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The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth

4.39  ·  Rating Details ·  216 Ratings  ·  27 Reviews
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
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Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 29th 2004 by Eerdmans (first published October 2003)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 904)
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David
May 14, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, philosophy
Like anyone, I enjoy listening to music. I never learned to play an instrument and I don’t really have a critical ear for the skills of musicians. But I have friends who are skilled musicians. We can listen to the same song and because of their understanding of music, they appreciate the song on a different level. I may recognize that it is a good song, but there is a lot more going on than I fully understand.

This is how I feel about David Bentley Hart’s amazing book The Beauty of the Infinite.
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Brent McCulley
Jul 26, 2016 Brent McCulley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This is perhaps one of the most important theological books that I have read in my career, and indeed, it came at a time when I was wrestling with many questions that were pertinent to what Bently Hart himself was exploring. The book itself is divided into three main portions: the first dealing negatively with deconstructing the deconstructionists as it were, such as Focoult, Nietzsche and others. The second portion is his positive contribution of how, simple put, Christian theology is the answe ...more
Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 Jacob Aitken rated it it was amazing
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 a ...more
Stephen Lake
May 02, 2016 Stephen Lake rated it really liked it
An incredible work--I would even dare to say great--if it were not for the pompous prose and some of the most despicable ad hominem I have ever seen in print (and this from someone who truly has seen it all after years of teaching introductory philosophy and logic at the undergrad level). I'm stupefied that Eerdmans ever let some of passages of this book to print.

One reviewer likened it to a symphony. I concur. At its best it is Mahler's Second. At its worst it is Wagnerian opera.
Steven Wedgeworth
Jun 11, 2011 Steven Wedgeworth rated it really liked it
An excellent book that would have been five stars had it enjoyed a stricter editor. Hart is infatuated with himself at points, and so he chooses inaccessibility whenever possible. Still, he's got something that's real in this book.
Toby
Oct 05, 2009 Toby rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
Read this several years ago. It's a tough read, slogging through Hart's rhetoric. And honestly I wish he'd rewrite this in ordinary English, but with that caveat, I really liked it.
Joel
Sep 11, 2011 Joel marked it as read-some
This book was just way too hard for me to read. Maybe someday.
Mac
Aug 03, 2016 Mac rated it it was amazing
Maybe the best modern work of theology I've ever read. Hart's deep engagement with continental philosophers ranging from Heidegger to Foucault is difficult to navigate, especially for non-specialists (like myself), and while I find his style of writing with its half-page sentences and esoteric vocabulary delightfully pretentious, others find it tiresome and frustrating. But the actual content, especially the theological content, of the book is startling in its beauty, power, and profundity. The ...more
John Martindale
Apr 15, 2016 John Martindale is currently reading it
It is foolish for me to try to write, I can't pretend to understand even half of what Hart wrote. But at risk of revealing how stupid I am, I'll mention my impressions so far. (I am now reading the chapter “Trinity”)
Hart seems to be responding to the Nietzschean critique of Christianity, that it is merely a violent struggle of power over others and the Christians concept of God's agape is thus a fiction. Part of the answer thus far is the Apatheia (impassibility) of God, Hart writes “The Trinit
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Tom
Jun 28, 2008 Tom rated it it was amazing
Wow. This guy can write. He's got extra horse-power for a brain. Some kinda intellect. Impressive. A treatise on beauty and truth (Trinity, Christology, Creation, and Salvation). Amazing.

I thought Dallas Willard was a slow read, but Hart is 100x worse. Have a 10 lbs dictionary beside you when you read You'll need it. Deep. Rich. Difficult. But rewarding. I still haven't decided just what I think about Eastern Orthodoxy's core beliefs. Sometimes they make me shout for job. Other times they tick m
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Leigh McLeroy
Jul 20, 2016 Leigh McLeroy rated it really liked it
I just recently discovered this author and look forward to reading more of his work.
Duane Alexander Miller Botero
Hart, an Orthodox theologian from America, takes on the metaphysical aesthetic of paganism, which includes almost everyone except for a few Christians. Paganism reached its apogee under Nietzsche, and its defining characteristic is that the infinite is disorderly. Christianity posits that the infinite is good and that its form is peace.
Colleen
May 03, 2012 Colleen rated it liked it
Really good book. . .the reason I gave it three stars is because of it's difficulty. This book is written for academics, theologians and philosophers, not for 'regular people'. Knowledge of latin, greek and german would be helpful as well as a thorough understanding of modern philosophy. I struggled.
Patrick
Dec 06, 2015 Patrick rated it really liked it
Very heavy reading, and without a deep grasp of continental and postmodern philosophy the majority of what Hart is saying will be missed (as in my case). Nevertheless, sections on creation and the Trinity are beautiful and stunning.
William Randolph
Aug 24, 2008 William Randolph rated it it was amazing
I was reading above my level with this one, but it was great all the same. As a non-theologian, I am not exactly competent to review this well, but if I write any reflections elsewhere I'll try to remember to post them here.
Donna
Mar 19, 2016 Donna rated it it was amazing
I do not pretend to have understood everything the author was saying. However, this book led me into heartfelt worship of God with the trippy, rhapsodic passages and unique perspectives.
Charles
Nov 15, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing
A book of stunning brilliance. Reveals how classical Christian dogma (in both its ancient and contemporary expressions) casts amazing light on virtually all of our modern concerns.
Clare Cannon
Nov 09, 2014 Clare Cannon marked it as goodreadingguide-com
Looks good, but need a theological expert to review @ www.GoodReadingGuide.com
David Bentley Hart is an Eastern Orthodox theologian.
Allyne
Oct 27, 2008 Allyne rated it really liked it
This is a difficult read; it helps to have a good background in Continental philosophy. But it repays careful reading.
Jonathan
Jan 25, 2010 Jonathan rated it liked it
The introductory chapters of this book are wonderful...the body of the book, not so much.
Michael
Jul 29, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
this is going to take a while, and i'm going to need a good dictionary.
David Mosley
May 20, 2013 David Mosley rated it it was amazing
Last read:
2012 (17 September-2 October)
2013 (5-20 May)
Andrew Boyle
Feb 26, 2012 Andrew Boyle rated it it was amazing
Very impressive achievement.
Daniel
Jun 10, 2012 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
This is a test review.
Dennis
Jul 25, 2009 Dennis rated it it was amazing
A difficult read but quite worthwhile. It is a brilliant approach to Christian aesthetics and helpful in its response to the postmodern critique of Christianity. It is profoundly insightful but bring a high-power dictionary - and possibly a few foreign language dictionaries.
David Phelps
Feb 04, 2012 David Phelps rated it it was amazing
Genius.
Aristocles Invictvs
Aristocles Invictvs marked it as to-read
Sep 19, 2016
Thomas
Thomas marked it as to-read
Sep 18, 2016
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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.
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“God's pleasure--the beauty creation possesses in his regard--underlies the distinct being of creation, and so beauty is the first and truest word concerning all that appears within being; beauty is the showing of what is; God looked upon what he had wrought and saw that it was good.” 10 likes
“God's love, and hence the love with which we come to love God, is eros and agape at once: a desire for the other that delights in the distance of otherness.” 5 likes
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