Author Topic: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble  (Read 2638 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #45 on: October 01, 2016, 09:22:45 PM »
I read the whole article. So, is Hart's main point is that all Christians should become monks/nuns, like the Desert Fathers?

No, I do not think so. If you are young without a lot of resources, this article is probably less relevant for you. It is something that I think about a lot and I more or less came to the same conclusion. This is why I am inquiring in this thread. My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying

Offline Cognomen

  • Ungrateful Biped
  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,112
  • Faith: Orthodox Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Wanderer, but Antioch and All the East
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #46 on: October 01, 2016, 11:17:39 PM »
My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Although not the focus of the article, would you be as inclined to support an argument in favor of taking other statements of Christ more seriously? As mentioned in the article, these demands also included "that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead"? Or are these, along with the open and aggressive proselytizing advocated by Christ, safe to be interpreted hyperbolically?

For clarification, I'm not accusing you of picking and choosing. I'm generally curious, even if I know that myself and many others tend to defend certain tenets more than others.

I'm also not trying to imply that your perspective on this is wrong.
If anything I have posted has been illuminating, please remember that I merely reflect the light of others...but also it's me.

Offline nothing

  • Deplorable Lives Matter
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,293
  • Americanism, Not Globalism, Will Be Our Credo
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #47 on: October 01, 2016, 11:54:34 PM »
My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Although not the focus of the article, would you be as inclined to support an argument in favor of taking other statements of Christ more seriously? As mentioned in the article, these demands also included "that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead"? Or are these, along with the open and aggressive proselytizing advocated by Christ, safe to be interpreted hyperbolically?

For clarification, I'm not accusing you of picking and choosing. I'm generally curious, even if I know that myself and many others tend to defend certain tenets more than others.

I'm also not trying to imply that your perspective on this is wrong.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell.
This post was paidtaxed forby the Silent Majority.

“I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.” - President Trump

Offline Justin Kolodziej

  • St. John from the Lindisfarne Gospels
  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 618
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Metropolis of Atlanta
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2016, 12:19:17 AM »
My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Although not the focus of the article, would you be as inclined to support an argument in favor of taking other statements of Christ more seriously? As mentioned in the article, these demands also included "that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead"? Or are these, along with the open and aggressive proselytizing advocated by Christ, safe to be interpreted hyperbolically?

For clarification, I'm not accusing you of picking and choosing. I'm generally curious, even if I know that myself and many others tend to defend certain tenets more than others.

I'm also not trying to imply that your perspective on this is wrong.
If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to depart into hell.
Really think about this one though...can anyone really truly say "My right eye/hand made me do it!"? Or is it the will/heart that needs to be cut off and thrown away? And furthermore there is a promise that he will break hearts of stone and give them natural hearts....
Abbâ Anthony received a revelation in the desert, saying, “In such and such a city there is a man who resembleth thee; he is a physician, and he worketh and giveth whatsoever he earneth to the poor and needy, and each day he, with the angels, ascribeth holiness to God three times a day.”

May the Lord help me to become even a little bit like that guy.

Offline Porter ODoran

  • Avid apokatastisist
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,516
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #49 on: October 02, 2016, 01:23:12 AM »
Fascinating to see Christ making so many posters so uncomfortable.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #50 on: October 02, 2016, 01:57:28 AM »
My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Although not the focus of the article, would you be as inclined to support an argument in favor of taking other statements of Christ more seriously? As mentioned in the article, these demands also included "that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead"? Or are these, along with the open and aggressive proselytizing advocated by Christ, safe to be interpreted hyperbolically?

For clarification, I'm not accusing you of picking and choosing. I'm generally curious, even if I know that myself and many others tend to defend certain tenets more than others.

I'm also not trying to imply that your perspective on this is wrong.

First, I want to thank you for your kindness. I am glad that you are  posting again. In regard to your questions:

1) "that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake", I have not had to deal with that situation. My parents were saintly and were a good example of what it is to be Orthodox Christians. It is their Christ-centered example that is at play rather than a conflict.  I also love my brother and sister dearly and I hope God does as well.

2) "leave the dead to bury the dead", I know the phrase, I never reflected on the meaning. Is it important?

I am leaving it here, because I started to speculate what this world could have been, which, in retrospect, seems inappropriate.
"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying

Offline nothing

  • Deplorable Lives Matter
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,293
  • Americanism, Not Globalism, Will Be Our Credo
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #51 on: October 02, 2016, 02:17:47 AM »
Fascinating to see Christ making so many posters so uncomfortable.
Or perhaps one is too comfortable to where everything Christ says becomes a banality. As Opus succinctly stated, we should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others which means making our lives uncomfortable.

If you aren't being struck, feel uneasy and at times utterly terrified with what you read in the New Testament then I seriously have to wonder if you are taking it seriously. Most Christians gloss over what they don't like and dismiss whatever they think is untenable in their lives. I can count on one hand how many Christians I've met that fit the NT description, they're easy to spot because they are incongruous in a shocking and striking way.

Maybe you are totally comfortable with everything Christ says but I find that hard to believe since what we want is just the opposite of what Christ preaches.

Perhaps my folly is I would rather live in extremes, all or nothing. Otherwise what's the point of becoming a Christian, why the gospel? Follow one or two of Christ's commandments, say some prayers here and there, maybe be a nicer person overall, is that it? That's not a life that's worth living.
This post was paidtaxed forby the Silent Majority.

“I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.” - President Trump

Offline byhisgrace

  • AOCB
  • Site Supporter
  • OC.net guru
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,224
  • Memory Eternal to my Younger Brother
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOARCH
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #52 on: October 02, 2016, 11:18:42 AM »

No, I do not think so. If you are young without a lot of resources, this article is probably less relevant for you. It is something that I think about a lot and I more or less came to the same conclusion. This is why I am inquiring in this thread. My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Thanks for the response, Opus :)

But what does that look like, practically speaking? Should one stay in their current job position and not actively seek a promotion or a better paying job? Should one only buy the cheapest house they can find, without any consideration of quality? Should one give money to every begger who passes by, without discretion about whether they might be faking it or will spend the money on drugs? Should one donate so much money to the Church, charity programs, etc., that s/he doesn't have even a dime to spend on travel, entertainment, or leisure activities?
Oh Holy Apostle, St. John, pray for us

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #53 on: October 02, 2016, 07:01:02 PM »

No, I do not think so. If you are young without a lot of resources, this article is probably less relevant for you. It is something that I think about a lot and I more or less came to the same conclusion. This is why I am inquiring in this thread. My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Thanks for the response, Opus [emoticon removed out of principle]

But what does that look like, practically speaking? Should one stay in their current job position and not actively seek a promotion or a better paying job? Should one only buy the cheapest house they can find, without any consideration of quality? Should one give money to every begger who passes by, without discretion about whether they might be faking it or will spend the money on drugs? Should one donate so much money to the Church, charity programs, etc., that s/he doesn't have even a dime to spend on travel, entertainment, or leisure activities?

These are good questions, some of which were thread topics previously. But as a wishy-washy liberal, I think you should just start with what you are comfortable with and  be open to evolving your positions.

Quote
But what does that look like, practically speaking? Should one stay in their current job position and not actively seek a promotion or a better paying job?

I have no experience in this. I have been in academia all of my life with the exception of summer factory jobs to pay for my undergraduate education (back when most of those jobs were unionized and you could earn enough to pay for the 9 month academic year).  My answer is that you should either find a job that is rewarding in an of itself (my situation) or a job that will maximize your potential to do good works (for family, friends and and strangers).

Quote
Should one only buy the cheapest house they can find, without any consideration of quality?

