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

by

Eerdmans 2004

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Gathering Interest

Overview

The Beauty of the Infinite is a splendid extended essay in “theological aesthetics.” David Bentley Hart here meditates on the power of a Christian understanding of beauty and sublimity to rise above the violence — both philosophical and literal — characteristic of the postmodern world.

The book begins by tracing the shifting use and nature of metaphysics in the thought of Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Lyotard, Derrida, Deleuze, Nancy, Levinas, and others. Hart pays special attention to Nietzsche’s famous narrative of the “will to power” — a narrative largely adopted by the world today — and he offers an engaging revision (though not rejection) of the genealogy of nihilism, thereby highlighting the significant “interruption” that Christian thought introduced into the history of metaphysics.

This discussion sets the stage for a retrieval of the classic Christian account of beauty and sublimity, and of the relation of both to the question of being. Written in the form of a dogmatica minora, this main section of the book offers a pointed reading of the Christian story in four moments, or parts: Trinity, creation, salvation, and eschaton. Through a combination of narrative and argument throughout, Hart ends up demonstrating the power of Christian metaphysics not only to withstand the critiques of modern and postmodern thought but also to move well beyond them.

Strikingly original and deeply rewarding, The Beauty of the Infinite is both a constructively critical account of the history of metaphysics and a compelling contribution to it.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Surveys historical trends of metaphysical thought
  • Examines the nature of beauty and its place in Christian theology
  • Explores the potential for Christian thought in modern metaphysics

Contents

    Introduction

    • The Question
    • Terms Employed
    • Beauty
    • Final Remarks

    Dionysus against the Crucified

    • The City and the Wastes
    • The Veil of the Sublime
    • The Will to Power
    • The Covenant of Light

    The Beauty of the Infinite

    • Trinity
    • Creation
    • Salvation
    • Eschaton

    Rhetoric without Reserve

    • The War of Persuasions
    • The Violence of Hermeneutics
    • The Optics of the Market
    • The Gift of Martyrs

Praise for the Print Edition

David Bentley Hart has written one of the most thrilling works of Christian reflection to come along in years. . . . This is theology as high adventure, and the excitement continues after the last page is turned.

National Review

I can think of no more brilliant work by an American theologian in the past ten years.

—William C. Placher in The Christian Century

An elegant, erudite treatment of basic themes in Christian theology, metaphysics, and contemporary cultural criticism. David Bentley Hart has written a book that is both radical and orthodox. The Beauty of the Infinite sets the standard for postmodern theology.

—R.R. Reno

David Bentley Hart’s book shows great patristic and philosophical learning. That is rare enough. Still more rare is the book’s compellingly complete theology of beauty. Hart shows that the sublime aesthetic of the market — this age’s chief principality — can be disrupted by (and perhaps only by) the gospel’s radiant beauty. This book makes a major contribution to bringing that disruption about.

—Paul J. Griffiths

Product Details

  • Title: The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth
  • Author: David Bentley Hart
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages:462
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Topic: Philosophy of Religion

About David Bentley Hart

David Bentley Hart is a philosopher, theologian, writer, and cultural commentator who has taught at the University of Virginia, Duke University, and the University of Notre Dame. His other books include A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays and Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, which was awarded the Michael Ramsey Prize in Theology in 2011.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition