The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth

Front Cover
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Oct 29, 2004 - Philosophy - 448 pages
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.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

I cried.
Firstly because it was so difficult to read.
Secondly, because when I finally understood it, it was some of hte most beautiful theology I've ever read. 

Selected pages

Contents

CREATION
249
2 As God is Trinity in whom all difference is possessed as perfect peace and unity the divine life might be described as infinite music and creation too...
274
3 As God utters himself eternally in his Word and possesses all the fullness of address and response and as creation belongs to Gods utterance of hims...
289
SALVATION I Salvation occurs by way of recapitulation the restoration of the human image in Christ the eternal image of the Father after whom hu...
318
sacrifice as the immolation of the beautiful is displaced by a sacrifice whose offering is one of infinite beauty
344
ESCHATON
395
Rhetoric without Reserve Persuasion the Tyranny of Twilight and the Language of Peace
413
THE VIOLENCE OF HERMENEUTICS
417

The Beauty of the Infinite
153
TRINITY
155
2 The Christian understanding of difference and distance is shaped by the doctrine of the Trinity where theology finds that the true form of differenc...
178
3 In the Christian God the infinite is seen to be beautiful and so capable of being traversed by way of the beautifuL
187
4 The infinite is beautiful because God is Trinity and because all being belongs to Gods infinity a Christian ontology appears and properly belongs w...
211
THE OPTICS OF THE MARKET
431
THE GIFT OF MARTYRS
439
Index
445
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 395 - The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones. And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
Page 211 - I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. 'Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
Page 345 - Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not ; for I am not yet ascended to my Father ; but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father ; and to my God and your God.
Page 289 - The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.
Page 318 - Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners ; so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Page 289 - For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Page 345 - For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh : how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God...
Page 274 - For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in- his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
Page 274 - And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia : for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Page 395 - For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: And the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: For, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.

About the author (2004)

nbsp;David Bentley Hartnbsp;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 includenbsp;The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth;nbsp;A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays; andnbsp;Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies, which was awarded the Michael Ramsey Prize in Theology in 2011.

Bibliographic information