In my opinion: the cheapest house after figuring out the downstream cost during the next ten years. If you are comparing a used house for 180K with issues and a new house for 200K but further away from where you work, then go for the new house.

Quote
Should one give money to every begger who passes by, without discretion about whether they might be faking it or will spend the money on drugs?

My policy is yes, but others I respect on this forum say no.


Quote
Should one donate so much money to the Church, charity programs, etc., that s/he doesn't have even a dime to spend on travel, entertainment, or leisure activities?

I do not go that far. I go camping every year. I have always purchased the cheapest computer when it became necessary for a new one, starting with a pre-order for the Commodore 64 (which was a lot more expensive than laptops now), I do not own a smart phone as it is redundant,  I religiously clip grocery coupons and only use them when they become cheaper than generic brands, I only buy clothes when they are tattered beyond use and I shop at go Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Burlington Coat Factory, Big Lots, Grocery Outlet, Ross for Less, etc.  I purchased a freezer to take advantage of sales and a meat grinder to make my own ground chicken and sausages at half (or more) of the cost at major Grocery store chains. I also smoke and I make my own cigarettes with a inter-compatible, non-taxed, pipe tobacco and tubes at a quarter of the cost of the cheapest retail cigarette.

I have always been a cheapskate.

That being said, I will gladly pay retail for the arts: concerts, opera, plays, because I think it is worthwhile. And you also may need to broaden your cultural perspective both in the classical arts and in the culinary arts.

"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying

Offline sheep100

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 56
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #54 on: October 02, 2016, 08:56:26 PM »
Fascinating to see Christ making so many posters so uncomfortable.

O righteous one show us the way! How much money should I give you?

Offline William T

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,964
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2016, 03:36:01 AM »
Christians existed in all sorts of stripes in the pre-Constantine days. One can get a glimpse of them through the works of Tertullian and Cyprian. The former denounced Christian Roman soldiers for merely accepting the crown laurels for their outstanding duty on the battlefield. The latter was mad because many of his flock would eat food from public feasts. Unlike Tertullian and Cyprian, these Christians weren't rabble rousers. However, both considered these actions a betrayal of faith. But is that truly so?

As for David Bentley Hart, I now have the impression that he is supremely overrated and needlessly obfuscating. He has a tendency to be dismissive without explanation, in particular of Analytic Philosophy and of New Atheism. I sympathize greatly with this antipathy towards the latter, but the problem is that he never explains why he disdains it in any great detail. He just says their arguments are stupid in a rhetorical prose that oozes swag. But after the brief period of enthrallment is over with his rhetoric, one quickly realizes that he either doesn't have much of anything of deep substance to say on many issues, or he just wants to wax on and on in the hopes you'll buy his books. I've taken a gander at his books from the library, nothing too deep. But I was profoundly shocked that he gave so few devoted pages to the New Atheists in his book, Atheist Delusions. Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, and Dawkins are barely mentioned. I say this because in his lectures on the subject he talks about them a lot, and then says for deeper arguments look at his book. Not impressed at all.

1)  The title of that book was't Hart's choice but was done after completion by the publisher.  So that's why Hitchens and co are only sparsely mentioned.

2)I'm with you on what I think the make up of the early Christians were, not that it matters as in spite of my first degree being related to Mediterranean history, I am not an expert on the subject and can only tell you what secular history books and Church types have told me.  Even there, I can't out -interpret or out source a cocksure philosopher with an ax to grind, that is an impossible task. 

But I do wonder if this is indicitive a kind of problem with many philosophers today and the way we get shown their ideas and polemics. Are they stuck in a crazy jargon plagued dialogue with each other, but are they actually saying something innocuous that we all know (why bring in Marxist analysis, why talk about Capitalism at all, why quote Proudhon, why use an anachronistic phrase like "early christian communism", why mention the fact that you read the NT in Greek when most theologians have and most Orthodox have heard the Bible in multiple languages and Ancient Greek is far from obscure, And we can ask many many more questions).  I don't think I should be required to follow his line of logic, nor be dismissed because I don't have three PHD's following the dialogues he is so twisted up on if that is the case.  As someone in the medical field, I don't get upset if I am trying to communicate with someone and they don't know medical shop talk....that would be silly, yet the philosopher doesn't seem to have that filter.  And if I'm not his target audience, and it's just an insular academic community having a go at things, fine...but I would appreciate it if they had filters from keeping it spilling over to us, as that does have consequences.

Overall I think his work is better than most people from his discipline.  I'd like to think it's because Orthodoxy and maybe Catholicism or most Xtianity / sane religions in general keep philosophers in check.  Which probably explains why so many philosophers who flirt with it start off well and good, but end up blowing a gasket at some point.  I tend to compare Hart to an even more restrained Bredyaev, good if not excellent in some areas but he can get annoying quick, it should really not be one's bread and butter. 

And I also agree, when you first see him hit a target (one happens to dislike) it's not too bad, even mildly amusing, but as he continues on it starts to really grate on your nerves...especially when you realize he almost seems to be on such a hipster jeremaid against "mainstream Christians" and the entire world outside of a thin line of "the elite cool kids" throughout Christianity....it almost sounds like one of those radical reformation views of Christianity.  But that's OK, he is a Christian universalist, so as he damns us all, we are condemned to the universal salvation he logically deduced from his premises.

3) Is he in a polemical debate and we are just taking everything out of context?  It seems the two journals he wrote in are highly polemical, and in his series of posts one person who responded to him is part of an organization that is ideologically based around what we would think of as actual factual capitalism (but still why respond with Marxist analysis, seriously capitalism vs marxism sounds like a juvenile high school debate).  If this is the case, along with learning the logic, twists and turns of moribund philo-speak  The series of articles is not for a general reader, and ought be discarded from most of our minds.  The target audience is a technical audience, so they ought just talk it out amongst each other.

4)  I don't know what his deal is with analytic philosophy.  Why this guy would rather read Hegel than Quine is beyond me. Whatever faults analytic philosophy (and to brush off this topic so broadly is a crime) may have it does try to understand it's limits and is a lot less susceptible to titanic hubris and sweeping generilzations.  It's also going to be less prone to abstracting people and creating stark camps and divisions.

If we look at Hart's influences it may show why he thinks the way he does.  His philosopher is exclusively Plato and the neo Platonics.  He seems almost exclusively driven, and at the expense of everything else, to very allegorical Church fathers like St. Gregory of Nyssa*, Bredyaev, and now extremely monastic cloisters. This may show why his thought process has increasingly shown itself to take the direction it has.

*and he took this to the point in where he was livid Origen wasn't a saint and Holy Father, and Justinian was the devil, and the 5th Ecumenical council ought be outright condemned to the flames
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 04:07:31 AM by William T »

Online Mor Ephrem

  • "Mor has a huge ego"
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,812
  • We are all Gustavito!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #56 on: October 03, 2016, 01:35:32 PM »
William, do you actually dispute anything regarding DBH's characterization of the early Christian community? I thought the broad outline he provided is pretty generally accepted...

Is it, though? 

I read the article in the OP and it doesn't seem to address


I did not find your argument convincing and perhaps you can expand your rebuttal accordingly:

My post wasn't an argument per se, more like a criticism of Hart's argument.  But what the heck, let's try this. 

Quote
Quote
a) the existence of references to Jesus' wealthy followers who remain wealthy, such as the women in Lk 8.1-3 who seem to be giving a bit more than two mites here and there if they're providing the means for thirteen men to travel all over Palestine, or more certainly Joseph of Arimathea (whom Matthew describes as a rich man) and Nicodemus (who, according to John's description, was able to buy an insane and probably unnecessary amount of burial supplies on short notice);

This is an interpretation and a highly speculative one.

No more speculative than Hart.

Quote
The only possible rich person in the first phrase above is Saint Joanna and it is not clear to me that she, in particular, had access to a lot of money. Her husband Chuza possibly, but not necessarily in liquid assets.

So what?  The passage says the women provided for Jesus (and the disciples) out of their means (RSV).  Other translations will substitute "possessions", "resources", "property", or "substance" for "means".  Whether or not they "had access to a lot of money", they had access to financial resources which they could use as they pleased. 

Contrast that to Hart's unambiguous statement:

Quote
To be a follower of the Way was to renounce every claim to private property and to consent to communal ownership of everything (Acts 4:32). Barnabas, on becoming a Christian, sold his field and handed over all the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:35)—though Ananias and Sapphira did not, with somewhat unfortunate consequences. 

(My emphases.) 

Quote
Is Chuza the "insider" in regard to the trial and crucifixion of Christ? There must have been one. The criticism in any case is that she committed all of her resources to Christ early on and was a safe haven for preserving those resources for contingencies.

Where are you getting this? 

Quote
The same would apply to Arimathea and Nicodemus.  Wells Fargo was not providing unasked for bank accounts back then.

I'm not sure what Wells Fargo has to do with anything.  Matthew 27.57 specifically refers to Joseph of Arimathea as a rich man.  I'm not sure the NT describes Nicodemus in similar terms, but, like Joseph, he was an elder of Israel (not sure how many of those were broke) and was able to buy a huge and probably unnecessary amount of burial supplies on short notice on one of the busiest days of the year in a crowded city.  It's not unreasonable to suppose he was also wealthy.

Again, contrast that with Hart's focus on Acts 4-5 as "the Christian way".   

Quote
Quote
b) the existence of house churches, which implies (to me, anyway) Christians who own property that is their own and open it up to the use of the community without necessarily turning it into a commune (e.g., Philemon, who apparently has a guest room ready for Paul's use);

I do not get this comment at all. I do not think that Christ was demanding people to be homeless and without shelter in order to become sick sleeping in the rain.

That's cute, but beside the point.  It's still a matter of someone possessing private property which he uses as he pleases vs Hart's idea that this is not "the Christian way". 

I can't recall whether Christ ever demanded people be homeless.  But he did tell his apostles not to take money with them on their journeys and to stay with the first people who receive them into their homes in any given place, eating and drinking what they offer.  This implies that some disciples are expected to have property, if not as a divine command, then certainly as a fact of life.  How they use that property becomes something about which they can be judged, but "sell it all or die" is not the only option. 

Quote
If you have a room to spare you give it up. Philemon may have at that time had space or moved someone out to another house to make room for St. Paul.

Again, "if you have a room to spare" shouldn't be an option under Hart's understanding of Christianity.  You shouldn't have a room to spare.  You probably shouldn't have a room at all, except perhaps in some sort of commune. 

Regarding what Philemon may have done for St Paul, we have two options based on your idea:

a) Philemon had extra space, which means he had property which he wasn't putting at the disposal of the Church except on occasion as he deemed appropriate; or
b) Philemon didn't have extra space, and so he decided to kick someone out to make room for St Paul, and St Paul was OK with that.

Neither is satisfying. 

Quote
Quote
c) Paul's collection for the Christians of Jerusalem, for which he instructs each of his Corinthian converts to give "as he may prosper" (which is not exactly "sell everything like Barnabas or die like Ananias and Sapphira");

I did not understand this statement.

What exactly don't you understand?  Paul's instructions to the Corinthians imply "giving what one can", while Hart's understanding of Acts 4-5 is a total renunciation of private property.  "Giving what one can" is less than that. 

Quote
Quote
d) Paul's own ownership of property (e.g., cloaks, books, parchments) which he asks others to bring to him rather than, say, living strictly according to the Lord's teaching recorded in places like Mt 10.9;  and possibly other counterexamples.

Are you saying that St. Paul refused to share his cloaks, books, parchments? I am not sure I understand this.

I'm saying Paul owned stuff, whereas Jesus tells the apostles not to acquire money or to have extra clothes on their missionary journeys.  This contradiction shouldn't be the case if Hart is right. 

I don't know much about Hart, but I do think he overstated his argument, which, oddly enough, was supposedly based on a close reading of Scripture.     

Quote
My do not understand replies reflects the fact that I did not have the time to look up what you are writing about, at least in part.

By all means, please read Holy Scripture when you can. 
“Miserable Greece was counting on a restored Holy Mount Athos to promote the godless European Union.”

Archimandrite Gregory, Abbot of Docheiariou

Offline William T

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,964
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #57 on: October 03, 2016, 01:53:10 PM »
To be a follower of the Way was to renounce every claim to private property and to consent to communal ownership of everything (Acts 4:32). Barnabas, on becoming a Christian, sold his field and handed over all the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:35)—though Ananias and Sapphira did not, with somewhat unfortunate consequences.

Some of the issues I found more perplexing is that he started defending Pope Francis' (and by his own admission Pope Benedict and JPII) discussion on these things and defended things like owning property, being in a business, making money, west Virginia coal miners as a "propertied but poor class",  THEN he talks about economic systems involvement in the whole of society, then he denounces property (using two very specific, very secular critiques) and all wealth as intrinsically evil, and seems to imply that secular/scientific thinking of economic systems do but don't matte . On top of that he calls some readings "very clear" (which they really aren't to me), while relativizing, nuancing, or, trivializing other things that to me seem very clear.  Moreover, I think one can come up pretty quickly with a pretty reasonable pedigree that shows the Fathers views of things like avarice or whatever is very concerned with spiritual consequences, and things like economic systems really could be viewed as secondary and a bit superfiial.  The fact that this can be argued pretty soundly ought not come as a shocker.

It seems he is at once shifting positions and contradicting himself, or he just doesn't care.  Either that, or he is involved in a very specific debate with a very specific group of people, as I noted earlier the three sites in question seem like hard line polemical sites. 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 01:57:35 PM by William T »

Online Mor Ephrem

  • "Mor has a huge ego"
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,812
  • We are all Gustavito!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #58 on: October 03, 2016, 05:20:15 PM »
Oh look...

Quote
In a recent article in Commonweal, “Christ’s Rabble: The First Christians Were Not Like Us,” Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart has doubled down on his controversial claims about the Christian view of wealth and poverty. He claims, like a caricature of the Protestants he unfairly dismisses, that the New Testament is on his side because he can read it in Greek. Well, so can I, and so can basically every theologian who has ever disagreed with Hart’s position. Fluency in Greek does not make one an authority on the New Testament or early Christianity.

The poverty of Hart’s hermeneutic can be seen by examining the sparsely substantiated claims he makes about the earliest Christians. Hart believes that “the New Testament … condemns great personal wealth not merely as a moral danger, but as an intrinsic evil.” Hart dismisses every New Testament qualification of this claim as being countered by a more absolute reading of other passages that has apparently escaped all other Christian readers for the last 2,000 years. In reality, Hart’s view cannot be found among early Christians.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/10/17950/
“Miserable Greece was counting on a restored Holy Mount Athos to promote the godless European Union.”

Archimandrite Gregory, Abbot of Docheiariou

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #59 on: October 03, 2016, 05:48:34 PM »
Oh look...

Quote
In a recent article in Commonweal, “Christ’s Rabble: The First Christians Were Not Like Us,” Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart has doubled down on his controversial claims about the Christian view of wealth and poverty. He claims, like a caricature of the Protestants he unfairly dismisses, that the New Testament is on his side because he can read it in Greek. Well, so can I, and so can basically every theologian who has ever disagreed with Hart’s position. Fluency in Greek does not make one an authority on the New Testament or early Christianity.

The poverty of Hart’s hermeneutic can be seen by examining the sparsely substantiated claims he makes about the earliest Christians. Hart believes that “the New Testament … condemns great personal wealth not merely as a moral danger, but as an intrinsic evil.” Hart dismisses every New Testament qualification of this claim as being countered by a more absolute reading of other passages that has apparently escaped all other Christian readers for the last 2,000 years. In reality, Hart’s view cannot be found among early Christians.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/10/17950/

I'm sure we can do better than a Calvinist theologian.   I mean, it's not like their theology of monetary plentitude hasn't been one of the most destructive in history. 

However, with that said, it is far to easy for those of us who have never seen true abject poverty to sit in the comfort of oir riches and call for austerity.   Spend a few years in the slums of our world, take on that burden yourself, and then talk. 

I have no doubt that Mor is far better acquainted with poverty than most of will ever be willing to see.   I enjoy Hart, but for some, this smacks of complete hypocrisy.   Once he takes on the position of an Indian or afghani beggar, he *might have a leg to stand on. 
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 05:50:21 PM by Onesimus »

Offline augustin717

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 5,991
  • The icon is of myself
  • Faith: Atheist Chalcedonian
  • Jurisdiction: With Pews
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #60 on: October 03, 2016, 06:10:11 PM »
Oh look...

Quote
In a recent article in Commonweal, “Christ’s Rabble: The First Christians Were Not Like Us,” Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart has doubled down on his controversial claims about the Christian view of wealth and poverty. He claims, like a caricature of the Protestants he unfairly dismisses, that the New Testament is on his side because he can read it in Greek. Well, so can I, and so can basically every theologian who has ever disagreed with Hart’s position. Fluency in Greek does not make one an authority on the New Testament or early Christianity.

The poverty of Hart’s hermeneutic can be seen by examining the sparsely substantiated claims he makes about the earliest Christians. Hart believes that “the New Testament … condemns great personal wealth not merely as a moral danger, but as an intrinsic evil.” Hart dismisses every New Testament qualification of this claim as being countered by a more absolute reading of other passages that has apparently escaped all other Christian readers for the last 2,000 years. In reality, Hart’s view cannot be found among early Christians.

http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2016/10/17950/
what a bunch of clowns the Actonites are!
Beaucoup de ces dieux ont péri
C'est sur eux que pleurent les saules
Le grand Pan l'amour Jésus-Christ
Sont bien morts et les chats miaulent...

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #61 on: October 03, 2016, 06:22:50 PM »
^ + 1

Offline nothing

  • Deplorable Lives Matter
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,293
  • Americanism, Not Globalism, Will Be Our Credo
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #62 on: October 03, 2016, 06:51:44 PM »
Quote
In reality, Hart’s view cannot be found among early Christians.
Well two things, I doubt there was a grave concern for wealth since they were under such persecution and faced imminent martyrdom. They didn't have the luxury we do on our computers and phones arguing about this while facing our own mortality. The second is capitalism wasn't around when the New Testament was written and developed, so many of the passages shouldn't be so decontextualized (like using Paul's if you don't work you can't eat verse) in order to serve as a current social critique. That's not to say there's nothing in the NT that isn't relevant, sure, but we need to keep in mind the audience of who Paul wrote for. Paul had no idea of the discontents of the modern world but if he was writing today his letters would be profoundly different. I'm not saying DBH is off the hook either although arguments matter and he is more convincing than the rebuttal you posted.

BTW we can demonstrate how property is theft without referencing the New Testament. The internal contradictions of capitalism can be viewed under analysis that don't require the use of moral or religious arguments against.

To suggest however that the NT in anyway supports accruing personal wealth, even if procured honestly, is totally unsupported. Jesus repeatably admonishes such views. You either follow and commit yourself to Christ as his servant which means you do not store treasures upon the earth and rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor, or you can be a servant of money. You can't serve two masters.
This post was paidtaxed forby the Silent Majority.

“I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.” - President Trump

Offline Georgios Scholarios

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
    • Georgios Scholarios
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #63 on: October 03, 2016, 07:06:17 PM »
From what I've seen from a quick read of the articles, neither Hart nor Pahman is wrong, but both make some mistakes I think. The passages against the rich that Hart cites can just as easily be explained by the fact that "the rich" is sometimes used loosely to refer to "the corrupt rich" - after all, in many cases there is not much difference between the two. Furthermore, sometimes for rhetorical effect, condemnations are exaggerated. So while there are some uncompromising passages against the wealthy (e.g., the Woes in Luke 6), there are also more lenient ones (e.g., Jesus and Zacchaeus). That being said, it is certainly not the case that we can just ignore the warnings and strict admonitions against wealth in the Scriptures to the extent that Pahman does.

In my view, the New Testament teaches that having wealth isn't evil, but less perfect than having nothing, in the same way that the married life isn't evil, but less perfect than virginity. It is good to remember that Christ's commandments are not laws that you try to do the minimum to follow, but things to do to cultivate virtues that lead to beatitude.

Online Mor Ephrem

  • "Mor has a huge ego"
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,812
  • We are all Gustavito!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #64 on: October 03, 2016, 07:10:25 PM »
Paul had no idea of the discontents of the modern world but if he was writing today his letters would be profoundly different.

In what ways? 

Quote
I'm not saying DBH is off the hook either although arguments matter and he is more convincing than the rebuttal you posted.

They're both incomplete accounts.  That said, I disagree with the idea that DBH is more convincing than the other fellow. 

Quote
To suggest however that the NT in anyway supports accruing personal wealth, even if procured honestly, is totally unsupported. Jesus repeatably admonishes such views. You either follow and commit yourself to Christ as his servant which means you do not store treasures upon the earth and rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor, or you can be a servant of money. You can't serve two masters.

"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"
“Miserable Greece was counting on a restored Holy Mount Athos to promote the godless European Union.”

Archimandrite Gregory, Abbot of Docheiariou

Offline Georgios Scholarios

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
    • Georgios Scholarios
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #65 on: October 03, 2016, 07:12:46 PM »
Quote
To suggest however that the NT in anyway supports accruing personal wealth, even if procured honestly, is totally unsupported. Jesus repeatably admonishes such views. You either follow and commit yourself to Christ as his servant which means you do not store treasures upon the earth and rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor, or you can be a servant of money. You can't serve two masters.

"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"

That's not a very good response, since the woman wasn't keeping the perfume for herself, but using it to do a good deed for another (Christ).

Online Mor Ephrem

  • "Mor has a huge ego"
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,812
  • We are all Gustavito!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #66 on: October 03, 2016, 07:18:55 PM »
Quote
To suggest however that the NT in anyway supports accruing personal wealth, even if procured honestly, is totally unsupported. Jesus repeatably admonishes such views. You either follow and commit yourself to Christ as his servant which means you do not store treasures upon the earth and rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor, or you can be a servant of money. You can't serve two masters.

"Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"

That's not a very good response, since the woman wasn't keeping the perfume for herself, but using it to do a good deed for another (Christ).

Three hundred denarii for the poor would've also been a good deed for another, and more in line with Nothing's interpretation of Jesus. 
“Miserable Greece was counting on a restored Holy Mount Athos to promote the godless European Union.”

Archimandrite Gregory, Abbot of Docheiariou

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #67 on: October 03, 2016, 07:32:13 PM »
Oh look....

Quote
Now, you are obviously very far from having observed one commandment at least, and you falsely swore that you had kept it, namely, that you’ve loved your neighbor as yourself. For see: the Lord’s commandment proves you to be utterly lacking in real love. For if what you’ve claimed were true, that you have kept from your youth the commandment of love, and have given to each person as much as to yourself, how has it come to you, this abundance of money? For it takes wealth to care for the needy: a little paid out for the necessity of each person you take on, and all at once everything gets parceled out, and is spent upon them. Thus, the man who loves his neighbor as himself will have acquired no more than what his neighbor has; whereas you, visibly, have acquired a lot. Where has this come from? Or is it not clear, that it comes from making your private enjoyment more important than helping other people? Therefore, however much you exceed in wealth, so much so do you fall short in love: else long since you’d have taken care to be divorced from your money, if you had loved your neighbor. But now your money sticks to you closer than the limbs of your body, and he who would separate you from it grieves you more than someone who would cut off your vital parts. For if you had clothed the naked, if you had given your bread to the hungry, if you had opened your doors to every stranger, if you’d become a father to orphans, if you had suffered together with all the powerless, what possessions would now be causing you despondency? Why should you now be upset to put aside what’s left, when you’d long since have taken care to distribute these things to the needy? Now, on a market day, no one is sorry to barter his goods and get in return such things as he has need of; but to the extent that he purchases things of greater value with what is cheaper, he rejoices, having gotten a better deal than his trading-partner. But you, by contrast, mourn, in giving gold, and silver, and goods — that is, offering stones and dust — in order to obtain the blessed life.

St. John Chrysostom. 

https://bekkos.wordpress.com/st-basils-sermon-to-the-rich/

Offline Georgios Scholarios

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 44
    • Georgios Scholarios
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #68 on: October 03, 2016, 07:33:03 PM »
I think you're misrepresenting him, Mor. In the quote you cited,

Quote
To suggest however that the NT in anyway supports accruing personal wealth, even if procured honestly, is totally unsupported. Jesus repeatably admonishes such views. You either follow and commit yourself to Christ as his servant which means you do not store treasures upon the earth and rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor, or you can be a servant of money. You can't serve two masters.

Notice that he is arguing against "accruing personal wealth" - the woman you cited as a counterexample was not accruing personal wealth. In fact, she was giving some of her possessions away. So I don't see how that example touches his argument in any way. Sure, she wasn't distributing it to the poor, but obviously Nothing's point was against keeping wealth for oneself rather than specifically about exactly who to donate it to.

Online Mor Ephrem

  • "Mor has a huge ego"
  • Section Moderator
  • Protospatharios
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,812
  • We are all Gustavito!
    • OrthodoxChristianity.net
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: East
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #69 on: October 03, 2016, 09:04:07 PM »
I think you're misrepresenting him, Mor. In the quote you cited,

Quote
To suggest however that the NT in anyway supports accruing personal wealth, even if procured honestly, is totally unsupported. Jesus repeatably admonishes such views. You either follow and commit yourself to Christ as his servant which means you do not store treasures upon the earth and rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor, or you can be a servant of money. You can't serve two masters.

Notice that he is arguing against "accruing personal wealth" - the woman you cited as a counterexample was not accruing personal wealth. In fact, she was giving some of her possessions away. So I don't see how that example touches his argument in any way. Sure, she wasn't distributing it to the poor, but obviously Nothing's point was against keeping wealth for oneself rather than specifically about exactly who to donate it to.

"You either...rid yourself of possessions and give them to the poor..." was what I had in mind when I responded with that verse.  And that does include a recipient of one's divested wealth, unless nothing's "give them to the poor" means something other than that the poor should have it.   

My only point in this is that the Scriptural witness is more complex than caricatures on either side would have us believe.   
“Miserable Greece was counting on a restored Holy Mount Athos to promote the godless European Union.”

Archimandrite Gregory, Abbot of Docheiariou

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #70 on: October 03, 2016, 09:04:46 PM »
Correction.   Saint Basil.

Offline Rohzek

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
    • Shameless Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Orthodox and Postpositivist
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #71 on: October 03, 2016, 09:22:09 PM »
DBH obviously hasn't read much Christian history pre-Constantine. Most missionary work, as far as I know, was confined to urban areas and small towns/moderate villages. The so-called rustici or the country folk, who were typically poorer, were regularly ignored or derided in non-biblical Christian literature.

A Catholic perspective would actually be appreciated on this issue. I say this because they went through this very debate in the High Middle Ages. It got so intense that one group claimed that Jesus didn't even own his own cloak.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 09:23:40 PM by Rohzek »
"What I have shown you is reality. What you remember, that is the illusion." - Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” - Lord Pococurante in Candide by Voltaire

Check out my new blog: Shameless Orthodoxy Latest Post:  Latin Divorce & Remarriage: A Forgotten History

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #72 on: October 03, 2016, 09:26:25 PM »
DBH obviously hasn't read much Christian history pre-Constantine. 

This is a silly statement.  Hart has his issues, but this is definitely not one of them. 

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #73 on: October 04, 2016, 01:17:53 AM »
William, do you actually dispute anything regarding DBH's characterization of the early Christian community? I thought the broad outline he provided is pretty generally accepted...

Is it, though? 

I read the article in the OP and it doesn't seem to address


I did not find your argument convincing and perhaps you can expand your rebuttal accordingly:

My post wasn't an argument per se, more like a criticism of Hart's argument.  But what the heck, let's try this. 

Quote
Quote
a) the existence of references to Jesus' wealthy followers who remain wealthy, such as the women in Lk 8.1-3 who seem to be giving a bit more than two mites here and there if they're providing the means for thirteen men to travel all over Palestine, or more certainly Joseph of Arimathea (whom Matthew describes as a rich man) and Nicodemus (who, according to John's description, was able to buy an insane and probably unnecessary amount of burial supplies on short notice);

This is an interpretation and a highly speculative one.

No more speculative than Hart.

Quote
The only possible rich person in the first phrase above is Saint Joanna and it is not clear to me that she, in particular, had access to a lot of money. Her husband Chuza possibly, but not necessarily in liquid assets.

So what?  The passage says the women provided for Jesus (and the disciples) out of their means (RSV).  Other translations will substitute "possessions", "resources", "property", or "substance" for "means".  Whether or not they "had access to a lot of money", they had access to financial resources which they could use as they pleased. 

Contrast that to Hart's unambiguous statement:

Quote
To be a follower of the Way was to renounce every claim to private property and to consent to communal ownership of everything (Acts 4:32). Barnabas, on becoming a Christian, sold his field and handed over all the money to the Apostles (Acts 4:35)—though Ananias and Sapphira did not, with somewhat unfortunate consequences. 

(My emphases.) 

Quote
Is Chuza the "insider" in regard to the trial and crucifixion of Christ? There must have been one. The criticism in any case is that she committed all of her resources to Christ early on and was a safe haven for preserving those resources for contingencies.

Where are you getting this? 

Quote
The same would apply to Arimathea and Nicodemus.  Wells Fargo was not providing unasked for bank accounts back then.

I'm not sure what Wells Fargo has to do with anything.  Matthew 27.57 specifically refers to Joseph of Arimathea as a rich man.  I'm not sure the NT describes Nicodemus in similar terms, but, like Joseph, he was an elder of Israel (not sure how many of those were broke) and was able to buy a huge and probably unnecessary amount of burial supplies on short notice on one of the busiest days of the year in a crowded city.  It's not unreasonable to suppose he was also wealthy.

Again, contrast that with Hart's focus on Acts 4-5 as "the Christian way".   

