciplineTheology
Sub-discipline
School or traditionEastern Orthodoxy
Notable worksAtheist Delusions (2009)

David Bentley Hart (born 1965) is an American philosopher and theologian whose work encompasses a wide range of subjects and genres. A prolific essayist, he has written on topics as diverse as art, literature, religion, philosophy, film, baseball, and politics. He is also an author of fiction.

As a religious scholar, his work engages heavily with classical, medieval and continental European philosophy, philosophical and systematic theology, patristic texts, and South and East Asian culture, religion, and metaphysics. His translation of the New Testament was published in 2017.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Academic career[edit]

Hart earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, his Master of Philosophy degree from the University of Cambridge, and his Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Virginia.[4] He has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota), Duke Divinity School, and Loyola College in Maryland. He served as visiting professor at Providence College, where he also previously held the Robert J. Randall Chair in Christian Culture. During the 2014–2015 academic year, Hart was Danforth Chair at Saint Louis University in the Department of Theological Studies. In 2015, he was appointed as Templeton Fellow at the University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Hart is a convert from high-church Anglicanism to Eastern Orthodoxy. Politically, he identifies as a Christian socialist[6] as well as a democratic socialist[7][8] and is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.[9]

Literary writing[edit]

Noted for his distinctive, humorous, pyrotechnic and often combative prose style,[10][11][12] Hart has been described by the conservative writer Matthew Walther as "our greatest living essayist".[13] He has written essays on subjects as varied as Don Juan, Vladimir Nabokov, Charles Baudelaire, Victor Segalen, Leon Bloy, William Empson, David Jones, and baseball.[14] Two of his books, A Splendid Wickedness and The Dream-Child's Progress, are collections devoted to non-theological essays. They also include several short stories.

In 2012, The Devil and Pierre Gernet, a collection of his fiction, was released by Eerdmans.[15] His short stories have been described as "Borgesian"[16] and are elaborate metaphysical fables, full of wordplay, allusion, and structural puzzles.

Awards and reception[edit]

Hart's first major work, The Beauty of the Infinite, an adaptation of his doctoral thesis, received acclaim from the theologians John Milbank, Janet Soskice, and Reinhard Hütter. William Placher said of the book, "I can think of no more brilliant work by an American theologian in the past ten years."[17] Geoffrey Wainwright said, "This magnificent and demanding volume should establish David Bentley Hart, around the world no less than in North America, as one of his generation's leading theologians."[18]

On 27 May 2011, Hart's book Atheist Delusions was awarded the Michael Ramsey Prize in Theology,[19] and was praised by the agnostic philosopher Anthony Kenny: “Hart has the gifts of a good advocate. He writes with clarity and force, and he drives his points home again and again. He exposes his opponents’ errors of fact or logic with ruthless precision.”[20]

Oliver Burkeman, writing in The Guardian, praised Hart's book The Experience of God as "the one theology book all atheists really should read".[21]

Selected bibliography[edit]

Books[edit]

  • The Mystery of Castle MacGorilla. With Patrick Robert Hart. New York: Angelico Press. 2019.
  • That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 2019.
  • The New Testament: A Translation. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 2017.
  • The Hidden and the Manifest: Essays in Theology and Metaphysics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 2017.
  • The Dream-Child's Progress and Other Essays. New York: Angelico Press. 2017.
  • A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans: 2016.
  • The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press: 2013.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Translations[edit]

  • The New Testament: A Translation. Yale University Press: 2017.
  • Erich Przywara, Analogia Entis: Metaphysics: Original Structure and Universal Rhythm. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans: 2014. In collaboration with John R. Betz.

Articles[edit]

Book reviews[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Placher, William C. (September 7, 2004). "God's Beauty". The Christian Century. Vol. 121 no. 18. Chicago. p. 42. ISSN 0009-5281. Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  2. ^ Hart, David Bentley (1997). Beauty, Violence, and Infinity: A Question Concerning Christian Rhetoric (PhD thesis). Charlottesville, Virginia: University of Virginia. OCLC 68963111.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-05-30. Retrieved 2018-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ What disciplines are Dr. Hart’s degrees in? "David Bentley Hart". The Berkley Center - Georgetown University. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  5. ^ "David Bentley Hart". Notre Dame - Institute for Advanced Study. Archived from the original on 16 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
  6. ^ https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/three-cheers-socialism
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-09-02. Retrieved 2018-08-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ https://www.facebook.com/dbhartwriter/posts/1094016380751517
  9. ^ https://www.facebook.com/720442008108958/posts/a-brief-political-confessionforgive-me-for-stepping-out-from-behind-the-curtain-/1094016380751517/
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 2018-07-29.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ Placher, William C. (6 September 2004). "God's Beauty". The Christian Century. Archived from the original on 12 November 2018. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". www.eerdmans.com. Eerdmans. Archived from the original on 2018-02-01. Retrieved 2018-01-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Winner of £10,000 Theology Prize Announced". The Archbishop of Canterbury. May 2011. Archived from the original on 4 July 2012. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  20. ^ www.amazon.com. The Times Literary Supplement https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E64EH0K?_encoding=UTF8&isInIframe=1&n=133140011&ref_=dp_proddesc_0&s=digital-text&showDetailProductDesc=1#iframe-wrapper. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Burkeman, Oliver. "The one theology book all atheists really should read". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.

External links[edit]