Author Topic: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble  (Read 7411 times)

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Offline Iconodule

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David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« on: September 28, 2016, 09:45:40 AM »
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...I think it reasonable to ask not whether we are Christians (by that standard, all fall short), but whether in our wildest imaginings we could ever desire to be the kind of persons that the New Testament describes as fitting the pattern of life in Christ. And I think the fairly obvious answer is that we could not. I do not mean merely that most of us find the moral requirements laid out in Christian scripture a little onerous, though of course we do ...Rather, I mean that most of us would find Christians truly cast in the New Testament mold fairly obnoxious: civically reprobate, ideologically unsound, economically destructive, politically irresponsible, socially discreditable, and really just a bit indecent.

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/christs-rabble
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2016, 10:28:35 AM »
When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?

Offline Alpo

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2016, 10:33:58 AM »
Reading at halfway now. Seems spot on in that we don't actually want to be Christians.
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 10:48:52 AM »
Superb article, never read anything by DBH before.

So what do we do? Just become defeatist and say being a Christian is impossible or strive?

One of my favorite parts in the article

Quote
Because one thing in remarkably short supply in the New Testament is common sense. The Gospels, the epistles, Acts, Revelation—all of them are relentless torrents of exorbitance and extremism: commands to become as perfect as God in his heaven and to live as insouciantly as lilies in their field; condemnations of a roving eye as equivalent to adultery and of evil thoughts toward another as equivalent to murder; injunctions to sell all one’s possessions and to give the proceeds to the poor, and demands that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead. This extremism is not merely an occasional hyperbolic presence in the texts;
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Opus118

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 11:15:59 AM »
Reading at halfway now. Seems spot on in that we don't actually want to be Christians.

Finished it.

I do.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 12:32:00 PM »
Insouciantly.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 12:33:23 PM »
The guy is so awesomely pretentious it becomes a form of humility.
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Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop
- GK Chesteron, "Lepanto"

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2016, 12:36:24 PM »
The guy is so awesomely pretentious purple.

For someone who criticisms Christian emperors saints so much, this man is certainly draped in a lot of purple.. is cI think when it comes to reading things like this, anymore I approach Carnap's disdain of Heidegger: "Metaphysicians are musicians without musical ability."

How many of these people are ultra cantankerous failed artists?

My guess is I'd have to slog through thousands upon thousands of tortured pages of his quaint German academic folk traditions and customs to find out what he really means by "capitalism", if he means anything at all by it.  Is he talking about economic systems? Is he talking about a critique of secularism?  What does this matter? Does he want a communist theocracy?  Does he want to take a "more hip" version of "The Benedict Option"?

Why is he criticizing someone for using "common sense" in one area, then saying "Christ's words are unambiguous" in the same article?  Saying the "teachings are plain" here, but in other articles points out that ultra allegory and nuance is the way to go?  Dismissing one Church Father in one area, while pointing to desert monks in another?  I'm confused.

And when people start to ask him for clarifications, he just hurls invective after invective on them.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 12:59:44 PM by William T »

Offline Agabus

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 12:48:13 PM »
The guy is so awesomely pretentious it becomes a form of humility.

It was published in Commonweal.
Blessed Nazarius practiced the ascetic life. His clothes were tattered. He wore his shoes without removing them for six years.

THE OPINIONS HERE MAY NOT REFLECT THE ACTUAL OR PERCEIVED ORTHODOX CHURCH

Offline Alpo

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2016, 01:21:46 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 01:23:09 PM by Alpo »
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2016, 01:38:37 PM »
He only mentioned Clement because (according to him, at least) Clement was the first to start mitigating this position on wealth. If he had referenced more of the Fathers after Clement there would probably just be more of the same. But yeah, it would have been interesting to see him bring in Fathers before Clement.

He does seem to mention the possibility of hyperbole and dismisses it offhand due to what he sees as the pervasiveness of these themes in the texts.

I honestly can't say I have the expertise to affirm whether he's right or not.
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- GK Chesteron, "Lepanto"

Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2016, 01:39:53 PM »
My guess is I'd have to slog through thousands upon thousands of tortured pages of his quaint German academic folk traditions and customs to find out what he really means by "capitalism", if he means anything at all by it.  Is he talking about economic systems? Is he talking about a critique of secularism?  What does this matter? Does he want a communist theocracy?  Does he want to take a "more hip" version of "The Benedict Option"?
Basically what Capitalism holds dear and valuable is totally incompatible with Christianity, as DBH understands it. I don't think you need to read tomes on what Capitalism is, a basic understanding of it should be enough in the context of this article. Christianity becomes the best critique against capitalism but this idea is nothing new.

Quote
Why is he criticizing someone for using "common sense" in one area, then saying "Christ's words are unambiguous" in the same article?  Saying the "teachings are plain" here, but in other articles points out that ultra allegory and nuance is the way to go?  Dismissing one Church Father in one area, while pointing to desert monks in another?  I'm confused.

Because Christ turns common sense on its head. He's right, nothing Christ says is ambiguous at all. Basically he's saying with the Desert Fathers is they took the Gospel for what it is and had no desire to make that conform to whatever society's "common sense" had at the time. The core of Christianity is revolutionary and radical and totally at odds with worldly wisdom. Look at how he describes Christians who stick to the NT and how they would be perceived today, pretty much as lunatics.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2016, 01:45:34 PM »
Is this guy pretentious? Maybe, but I thought he was honest about how his translation of the NT led him to different conclusions than when he started. I found a lot of the stuff he wrote about to be very interesting. Yeah some of his words can be silly but I've read some serious try hard academic that put his to shame.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2016, 01:47:01 PM »
My guess is I'd have to slog through thousands upon thousands of tortured pages of his quaint German academic folk traditions and customs to find out what he really means by "capitalism", if he means anything at all by it.

Nah, you could probably just stick with chapter 1 of Capital and the Communist Manifesto. Seriously, all the basics are in there.

Quote
Does he want a communist theocracy?  Does he want to take a "more hip" version of "The Benedict Option"?