Quote
Quote
b) the existence of house churches, which implies (to me, anyway) Christians who own property that is their own and open it up to the use of the community without necessarily turning it into a commune (e.g., Philemon, who apparently has a guest room ready for Paul's use);

I do not get this comment at all. I do not think that Christ was demanding people to be homeless and without shelter in order to become sick sleeping in the rain.

That's cute, but beside the point.  It's still a matter of someone possessing private property which he uses as he pleases vs Hart's idea that this is not "the Christian way". 

I can't recall whether Christ ever demanded people be homeless.  But he did tell his apostles not to take money with them on their journeys and to stay with the first people who receive them into their homes in any given place, eating and drinking what they offer.  This implies that some disciples are expected to have property, if not as a divine command, then certainly as a fact of life.  How they use that property becomes something about which they can be judged, but "sell it all or die" is not the only option. 

Quote
If you have a room to spare you give it up. Philemon may have at that time had space or moved someone out to another house to make room for St. Paul.

Again, "if you have a room to spare" shouldn't be an option under Hart's understanding of Christianity.  You shouldn't have a room to spare.  You probably shouldn't have a room at all, except perhaps in some sort of commune. 

Regarding what Philemon may have done for St Paul, we have two options based on your idea:

a) Philemon had extra space, which means he had property which he wasn't putting at the disposal of the Church except on occasion as he deemed appropriate; or
b) Philemon didn't have extra space, and so he decided to kick someone out to make room for St Paul, and St Paul was OK with that.

Neither is satisfying. 

Quote
Quote
c) Paul's collection for the Christians of Jerusalem, for which he instructs each of his Corinthian converts to give "as he may prosper" (which is not exactly "sell everything like Barnabas or die like Ananias and Sapphira");

I did not understand this statement.

What exactly don't you understand?  Paul's instructions to the Corinthians imply "giving what one can", while Hart's understanding of Acts 4-5 is a total renunciation of private property.  "Giving what one can" is less than that. 

Quote
Quote
d) Paul's own ownership of property (e.g., cloaks, books, parchments) which he asks others to bring to him rather than, say, living strictly according to the Lord's teaching recorded in places like Mt 10.9;  and possibly other counterexamples.

Are you saying that St. Paul refused to share his cloaks, books, parchments? I am not sure I understand this.

I'm saying Paul owned stuff, whereas Jesus tells the apostles not to acquire money or to have extra clothes on their missionary journeys.  This contradiction shouldn't be the case if Hart is right. 

I don't know much about Hart, but I do think he overstated his argument, which, oddly enough, was supposedly based on a close reading of Scripture.     

Quote
My do not understand replies reflects the fact that I did not have the time to look up what you are writing about, at least in part.

By all means, please read Holy Scripture when you can.

I will reply later, hopefully, I discovered an identity theft, theft today and I need to take care of that asap.

I think DB Hart wrote to be jolting. Your take aways are totally different from mine. Your interpretation of him is that of an extremist, apparently. I do not see that. I do not think your arguments hold if you remove your extremist views of him.

The topic is wealth and how you get rid of it and put it to good use (or something like that).

"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying

Offline NicholasMyra

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,381
    • Hyperdox Herman
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Partially-overlapping
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #74 on: October 05, 2016, 07:30:10 PM »
Hart spends some time interpreting Paul's exhortation to Timothy in I Tim 6 in such a way that it confirms his own presupposition, but considering what he has done with the interpretation of James 4.13ff, I'm not sure he can be trusted.
I've noticed this before, Mor, and I find it worth talking about:

There are a few ways that distrust factors into intellectual discourse. Whether because of someone's supposed intellectual vice, malice, lack of the requisite background knowledge, faculties, some other attribute(s) of theirs, etc.:

1. Justification for outright dismissal (of argument(s), premise(s), or both).
2. Justification for increased scrutiny (of argument(s), premise(s), or both).
3. etc.

Now, #1 is a pretty heavy hit; #1 might be saying that so-and-so's claims and/or arguments aren't worth the cost of investigating (perhaps not absolutely, but in a particular context, let's say). Personally I think that taking DBH seriously on an academic level is bad for academic Orthodoxy; and as regards the context of forums normally I find the cost of exchanging, say, watching a playthrough for time investigating DBH's work to be a bad deal. But then there are moments like this.

Either way, I don't think Iconodule, Opus or Nothing think #1 applies to DBH. Perhaps #2 and/or #3, or some other? But I don't see why you brought up maybe not trusting his interpretation of 1 Timothy 6 based on his ostensibly bad interpretation of James 4:13. I mean, has DBH implicitly or explicitly claimed to marshal some massive ethos of biblical expertise which, now distrusting, we should simply ignore? Not really. He's said, such-and-such is a reasonable interpretation in both cases. So maybe we should scrutinize his 1 Timothy argument more because of his ostensibly bad James 4:13 argument, but it sounds like you are saying we should dismiss it instead. Just doesn't seem to fit. Seems like we should just scrutinize it more at this point, if we're going to bother with DBH at all.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 07:34:56 PM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Pope Francis
Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as 'Animal politicus.' So at least I am a human person.

Vote for a Ministry section on OC.net

Offline Rohzek

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
    • Shameless Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Orthodox and Postpositivist
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #75 on: October 05, 2016, 10:26:54 PM »
DBH obviously hasn't read much Christian history pre-Constantine. 

This is a silly statement.  Hart has his issues, but this is definitely not one of them.

An exaggeration, yes. But I'm not sure how anyone can miss the clear fact that Christian missionizing pre-Constantine was usually directed to more urban or near-urban areas. The poorer countryside folk simply weren't on the radar. This isn't to say that there weren't poor people in cities. But it is to say that higher socio-economic people were more desired as converts for obvious reasons of patronage, etc. Of course, this data doesn't jive with Hart's bloated Marxist sensibilities at all.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2016, 10:27:57 PM by Rohzek »
"What I have shown you is reality. What you remember, that is the illusion." - Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” - Lord Pococurante in Candide by Voltaire

Check out my new blog: Shameless Orthodoxy Latest Post:  Latin Divorce & Remarriage: A Forgotten History

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #76 on: October 05, 2016, 11:54:48 PM »
Let's look at data.   25% ++ of urban city/town inhabitants were slaves. 97% of the population was landless, near landless and poor. 
 
 Even if the focus - as you contend - was on propertied and wealthy folk, the portion of the the 1.5 to 2% of the rich patricians, or the less than 1% percent in the equites class that would have been the focus of conversion would have resulted in the following; upon a pater familias's conversion they brought their entire "household' with them to baptism (a household included slaves)... This would mean that the vast majority of converts would have been slaves/poor.   Onesimus, my patron Saint would have been in such a position with Philemon.

With the odd exception It is likely that only the top two classes owned slaves, any sizeable numbers over 10, and I think it would be a rare exception to fond plebes with slaves of note.   Slaves were used in large production facilities of several types, and it would not been uncommon for rich patrician or equestrian Roman to own hundreds or -if very rich- in the low thousands of slaves -- such as Nikitas of Athens.

Let us assume for arguments sake that your undemonstrated data is true and say...oh...3000 rich Romans,  each owning 10 slaves (extremely low number) each converted and brought them with them into the faith.  This would mean that 90% of the converts were slaves/poor and the remaining 10% was Rich.  I'll even thrown in an extra 10% to the rich to in Ludeburgs the pater familias's free patrons.  80% slaves and poor.    But this is simply an arbitrarily low estimate.   The numbers of slaves owned by the 3% was likely to be much higher than a few dozen.   I'd recommend the book Oligarchy by Jeffery Winters for a discussion on the demographics and wealth concetration and compression of Rome.   