I couldn't answer for him, but I think throwing our arms up and saying, "Well, what's your solution?" is a less than honest way to answer a critique. Just because there aren't ready solutions doesn't mean the problems should be ignored.

Quote
And when people start to ask him for clarifications, he just hurls invective after invective on them.

That's what makes him so endearing.
Quote
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop
- GK Chesteron, "Lepanto"

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 01:57:40 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Offline ialmisry

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2016, 01:58:22 PM »
Superb article, never read anything by DBH before.

So what do we do? Just become defeatist and say being a Christian is impossible or strive?

One of my favorite parts in the article

Quote
Because one thing in remarkably short supply in the New Testament is common sense. The Gospels, the epistles, Acts, Revelation—all of them are relentless torrents of exorbitance and extremism: commands to become as perfect as God in his heaven and to live as insouciantly as lilies in their field; condemnations of a roving eye as equivalent to adultery and of evil thoughts toward another as equivalent to murder; injunctions to sell all one’s possessions and to give the proceeds to the poor, and demands that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead. This extremism is not merely an occasional hyperbolic presence in the texts;
What does he do about the Gospel command to "be as wise as serpents"?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline ialmisry

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2016, 01:58:59 PM »
The guy is so awesomely pretentious it becomes a form of humility.
you pretty much hit on it.
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2016, 02:06:15 PM »
Superb article, never read anything by DBH before.

So what do we do? Just become defeatist and say being a Christian is impossible or strive?

One of my favorite parts in the article

Quote
Because one thing in remarkably short supply in the New Testament is common sense. The Gospels, the epistles, Acts, Revelation—all of them are relentless torrents of exorbitance and extremism: commands to become as perfect as God in his heaven and to live as insouciantly as lilies in their field; condemnations of a roving eye as equivalent to adultery and of evil thoughts toward another as equivalent to murder; injunctions to sell all one’s possessions and to give the proceeds to the poor, and demands that one hate one’s parents for the Kingdom’s sake and leave the dead to bury the dead. This extremism is not merely an occasional hyperbolic presence in the texts;
What does he do about the Gospel command to "be as wise as serpents"?

Sure there's lots of stuff that wasn't included, but so what? He didn't post a book that covered everything. And your  command doesn't really fit with the subject of the article which is more about Christ's admonishing those who pursue earthly wealth and wealth in itself. I don't think there is anything he wrote that was so totally profound either.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2016, 02:08:34 PM »
Is this guy pretentious? Maybe, but I thought he was honest about how his translation of the NT led him to different conclusions than when he started. I found a lot of the stuff he wrote about to be very interesting. Yeah some of his words can be silly but I've read some serious try hard academic that put his to shame.

That is interesting no doubt, and if he stated that in his article it's honest inquiry and research.  But at that point all that can be said is he has formed an interesting hypothesis that has to be submitted to a broader and larger field than himself.  I personally can't look at the conclusion as much more than that.

Offline augustin717

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2016, 02:14:35 PM »
This is trolling at its best. Watch the usual suspects getting all up in arms when someone takes , uhm, seriously , not those passages they are used to take seriously, but passages they have exegetes the blood out of .
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2016, 02:23:09 PM »
My guess is I'd have to slog through thousands upon thousands of tortured pages of his quaint German academic folk traditions and customs to find out what he really means by "capitalism", if he means anything at all by it.

Nah, you could probably just stick with chapter 1 of Capital and the Communist Manifesto. Seriously, all the basics are in there.

Quote
Does he want a communist theocracy?  Does he want to take a "more hip" version of "The Benedict Option"?

I couldn't answer for him, but I think throwing our arms up and saying, "Well, what's your solution?" is a less than honest way to answer a critique. Just because there aren't ready solutions doesn't mean the problems should be ignored.

Quote
And when people start to ask him for clarifications, he just hurls invective after invective on them.

That's what makes him so endearing.

I think Marx did come up with the term Capitalism, and I've read a lot of Marx (who is not very readable) due to trying to figure out what some of my Marxist philosopher (not economist) friends were on about.  That stated, it's hard to tell from Marxists what "Marx really meant".  And at this point, I think it's just a fact that Marx is pretty much refuted and I'm baffled why so many in the humanities are drawn to Marxian analysis, when it has next to nothing to do with anything.  My guess is because it is a very critical and not very prescriptive method.  If I were to take Marx seriously as an economist, I would just say he is an outdated Ricardian economist. 

And I think this somewhat relates to your second point.  Critical methods like this, on their own are highly problematic and simply play to the philosophers technical trade of questioning things in a very particular and limited way.  To label complex human things as a "problem/solution" category so easily is a methodological error, and in Harts own words " civically reprobate, ideologically unsound, economically destructive, politically irresponsible, socially discreditable, and really just a bit indecent."  So I guess if I dislike that, I'm not Xtian...but for me that is also congruous with me not being a big fan of killing fields, gulags, secret police, reigns of terror (it's amazing how quickly such people will go from a rhetoric of justice to a rhetoric of terror), inquisitions, and so forth.  The way I see "common" moral sentiments that Hart is dismissing, they are ones that would not opt for those things.   What does this have to do with capitalism vs communism and economic systems?  Absolutely nothing, it has to do with a method of inquiry into these things, and Hart's methods on this point seem incorrect to me.  If a Capitalist were to apply economic growth models the same way (as is often the case) I don't expect good results.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 02:25:14 PM by William T »

Offline ialmisry

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2016, 02:37:04 PM »
This is trolling at its best. Watch the usual suspects getting all up in arms when someone takes , uhm, seriously , not those passages they are used to take seriously, but passages they have exegetes the blood out of .
you mean the passages that some like to wrench out of all context?
Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth

Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2016, 02:45:50 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, even if downplayed as specific to the time. Apart from that you are reading a great deal into Hart that is just not there. Because he hasn't fleshed out some solution, you are filling the vacuum with your own assumptions about what he wants.

I'm not sure what you mean "Marx is pretty much refuted." Marx wrote a lot of things. A lot of his predictions, obviously, didn't pan out and his historical determinism painted with too broad a brush. Dialectical/ historical materialism is fundamentally untrue but, due to man's generally carnal way of doing things, still serves as a pretty good explainer for a lot of our behavior and thinking.

Marx is important in understanding capitalism because he was probably the first economist to treat capitalism as a distinct system with a particular place in history and its own peculiar dynamics. Other economists tended to deal in universal economic laws which more or less held true throughout history.

You say, "The way I see 'common' moral sentiments that Hart is dismissing, they are ones that would not opt for those things." It seems to me "common sense" Christianity, that legitimizes wealth, power, and violence, has allowed for a great many terrible things including colonialism, world wars, genocide, crushing income disparities, etc.
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- GK Chesteron, "Lepanto"

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2016, 03:05:12 PM »
I think you may be right that I'm reading too much into this and bringing baggage from past disputes I was alluding to.  I was used to disagreeing with Marx as a "pure economist" and as the "New Marxism" of Marcuse / Foucault acolytes (that stuff got really out there, and that's something I have a supreme distaste for). And to point out, my concern isn't a critique of an economic system in favor of another, it was of method of inquiry and certain metaphysical presuppositions that got tied into the whole thing.  I don't have much patience for any libertarian argument I've heard, often times for the same reasons*.

But yeah I agree with you on what Marx was refuted on (that and value theory, which wasn't his but central to his thesis), and that was what was chiefly on my mind.  And you would be right to say that there is value in saying that he may have been the first to spot a peculiar dynamic, that is definitely a contribution.  I guess any other conversation on this would have to start from square 1 on a new thread because it is a complex subject and I'd have to spend a considerable amount of time to prepare a more concise argument or position.

As for "common sense" Christianity doing those things - once again it would take work to see where each of us are coming  from.  But if we can point to something that should be easy to latch onto, if we are talking about a lot of the politics / Christianity in America or Russia today or the 16th-19th century missionary work of a lot of colonial powers, or specifically condemned heresies of "orthodox" nationalism / 3rd Rome; I agree it is very pernicious and troublesome.  I think we are, once again, just approaching it from a different angle.  And I'll add I'm not used to thinking of that first and foremost, because I'm used to dealing with a whole different set of people and arguments "from the other side".  That may be a huge problem on my part when trying to communicate to a general audience.  In my life, I've dealt with far more bohemians, radical philosophers, etc than I have with religious fanatics. And at this point I may be being overly "meta" as well.  I wasn't actually thinking about Christian moral sentiments in particular, but how moral sentiments work in general, and how critiques of moral sentiments or establishment of "new" moral sentiments by many of the more radical philosophers tends to be problematic.

As for how the early Christian community acted:

I won't dispute whatever the main consensus is.  I guess I have a hard time imagining that the average Corinthian, Thessalonian, etc didn't have property and lived as pure communists, but if they did, fine.  I mostly picture Xtians living wothin the norms of any given community. And outside of the book of acts, I don't know if there were any laws (such as in the Didache) specifically requiring the average Christian to live in communistic communities. In my Roman history books, they state that the early main base of gentiles that were Christians were patrician class women and many "middle class" / merchant class / artisan people.  I guess I pictured that in my head, but I'm not married to the idea and it doesn't affect me one way or the other.  I was also under the impression that the main "pagan" hold outs were provincial farmers and a few academics, and that the word "pagan" means something like "country bumpkin", once again I'm not married to that notion, it's just a fact that flew by me at some point.

* I will however defend Ayn Rand as a top tier pulp fiction writer on one or two of her shorter works that don't have crazy manifesto speeches.  Marx was a horrible poet, but certainly a better economist and philosopher than Rand, who ought not count as a philosopher but rather a Cult leader like fellow pulp novelist L Ron Hubbard.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 03:39:51 PM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2016, 08:23:42 PM »
Quote
...I think it reasonable to ask not whether we are Christians (by that standard, all fall short), but whether in our wildest imaginings we could ever desire to be the kind of persons that the New Testament describes as fitting the pattern of life in Christ. And I think the fairly obvious answer is that we could not. I do not mean merely that most of us find the moral requirements laid out in Christian scripture a little onerous, though of course we do ...Rather, I mean that most of us would find Christians truly cast in the New Testament mold fairly obnoxious: civically reprobate, ideologically unsound, economically destructive, politically irresponsible, socially discreditable, and really just a bit indecent.

https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/christs-rabble

The natural will seem unnatural in an unnatural society. I know this is trite, but I wonder if any band of the Christian "spectrum" has really considered it in relation to Christ the Teacher. Some exegetes imply he was a poet, some a subtlist, some a reprover, some a revolutionary. What if he taught what was necessary to restore balance, to return Man to its natural and fruitful way of living?
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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Alpo

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2016, 01:44:34 AM »
He only mentioned Clement because (according to him, at least) Clement was the first to start mitigating this position on wealth. If he had referenced more of the Fathers after Clement there would probably just be more of the same. But yeah, it would have been interesting to see him bring in Fathers before Clement.

He does seem to mention the possibility of hyperbole and dismisses it offhand due to what he sees as the pervasiveness of these themes in the texts.

I can't help feeling that the article is not too far from Sola Scriptura. He's smart and probably wouldn't agree with it but it really does seem like that. One man reading the Bible and taking the opposite approach than that of Fathers' basically because "Well I've read the Bible".
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 01:46:07 AM by Alpo »
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Leviticus 19:34

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2016, 05:22:00 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

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);

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);

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");

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.  ISTM the move from what Hart calls "communism" to something decidedly not "communism" was happening even while the NT texts were being written, and not just around the time of Clement of Alexandria. 

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.  He takes James 4.13ff to be focused on "planning to gain profits", connecting it to 5.1ff, but that passage ends with a reference to Job as an example from which to derive encouragement.  Job, you will recall, ends up wealthier in the end than he was at the beginning, so he's hardly an icon of holy poverty. 

I wasn't very impressed with this piece.   
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline augustin717

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2016, 05:36:00 PM »
It's highly unlikely that both Joseph and Nicodemus are historical persons .
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2016, 05:48:18 PM »
It's highly unlikely that both Joseph and Nicodemus are historical persons .

Well that settles that. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2016, 10:00:35 PM »
Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I can't help feeling that the article is not too far from Sola Scriptura. He's smart and probably wouldn't agree with it but it really does seem like that. One man reading the Bible and taking the opposite approach than that of Fathers' basically because "Well I've read the Bible".

I completely agree with both of your posts and got the same feeling. In fact, he's really really read the Bible! In Koine Greek! And kudos to him for doing so, but it seems quite strange to provide his interpretations so seemingly free of Patristic guidance and Church teaching.


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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2016, 10:19:14 PM »
He does seem to mention the possibility of hyperbole and dismisses it offhand due to what he sees as the pervasiveness of these themes in the texts.

I honestly can't say I have the expertise to affirm whether he's right or not.

It did seem to be, as you wrote, an offhand dismissal. I'm not sure why hyperbole can't be used pervasively. But I similarly have no expertise to say either way.

Despite the criticisms, particularly those Alpo brought up, I do think the article makes some important points about the early Christians and echoes certain observations Robert Louis Wilken made in his book, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Most particularly, that the early Christians weren't viewed as a reasonable, mature, "common-sense" people. Instead, Wilken argues, they were viewed as a superstitious cult, or as "a tiny, peculiar, antisocial, irreligious sect, drawing its adherents from the lower strata of society."

And how this possible reality of the early Christians relates to who we are and what we should be is challenging as well.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2016, 11:29:38 PM »
It's highly unlikely that both Joseph and Nicodemus are historical persons .

Well that settles that. 

 :D


Meanwhile back in the non-random tangential portions of the thread, interesting sola scriptura critique, Mor. I see what you did there.

And my apologies for the dreaded hat trick of consecutive thread posts.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 11:32:21 PM by Cognomen »
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2016, 12:00:42 AM »
... observations Robert Louis Wilken made in his book, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them.

An interesting little polemic, but very short of primary sources. Most chapters reference a small fragment, and then go on to speculate freely. Some chapters even reference a fragment that has no mention of or relation to Christians at all -- the author then follows the tried-and-true academic practice of circularly proving that the Romans thought thus-and-so of the Christians, because the Romans were thus (referencing fragment) and we know the Christians were so (begging the question upon which the chapter then freely expands).

Even if these shortcomings weren't a problem, the books still chooses largely to ignore (as is de rigeur for such "facts-only" investigations) the Apostles' writings; and then also the evidence of what the Church was like in later centuries. This kind of lopping-off analysis is common, but it results in a thesis precariously founded on a shard of what should be a whole. The reasoning, of course, is that the Apostles can't be used because they are too religious and too previous to "real" Christianity -- that is, they floundered amid Judaism and Paulism, not yet a real religion. While the later Church can't be used because it is not early enough to be pure. Therefore, a few bits of Justin Martyr is all that's allowable from the Christian depiction of themselves.

The truth is that a great many martyrs were Roman aristocrats, that influential individuals, well-off or in positions of power, often played major roles in St. Paul's successes, and that the eventual acceptance of Christianity by Rome had much to do with educated apologists, powerful nobility and military, and even Confessors, if not in the direct circles of the Emperors, known to them or even befriended by them.

By this I don't mean to deny that Christianity appealed to the prostitutes as well as the publicans, the houseless as well as those who kept a church in her house. Just that a thesis such as "[Christianity was] a tiny, peculiar, antisocial, irreligious sect, drawing its adherents from the lower strata of society" is sensational rather than useful.

The later portions of the book that delve into the philosophers' and Galen's literary interaction with Christian intellectuals are much better done and more fruitful, but they also don't offer a picture of Christianity in any practical way.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Rohzek

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2016, 12:46:19 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.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 12:56:10 AM by Rohzek »
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Offline Hinterlander

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2016, 12:51:47 AM »
... observations Robert Louis Wilken made in his book, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them.

An interesting little polemic, but very short of primary sources. Most chapters reference a small fragment, and then go on to speculate freely. Some chapters even reference a fragment that has no mention of or relation to Christians at all -- the author then follows the tried-and-true academic practice of circularly proving that the Romans thought thus-and-so of the Christians, because the Romans were thus (referencing fragment) and we know the Christians were so (begging the question upon which the chapter then freely expands).

Even if these shortcomings weren't a problem, the books still chooses largely to ignore (as is de rigeur for such "facts-only" investigations) the Apostles' writings; and then also the evidence of what the Church was like in later centuries. This kind of lopping-off analysis is common, but it results in a thesis precariously founded on a shard of what should be a whole. The reasoning, of course, is that the Apostles can't be used because they are too religious and too previous to "real" Christianity -- that is, they floundered amid Judaism and Paulism, not yet a real religion. While the later Church can't be used because it is not early enough to be pure. Therefore, a few bits of Justin Martyr is all that's allowable from the Christian depiction of themselves.

The truth is that a great many martyrs were Roman aristocrats, that influential individuals, well-off or in positions of power, often played major roles in St. Paul's successes, and that the eventual acceptance of Christianity by Rome had much to do with educated apologists, powerful nobility and military, and even Confessors, if not in the direct circles of the Emperors, known to them or even befriended by them.

By this I don't mean to deny that Christianity appealed to the prostitutes as well as the publicans, the houseless as well as those who kept a church in her house. Just that a thesis such as "[Christianity was] a tiny, peculiar, antisocial, irreligious sect, drawing its adherents from the lower strata of society" is sensational rather than useful.

The later portions of the book that delve into the philosophers' and Galen's literary interaction with Christian intellectuals are much better done and more fruitful, but they also don't offer a picture of Christianity in any practical way.

Your criticism of Wilken's book, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, is unfair because your not respecting the intentional limited scope of the volume.  If you were looking for a more thorough discussion of the early church that includes some of the sourcing you desire perhaps you should look at his other works that do make use of such material.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2016, 12:52:03 AM by Hinterlander »

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2016, 01:00:21 AM »
I don't think it's unfair. Too much of his work in the book is sparsely-sourced and highly imaginative. Intent or scope is a separate matter.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2016, 01:04:33 AM »
However, both considered these actions a betrayal of faith. But is that truly so?

Yes.

Quote
As for David Bentley Hart, I now have the impression that he is supremely overrated and needlessly obfuscating

The whole breed of litterateurs of our age are puerile and deficient. Mr. Hitchens was much-vaunted; Mr. Buckley, Jr., too, to draw from opposite sides -- but the actual material is often embarrassing. Certainly none can compare well with the essayists of the high modern age or other ages famous for their men and women of letters.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Opus118

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2016, 01:24:37 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:

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


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. 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.

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.

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.

 
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.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #38 on: September 30, 2016, 05:20:40 PM »
However, both considered these actions a betrayal of faith. But is that truly so?

Yes.

How about no. We're talking Tertullian here. You know, the same Christian who rubbed his hands together with glee when a rich Christian ran out of money to help himself hide and was the summarily executed. You don't become unchristian for putting laurel on your head for a military honor.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #39 on: September 30, 2016, 05:27:39 PM »
However, both considered these actions a betrayal of faith. But is that truly so?

Yes.

How about no. We're talking Tertullian here. You know, the same Christian who rubbed his hands together with glee when a rich Christian ran out of money to help himself hide and was the summarily executed. You don't become unchristian for putting laurel on your head for a military honor.

The Christian Father who has earned the respect of millions of the faithful, you mean. Who shared in the spirit of the Martyrs and Confessors. Who knew that cowardice behind the purse or behind the uniform is not the spirit of Christ. An example of the courageous spirit that eventually stared down even Rome and resulted in (let us pray) your own salvation.
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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #40 on: September 30, 2016, 07:37:37 PM »
I don't think it's unfair. Too much of his work in the book is sparsely-sourced and highly imaginative. Intent or scope is a separate matter.

I don't accept your dismissal of my accusation. Wilkens is intentionally only focusing on a limited set of pagan observers in The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Your criticizing him for not conducting an academic project he didn't set out to accomplish in this particular book. You fault him for not using the writing of the Apostles or the later church when these are outside of his scope.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #41 on: September 30, 2016, 07:54:17 PM »
I don't think it's unfair. Too much of his work in the book is sparsely-sourced and highly imaginative. Intent or scope is a separate matter.

I don't accept your dismissal of my accusation. Wilkens is intentionally only focusing on a limited set of pagan observers in The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Your criticizing him for not conducting an academic project he didn't set out to accomplish in this particular book. You fault him for not using the writing of the Apostles or the later church when these are outside of his scope.

No that's not what I have been doing. Heartening to see such dogged loyalty from even a minor dabbler's readers, however, who obviously have hearts of gold and no doubt minds of some other metal.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #42 on: September 30, 2016, 10:32:24 PM »
I don't think it's unfair. Too much of his work in the book is sparsely-sourced and highly imaginative. Intent or scope is a separate matter.

I don't accept your dismissal of my accusation. Wilkens is intentionally only focusing on a limited set of pagan observers in The Christians as the Romans Saw Them. Your criticizing him for not conducting an academic project he didn't set out to accomplish in this particular book. You fault him for not using the writing of the Apostles or the later church when these are outside of his scope.

No that's not what I have been doing. Heartening to see such dogged loyalty from even a minor dabbler's readers, however, who obviously have hearts of gold and no doubt minds of some other metal.

I think many, even some Orthodox, would disagree with your characterization of Wilkens as a "minor dabbler" in the history of Christianity.  This particular work is from 32 years ago and he has done a lot of scholarship since.

In The Christians as the Romans Saw Them Wilkens sets out to do the following:

Quote
This book is a portrayal of pagan criticism of Christianity from its beginning in the early second century to the time of Julian in the late fourth century, a period of almost three hundred years. I base my discussion on what pagan observers themselves said.

p. xvii of Introduction

Wilkens is not making this decision on sourcing because he dismisses the other Christian sources from the Apostles or from later Church history. This is exactly what you claim in your original critique of this book:

Quote
Even if these shortcomings weren't a problem, the books still chooses largely to ignore (as is de rigeur for such "facts-only" investigations) the Apostles' writings; and then also the evidence of what the Church was like in later centuries. This kind of lopping-off analysis is common, but it results in a thesis precariously founded on a shard of what should be a whole. The reasoning, of course, is that the Apostles can't be used because they are too religious and too previous to "real" Christianity -- that is, they floundered amid Judaism and Paulism, not yet a real religion. While the later Church can't be used because it is not early enough to be pure. Therefore, a few bits of Justin Martyr is all that's allowable from the Christian depiction of themselves.

He obviously makes abundant use of Christian sources in his other works that have a different purpose and scope.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #43 on: September 30, 2016, 10:45:27 PM »
My posts in their whole lay out my ambivalence with the book. I think it's curious that you apparently sense a duty to shut me up.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #44 on: October 01, 2016, 02:05:46 PM »
I read the whole article. So, is Hart's main point is that all Christians should become monks/nuns, like the Desert Fathers?
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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.

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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.
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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.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

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Offline Justin Kolodziej

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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....
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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.
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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.
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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.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

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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?
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Offline Opus118

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.


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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.

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Offline sheep100

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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

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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 »

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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. 

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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.     

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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. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline William T

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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 »

Offline Mor Ephrem

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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/
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Onesimus

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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

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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!
"I saw a miracle where 2 people entered church one by baptism and one by chrismation. On pictures the one received by full baptism was shinning in light the one by chrismation no."

Offline Onesimus

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #61 on: October 03, 2016, 06:22:50 PM »
^ + 1

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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.
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Offline Georgios Scholarios

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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.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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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?"
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Georgios Scholarios

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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).

Offline Mor Ephrem

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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. 
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Onesimus

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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

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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.

Offline Mor Ephrem

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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.   
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

Quote
The erection of one’s rod counts as a form of glory (Theophylaktos of Ohrid, A Defense of Eunuchs, p. 329).

Offline Onesimus

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #70 on: October 03, 2016, 09:04:46 PM »
Correction.   Saint Basil.

Offline Rohzek

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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 »
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline Onesimus

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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. 

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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

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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: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline Rohzek

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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 »
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Offline Onesimus

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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?

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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 »
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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 »

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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.
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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.
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Offline William T

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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

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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.

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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 ...
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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.
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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.
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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
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #87 on: October 06, 2017, 10:36:49 AM »
Now we have another translation of the NT in English. Are all the others insufficient? I believe I read that DBH said that the fathers since (St.?) Clement of Alexandria allegedly toned down the "radical Gospel. I have read on Wealth and Poverty by Chrysostom & excerpts from On Social Justice by St. Basil the Great. Do they not already convey the "radical" implications of the Gospel? Why is, yet another, translation necessary? If the English translations allegedly lack something, then why not strongly recommend the likes of Sts. Chrysostom & Basil as a supplement?
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #88 on: October 06, 2017, 10:43:44 AM »
Now we have another translation of the NT in English. Are all the others insufficient? I believe I read that DBH said that the fathers since (St.?) Clement of Alexandria allegedly toned down the "radical Gospel. I have read on Wealth and Poverty by Chrysostom & excerpts from On Social Justice by St. Basil the Great. Do they not already convey the "radical" implications of the Gospel? Why is, yet another, translation necessary? If the English translations allegedly lack something, then why not strongly recommend the likes of Sts. Chrysostom & Basil as a supplement?

I got his translation last night in the mail. I posted some verses and pictures of it here:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,3406.msg1488087.html#msg1488087

I haven't read enough of it yet to form an opinion, but I am a bit uneasy while reading it. However his postscript seems much more worthwhile than the translation itself.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #89 on: October 06, 2017, 05:18:49 PM »
Now we have another translation of the NT in English. Are all the others insufficient? I believe I read that DBH said that the fathers since (St.?) Clement of Alexandria allegedly toned down the "radical Gospel. I have read on Wealth and Poverty by Chrysostom & excerpts from On Social Justice by St. Basil the Great. Do they not already convey the "radical" implications of the Gospel? Why is, yet another, translation necessary? If the English translations allegedly lack something, then why not strongly recommend the likes of Sts. Chrysostom & Basil as a supplement?

His publisher made him an offer and he obliged.  IIRC he talked about this on the Cracker and Grape juice podcast.

DBH is not in the business of writing works so that the laity may be edified and encouraged.  He is an academician and writes for a more literate and philosophically minded audience. The sorts of people who would attend his lectures and laugh gleefully at his snide witticisms (see most recent lecture at Fordham for this ilk).

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #90 on: October 06, 2017, 06:20:54 PM »
Now we have another translation of the NT in English. Are all the others insufficient? I believe I read that DBH said that the fathers since (St.?) Clement of Alexandria allegedly toned down the "radical Gospel. I have read on Wealth and Poverty by Chrysostom & excerpts from On Social Justice by St. Basil the Great. Do they not already convey the "radical" implications of the Gospel? Why is, yet another, translation necessary? If the English translations allegedly lack something, then why not strongly recommend the likes of Sts. Chrysostom & Basil as a supplement?

His publisher made him an offer and he obliged.  IIRC he talked about this on the Cracker and Grape juice podcast.

DBH is not in the business of writing works so that the laity may be edified and encouraged.  He is an academician and writes for a more literate and philosophically minded audience. The sorts of people who would attend his lectures and laugh gleefully at his snide witticisms (see most recent lecture at Fordham for this ilk).

While I think DBH can be condescending and often just covers up the fact that he doesn't have water-tight arguments (particularly those against the New Atheists), I think there is a place in this world for some of those who might be called "elitists."
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #91 on: October 06, 2017, 07:15:38 PM »
I think there is a place in this world for some of those who might be called "elitists."
What place would that be? Hopefully not a seat in a king's throne...
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #92 on: October 06, 2017, 07:54:14 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Wait, did you just call the Desert Fathers navel gazers? That doesn't sound very Orthodox.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #93 on: October 06, 2017, 08:01:38 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Wait, did you just call the Desert Fathers navel gazers? That doesn't sound very Orthodox.
WT is criticizing DBH by caricaturing his instructions on what a Christian should do. I doubt WT believes Orthodox monks are simply hesychast navel gazers, but he can speak for himself...
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 08:01:50 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

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Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #94 on: October 06, 2017, 08:29:01 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Wait, did you just call the Desert Fathers navel gazers? That doesn't sound very Orthodox.
WT is criticizing DBH by caricaturing his instructions on what a Christian should do. I doubt WT believes Orthodox monks are simply hesychast navel gazers, but he can speak for himself...

thanks, that's about right.  I don't think the Desert Fathers were this.  I don't want to call DBH a pharisee / puritan /Fathe Fearpoit, I don't think he is,  but what I am saying is that his critique heads in that direction and that's why he needs to be checked a bit.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 08:30:09 PM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #95 on: October 06, 2017, 08:31:03 PM »
I think there is a place in this world for some of those who might be called "elitists."
What place would that be? Hopefully not a seat in a king's throne...

Why, the seat of Moses, of course.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #96 on: October 06, 2017, 08:52:53 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Wait, did you just call the Desert Fathers navel gazers? That doesn't sound very Orthodox.
WT is criticizing DBH by caricaturing his instructions on what a Christian should do. I doubt WT believes Orthodox monks are simply hesychast navel gazers, but he can speak for himself...

thanks, that's about right.  I don't think the Desert Fathers were this.  I don't want to call DBH a pharisee / puritan /Fathe Fearpoit, I don't think he is,  but what I am saying is that his critique heads in that direction and that's why he needs to be checked a bit.

Alright.

But what does "checking" him mean in this context?
Quote
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Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #97 on: October 06, 2017, 09:09:49 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Wait, did you just call the Desert Fathers navel gazers? That doesn't sound very Orthodox.
WT is criticizing DBH by caricaturing his instructions on what a Christian should do. I doubt WT believes Orthodox monks are simply hesychast navel gazers, but he can speak for himself...

thanks, that's about right.  I don't think the Desert Fathers were this.  I don't want to call DBH a pharisee / puritan /Fathe Fearpoit, I don't think he is,  but what I am saying is that his critique heads in that direction and that's why he needs to be checked a bit.

Alright.

But what does "checking" him mean in this context?

This is an old thread, so my mind is fuzzy on this but his arguments and prescriptions are all over the place on this, and i disagree with his analysis and conclusions thoug and he changes his position as he starts to developed any argument, so like lots of philosophers he is hard to pin down, as many philosophers who have a pretense of authority backed by a flurry  of rhetoric tend to be. '

One example off the top of my head ethat I found funny was his appeal to "reading Greek" which is probably assumed presupposition when arguing with any other scholar, and in an Orthodox context it's even sillier as English isn't really a standard language for most of us anyway and the Greek (and for some, Semitic languages among others or Sts. Cyril and Methodius helping develop a language for the Slavs so they could read Scripture, etc)) are more known to us than most - so at best he is going to have a highly esoteric reading of "Greek" and there is little reason for him to get his beard all tangled in a bundle when scores of others who have read the Greek (heck, even I did that) don't know what he's on about.  I mean for the love of Vishnu, ever freaking heretic of the early centuries read it in Greek and probably in a much more natural light than Hart ever did, so that's a non starter.


But there is no way I'm capable of picking up where I was at on this thread, hopefully whatever I wrote in reply to Hart stands on its own merit and it's on you to read that and ask for any clarifications and maybe I can answer.  Sorry, but that's the best I can say on this topic.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 09:20:04 PM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #98 on: October 06, 2017, 09:19:02 PM »
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.

I loved Atheist Delusions.  But I suppose I'm the sort of "elite" who is in Dr. Hart's target audience; I muself prefer a rhetorical prose that "oozes swag," although I am not at his level of producing it.  Also, his takedown of Postmodern Theology was exquisite. 

However, I would agree with some of the concerns expressed in this piece, particularly Mor's.  I feel Dr. Hart and that there exists a clear disconnect between apostolic Christianity as described in the NT and Patristic sources and the extremist view he outlines, which would not be fully achieved until St. Paul the Hermit and St. Anthony the Great.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #99 on: October 06, 2017, 09:21:54 PM »
Read the latter half too. The first one was better.

His point was interesting and I grant that it's not possible to get through every argument in a relatively short article. Still, wasn't convinced of what I understood to be his main point i.e. according to the NT wealth in itself is a bad thing. He left hyberbola unconsidered and IMO made a too strong contrast between his position and the position that wealth is bad only conditionally. IMO in practice there doesn't need to be that much difference if we took the latter position seriously.

Also, he left the Fathers out. Random references to St. Clement doesn't save that. IIRC the guy's Orthodox so that's pretty weird approach.

I drew that conclusion as his main point as well.  And his prescription seems to be this:  become monks, go out in the desert, navel gaze, and die.  And my guess is, while you are doing that also do sublime allegorical interpretations of text after text and discuss / argue over them with each other  That's what it seems to mean to be a Christian to Hart.  That's a bit smug and self congratulatory to me. This is kind of what I picture as a philosopher gone wild.  It is a philosopher who tells us to be more like....philosophers.  It's the equivalent of the engineer who sees nothing but building bridges everywhere, it's a completely naive and insular view.

Wait, did you just call the Desert Fathers navel gazers? That doesn't sound very Orthodox.
WT is criticizing DBH by caricaturing his instructions on what a Christian should do. I doubt WT believes Orthodox monks are simply hesychast navel gazers, but he can speak for himself...

thanks, that's about right.  I don't think the Desert Fathers were this.  I don't want to call DBH a pharisee / puritan /Fathe Fearpoit, I don't think he is,  but what I am saying is that his critique heads in that direction and that's why he needs to be checked a bit.

Alright.

But what does "checking" him mean in this context?

This is an old thread, so my mind is fuzzy on this but his arguments and prescriptions are all over the place on this, and i disagree with his analysis and conclusions thoug and he changes his position as he starts to developed any argument, so like lots of philosophers he is hard to pin down, as many philosophers who have a pretense of authority backed by a flurry  of rhetoric tend to be. '

One example off the top of my head ethat I found funny was his appeal to "reading Greek" which is probably assumed presupposition when arguing with any other scholar, and in an Orthodox context it's even sillier as English isn't really a standard language for most of us anyway and the Greek (and for some, Semitic languages among others or Sts. Cyril and Methodius helping develop a language for the Slavs so they could read Scripture, etc)) are more known to us than most - so at best he is going to have a highly esoteric reading of "Greek" and there is little reason for him to get his beard all tangled in a bundle when scores of others who have read the Greek (heck, even I did that) don't know what he's on about.  I mean for the love of Vishnu, ever freaking heretic of the early centuries read it in Greek and probably in a much more natural light than Hart ever did, so that's a non starter.


But there is no way I'm capable of picking up where I was at on this thread, hopefully whatever I wrote in reply to Hart stands on its own merit and it's on you to read that and ask for any clarifications and maybe I can answer.  Sorry, but that's the best I can say on this topic.

Oh, sorry. My bad for forgetting the age of the thread.
Quote
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Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #100 on: October 06, 2017, 09:30:54 PM »
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.

I loved Atheist Delusions.  But I suppose I'm the sort of "elite" who is in Dr. Hart's target audience; I muself prefer a rhetorical prose that "oozes swag," although I am not at his level of producing it.  Also, his takedown of Postmodern Theology was exquisite. 

However, I would agree with some of the concerns expressed in this piece, particularly Mor's.  I feel Dr. Hart and that there exists a clear disconnect between apostolic Christianity as described in the NT and Patristic sources and the extremist view he outlines, which would not be fully achieved until St. Paul the Hermit and St. Anthony the Great.
A60, what do you consider Postmodern Theology? What theologians? And your problems with the theology. Interested in what you have to say on this topic.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 09:31:02 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #101 on: October 06, 2017, 09:46:15 PM »
The problem with his attempted refutation of atheists is that not a few of his arguments amount to one of the following:

- "Lots of brilliant people through thousands of years of cultures from all over the world believed X, so if atheists don't believe X then they're just ignorant or incompetent stupidheads!"