In any case, the data that I see....the data that I've presented simply doesn't "jive" with what you seem to be expressing.   I don't know what "data" you're talking about, but I'd love to see you share it.   One cannot imagine that today's urban demographics are similar to Rome's and make a conclusion based upon thinking that the cities were the center-point where only the rich dwelt, or that there was some kind of distributed economic demographic.   To a much larger degree than our Western experience today, the separation between the monied and the poor was extreme, and grossly lopsided and contracted.   Whatever "Marxist" sensibilities or lack thereof DBH may or may not hold, the data seems clearly against your premise, even on its most conservative side.   

What say you sir?

Offline Rohzek

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
    • Shameless Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Orthodox and Postpositivist
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #77 on: October 06, 2016, 01:50:48 AM »
Slaves didn't necessarily convert because their master converted. After all, we know of several cases of Christians sending their pagan slaves to make sacrifice to satisfy the decree of Decius in the mid-third century. Nor am I denying that the Church cared for the poor. In the cities they certainly did. But anywhere where they couldn't find a rich patron, they usually didn't send missions at all. As for my source on this, see the brief discussion about it in Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians pages 288-292 and 317-318 as well as the pages between the 2 sets if you wish.

I'm not sure why you put DBH's Marxist sensibilities in scare quotes. The man has on a number of occasions described himself as having them explicitly as far as I'm aware of.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 02:08:52 AM by Rohzek »
"What I have shown you is reality. What you remember, that is the illusion." - Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” - Lord Pococurante in Candide by Voltaire

Check out my new blog: Shameless Orthodoxy Latest Post:  Latin Divorce & Remarriage: A Forgotten History

Offline Onesimus

  • Elder
  • *****
  • Posts: 451
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #78 on: October 06, 2016, 02:34:30 AM »
Slaves didn't necessarily convert because their master converted. After all, we know of several cases of Christians sending their pagan slaves to make sacrifice to satisfy the decree of Decius in the mid-third century. Nor am I denying that the Church cared for the poor. In the cities they certainly did. But anywhere where they couldn't find a rich patron, they usually didn't send missions at all. As for my source on this, see the brief discussion about it in Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians pages 288-292 and 317-318 as well as the pages between the 2 sets if you wish.

I'm not sure why you put DBH's Marxist sensibilities in scare quotes. The man has on a number of occasions described himself as having them explicitly as far as I'm aware of.

Hmmm, interesting.  I'll check it out.  Not sure I agree with your interpretation of what you're presenting, but I'm not sure we'd make much headway in our differing views of the data at this point.   Are we isolating our missionary examination only to the Roman world and what we think we can historically reconstrct, or do we take into account the disciples (the 12 and the 70) who went far and wide to missionize in backwaters?  (At least according to Tradition).   These are rhetorical questions to consider as I consider your points.   Paul was not the only missionary.

As far as the scare quotes, they're only there because I was quoting you.   That's all.   I'm neither affirming nor denying his potential affinity for Marxism.   I've actually not been interested or attuned much in his socio-political leanings until it was brought up here.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2016, 02:48:07 AM by Onesimus »

Offline Rohzek

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 795
    • Shameless Orthodoxy
  • Faith: Orthodox and Postpositivist
  • Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #79 on: October 06, 2016, 04:57:53 PM »
Slaves didn't necessarily convert because their master converted. After all, we know of several cases of Christians sending their pagan slaves to make sacrifice to satisfy the decree of Decius in the mid-third century. Nor am I denying that the Church cared for the poor. In the cities they certainly did. But anywhere where they couldn't find a rich patron, they usually didn't send missions at all. As for my source on this, see the brief discussion about it in Robin Lane Fox's Pagans and Christians pages 288-292 and 317-318 as well as the pages between the 2 sets if you wish.

I'm not sure why you put DBH's Marxist sensibilities in scare quotes. The man has on a number of occasions described himself as having them explicitly as far as I'm aware of.

Hmmm, interesting.  I'll check it out.  Not sure I agree with your interpretation of what you're presenting, but I'm not sure we'd make much headway in our differing views of the data at this point.   Are we isolating our missionary examination only to the Roman world and what we think we can historically reconstrct, or do we take into account the disciples (the 12 and the 70) who went far and wide to missionize in backwaters?  (At least according to Tradition).   These are rhetorical questions to consider as I consider your points.   Paul was not the only missionary.

As far as the scare quotes, they're only there because I was quoting you.   That's all.   I'm neither affirming nor denying his potential affinity for Marxism.   I've actually not been interested or attuned much in his socio-political leanings until it was brought up here.

I'm basically speaking about post-apostolic era Christianity within the Roman Empire prior to Constantine's legalization.
"What I have shown you is reality. What you remember, that is the illusion." - Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII

“Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part I read only to please myself and like only what suits my taste.” - Lord Pococurante in Candide by Voltaire

Check out my new blog: Shameless Orthodoxy Latest Post:  Latin Divorce & Remarriage: A Forgotten History

Offline nothing

  • Deplorable Lives Matter
  • Archon
  • ********
  • Posts: 2,293
  • Americanism, Not Globalism, Will Be Our Credo
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #80 on: October 06, 2016, 11:19:10 PM »
Hart spends some time interpreting Paul's exhortation to Timothy in I Tim 6 in such a way that it confirms his own presupposition, but considering what he has done with the interpretation of James 4.13ff, I'm not sure he can be trusted.
I've noticed this before, Mor, and I find it worth talking about:

There are a few ways that distrust factors into intellectual discourse. Whether because of someone's supposed intellectual vice, malice, lack of the requisite background knowledge, faculties, some other attribute(s) of theirs, etc.:

1. Justification for outright dismissal (of argument(s), premise(s), or both).
2. Justification for increased scrutiny (of argument(s), premise(s), or both).
3. etc.

Now, #1 is a pretty heavy hit; #1 might be saying that so-and-so's claims and/or arguments aren't worth the cost of investigating (perhaps not absolutely, but in a particular context, let's say). Personally I think that taking DBH seriously on an academic level is bad for academic Orthodoxy; and as regards the context of forums normally I find the cost of exchanging, say, watching a playthrough for time investigating DBH's work to be a bad deal. But then there are moments like this.

Either way, I don't think Iconodule, Opus or Nothing think #1 applies to DBH. Perhaps #2 and/or #3, or some other? But I don't see why you brought up maybe not trusting his interpretation of 1 Timothy 6 based on his ostensibly bad interpretation of James 4:13. I mean, has DBH implicitly or explicitly claimed to marshal some massive ethos of biblical expertise which, now distrusting, we should simply ignore? Not really. He's said, such-and-such is a reasonable interpretation in both cases. So maybe we should scrutinize his 1 Timothy argument more because of his ostensibly bad James 4:13 argument, but it sounds like you are saying we should dismiss it instead. Just doesn't seem to fit. Seems like we should just scrutinize it more at this point, if we're going to bother with DBH at all.

I enjoy arguing controversial positions. I am sympathetic to DBH's observations, like the existence of the wealthy is itself immoral, but ultimately I'm left confused by what to make of his observations, does he want to push an ideological interpretation of these texts to demonize the wealthy (and ultimately wealth) or just accept we can never live as the "NT requires".

My view is, we are responsible, as Christians, to make moral choices in our life as we see fit based upon where we are. This applies to giving to the poor or speaking the truth or fighting in a war. We all have to decide what is the best way to express our love for our neighbors. There is no blueprint except to ensure our motives aren't self serving. We must make these decisions on our own and if they are done for the right reasons then no criticism can be made of them.

So if DBH has decided he should live in poverty and give away everything he has and accrue no wealth because he thinks it is harmful to his neighbors or in a larger sense, I won't argue against him. Only he can evaluate that in his life. We always find ourselves wherever we are which is unique.

However if he wants to argue a change within an ideology that would put an end to say wealth inequality, I would disagree and say it's just the opposite.
This post was paidtaxed forby the Silent Majority.

“I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.” - President Trump

Offline William T

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,964
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #81 on: October 07, 2016, 02:12:27 AM »
Hart spends some time interpreting Paul's exhortation to Timothy in I Tim 6 in such a way that it confirms his own presupposition, but considering what he has done with the interpretation of James 4.13ff, I'm not sure he can be trusted.
I've noticed this before, Mor, and I find it worth talking about:

There are a few ways that distrust factors into intellectual discourse. Whether because of someone's supposed intellectual vice, malice, lack of the requisite background knowledge, faculties, some other attribute(s) of theirs, etc.:

1. Justification for outright dismissal (of argument(s), premise(s), or both).
2. Justification for increased scrutiny (of argument(s), premise(s), or both).
3. etc.

Now, #1 is a pretty heavy hit; #1 might be saying that so-and-so's claims and/or arguments aren't worth the cost of investigating (perhaps not absolutely, but in a particular context, let's say). Personally I think that taking DBH seriously on an academic level is bad for academic Orthodoxy; and as regards the context of forums normally I find the cost of exchanging, say, watching a playthrough for time investigating DBH's work to be a bad deal. But then there are moments like this.

Either way, I don't think Iconodule, Opus or Nothing think #1 applies to DBH. Perhaps #2 and/or #3, or some other? But I don't see why you brought up maybe not trusting his interpretation of 1 Timothy 6 based on his ostensibly bad interpretation of James 4:13. I mean, has DBH implicitly or explicitly claimed to marshal some massive ethos of biblical expertise which, now distrusting, we should simply ignore? Not really. He's said, such-and-such is a reasonable interpretation in both cases. So maybe we should scrutinize his 1 Timothy argument more because of his ostensibly bad James 4:13 argument, but it sounds like you are saying we should dismiss it instead. Just doesn't seem to fit. Seems like we should just scrutinize it more at this point, if we're going to bother with DBH at all.

I enjoy arguing controversial positions. I am sympathetic to DBH's observations, like the existence of the wealthy is itself immoral, but ultimately I'm left confused by what to make of his observations, does he want to push an ideological interpretation of these texts to demonize the wealthy (and ultimately wealth) or just accept we can never live as the "NT requires".

My view is, we are responsible, as Christians, to make moral choices in our life as we see fit based upon where we are. This applies to giving to the poor or speaking the truth or fighting in a war. We all have to decide what is the best way to express our love for our neighbors. There is no blueprint except to ensure our motives aren't self serving. We must make these decisions on our own and if they are done for the right reasons then no criticism can be made of them.

So if DBH has decided he should live in poverty and give away everything he has and accrue no wealth because he thinks it is harmful to his neighbors or in a larger sense, I won't argue against him. Only he can evaluate that in his life. We always find ourselves wherever we are which is unique.

However if he wants to argue a change within an ideology that would put an end to say wealth inequality, I would disagree and say it's just the opposite.

I think I mostly agree with this.  And again, I think the confusion for me is looking at the series of posts.  I find him defending the last three Popes social vision, "a poor but propertied class", doing business, using an anachronistic term like "Christian Communism" (even if we grant it, does it have to be sacred?), talking or caring about economic systems applied to secular society (be they pure capitalist or communist), studying Greek for two years and reading the NT in it (heck even I've done that), superfluous or in contradiction to his last article.  It's absolutely true that Christ speaks to us in radical ways, and we can't live up to it...but I can't link that up to the rest of his series of posts.

I guess I also have an issue with other things, but those may all be meta issues for now, or me just thinking about Hart in general and not particular to this article.  And again,  maybe this is just a technical debate between definite Ideological groups / websites that really can't be much of most people's concern.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2016, 02:27:23 AM by William T »

Offline William T

  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,964
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Antioch
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #82 on: October 07, 2016, 12:22:28 PM »
One more point, because I think I ignored it:

It's probably uncontroversial to say that if one believes God, they understand nothing is theirs and all is to the glory of God.  Such a philosophy I think will no doubt manifest in communes/ monastic communities in various ways shapes and forms.

Offline Porter ODoran

  • Avid apokatastisist
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,516
  • St. John the Beloved, pray for me
  • Faith: Eastern Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: GOAA
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #83 on: October 19, 2016, 03:04:25 PM »

No, I do not think so. If you are young without a lot of resources, this article is probably less relevant for you. It is something that I think about a lot and I more or less came to the same conclusion. This is why I am inquiring in this thread. My conclusions may be wrong but I do not know why Christ's repeated statements should not be taken seriously. So far the arguments against are obscure. Although Hart's post supports for what I believe and makes me feel less isolated, I am never confident that I am right.

Basically what the article is saying is that we should not seek the comfortable life. We should be involved in the trials and tribulations of others. We should not accumulate wealth or property for our own sake, but use it to help others in need, etc.  Ignore all the talk about Marxism/communism. Just follow what Christ preached when you are able. It will be rewarding and troublesome at the same time.

Thanks for the response, Opus :)

But what does that look like, practically speaking? Should one stay in their current job position and not actively seek a promotion or a better paying job? Should one only buy the cheapest house they can find, without any consideration of quality? Should one give money to every begger who passes by, without discretion about whether they might be faking it or will spend the money on drugs? Should one donate so much money to the Church, charity programs, etc., that s/he doesn't have even a dime to spend on travel, entertainment, or leisure activities?

First and foremost, if Christ teaches, models, and commands something, do we really want to question and quibble? It's a question each of us has to answer for himself.

Second, the Saints give us some direction in answering your questions. For example, St. Paul says Christians should work with their own hands; should be self-employed if they can be (i.e., he tells slaves to take freedom if they can, and he tells missionaries of the Church to try to support themselves with a trade); should give with willing hearts; and should be "contented with food and shelter." He also gives himself as an example it two ways: first, in supporting himself, as a tent-maker, wherever he went; second, in accepting extreme deprivation or generous donations equally as opportunities to practice contentment ("I have learned to be content" in times of poverty and in times of wealth). Just a few thoughts ...
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are

Offline mike

  • A sexual pervert with limited English reading comprehension
  • Protostrator
  • ***************
  • Posts: 24,866
  • Polish Laser Jesus shooting down schismatics
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Diocese of Białystok and Gdańsk
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #84 on: October 20, 2016, 12:13:54 AM »
For example, St. Paul says Christians should work with their own hands; should be self-employed if they can

Amazing.
Hyperdox Herman, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - fb, Eastern Orthodox Christian News - tt

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who can watch the watchmen?
"No one is paying attention to your post reports"
Why do posters that claim to have me blocked keep sending me pms and responding to my posts? That makes no sense.

Offline Opus118

  • Site Supporter
  • Archon
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,148
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #85 on: January 26, 2017, 02:02:46 PM »
Is Chuza the "insider" in regard to the trial and crucifixion of Christ? There must have been one. The criticism in any case is that she committed all of her resources to Christ early on and was a safe haven for preserving those resources for contingencies.

Where are you getting this?


I am assuming you are asking about Chuza since my question sounds off the wall. I was hoping you knew. I came across this question again from the married saints thread and found my answer. It is most likely that the source for parts of the Gospel of Saint Luke was Saint Manaen (foster brother of Herod Antipas), although both Chuza and Saint Joanna (married saint) have also been promoted in this regard.
"Mi tío es enfermo, pero la carretera es verde!" - old Chilean saying

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,642
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #86 on: March 31, 2017, 03:47:38 PM »
David Hart's new translation of the New Testament
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.