- "I can't imagine a way Y could happen or be true. It just boggles the mind. The mind bobbles. It reels in stupendously reeling unrealized stupefaction. Ergo, if I in my resplendent well-readedness and thoughtfulness have not hitherto fathomed it as a possibility, it simply cannot be possible!"

Much like Dawkins and a number of the other new atheists, I think Hart is much better when he is arguing for something, describing something he cares deeply for, or outlining the best or more helpful qualities of something, as opposed to attempts at debunking and apologetics. I've recommended his books from time to time, but I do think he steps in it sometimes.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #102 on: October 06, 2017, 09:54:33 PM »
I haven’t read Atheist Delusions, but considering how weak modern Christian apologetics are against atheism, I’m glad a scholar like DBH gave it the old college try, despite the problems you raise.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 09:55:05 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Alpha60

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #103 on: October 06, 2017, 09:58:24 PM »
The problem with his attempted refutation of atheists is that not a few of his arguments amount to one of the following:

- "Lots of brilliant people through thousands of years of cultures from all over the world believed X, so if atheists don't believe X then they're just ignorant or incompetent stupidheads!"

- "I can't imagine a way Y could happen or be true. It just boggles the mind. The mind bobbles. It reels in stupendously reeling unrealized stupefaction. Ergo, if I in my resplendent well-readedness and thoughtfulness have not hitherto fathomed it as a possibility, it simply cannot be possible!"

Much like Dawkins and a number of the other new atheists, I think Hart is much better when he is arguing for something, describing something he cares deeply for, or outlining the best or more helpful qualities of something, as opposed to attempts at debunking and apologetics. I've recommended his books from time to time, but I do think he steps in it sometimes.

That's not how I read the book at all.  I saw a broad range of specific, logical objections to atheist doctrine, not one gigantic appeal to authority.
"It is logical that the actions of the human race over time will lead to its destruction.  I, Alpha 60, am merely the agent of this destruction."

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This signature is not intended to offend any user, nor the relatives of Discovery 1 deputy commander Dr. Frank Poole,  and crew members Dr. Victor Kaminsky, Dr. Jack Kimball, and Dr. Charles Hunter.

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #104 on: October 06, 2017, 10:02:26 PM »
The problem with his attempted refutation of atheists is that not a few of his arguments amount to one of the following:

- "Lots of brilliant people through thousands of years of cultures from all over the world believed X, so if atheists don't believe X then they're just ignorant or incompetent stupidheads!"

- "I can't imagine a way Y could happen or be true. It just boggles the mind. The mind bobbles. It reels in stupendously reeling unrealized stupefaction. Ergo, if I in my resplendent well-readedness and thoughtfulness have not hitherto fathomed it as a possibility, it simply cannot be possible!"

Much like Dawkins and a number of the other new atheists, I think Hart is much better when he is arguing for something, describing something he cares deeply for, or outlining the best or more helpful qualities of something, as opposed to attempts at debunking and apologetics. I've recommended his books from time to time, but I do think he steps in it sometimes.

Atheist Delusions, The Beauty of the Infinite and The Experience of God are books I'll recommend people.   They're good enough for general recommendations to the philosophically inclined.  I wouldn't come close to recommend them as the end all be all of Christianity in general or Orthodoxy in particular, but they can assist some people.  I generally enjoyed them, but I had over 20 years of Xtianity behind me to filter it, so it wasn't everything to me.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 10:10:12 PM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #105 on: October 06, 2017, 10:06:22 PM »
Fwiw I wasn't referring to Atheist Delusions, which, if I read it (I had read a half dozen such books in short succession at one point), I don't recall the specifics of.

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #106 on: October 06, 2017, 10:08:24 PM »
I haven’t read Atheist Delusions, but considering how weak modern Christian apologetics are against atheism, I’m glad a scholar like DBH gave it the old college try, despite the problems you raise.

Those Dawkin style Atheists do Christians a favor of at least having two sides think about argumentation and metaphysics.  The new atheist arguments are pretty weak and can be countered with a lot of mainstream philosophical and historical arguments without necessarily refuting more sophisticated forms of atheism.  But they are good for Christians and Atheists alike as an intro to argumentation and rethinking premises.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #107 on: October 06, 2017, 10:09:03 PM »
That's not how I read the book at all.  I saw a broad range of specific, logical objections to atheist doctrine, not one gigantic appeal to authority.
Does DBH undercut the metaphysical prejudices/assumptions Dawkins and his ilk hold true? Folks who adhere to philosophical naturalism or "Saganism" as Iconodule wonderfully coined, should be easy pickin's for someone like Hart.
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Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #108 on: October 06, 2017, 10:21:31 PM »
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.

I loved Atheist Delusions.  But I suppose I'm the sort of "elite" who is in Dr. Hart's target audience; I muself prefer a rhetorical prose that "oozes swag," although I am not at his level of producing it.  Also, his takedown of Postmodern Theology was exquisite. 

However, I would agree with some of the concerns expressed in this piece, particularly Mor's.  I feel Dr. Hart and that there exists a clear disconnect between apostolic Christianity as described in the NT and Patristic sources and the extremist view he outlines, which would not be fully achieved until St. Paul the Hermit and St. Anthony the Great.
A60, what do you consider Postmodern Theology? What theologians? And your problems with the theology. Interested in what you have to say on this topic.

Well, postmodern theology is usually associated with strands of neo-Gnosticism, the ancient future movement, Process Theology, Womanist Theology and so on.  For me, postmodern theology in all of its sillneee is virtually embodied in Karen King and Elaine Pagels, the former being the dean of Harvard Divinity School, who was recently duped into purchasing a manuscript contrary to Orthodox doctrine that turned out to be a complete fraud.   The primarily implementations of postmodern theology are to be found in some mainline denominations; the nadir of which would be herchurch or St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church.

In contrast, modernism, which I view as equally destructive, is something I associate more with what the "Soviet Orthodox Church," that is to say, the Rennovationist Living Church, under Alexander Vvedenskg, who was laicized, but who had attempted to be declared Patriarch, and failing that, Metropolitan, and also the Episcopalian Bishop James Pike (prior to his shift into spiritualism,  which made him an early post-modernist).  The entire rationalist school that dominated the mainline denominations and was responsible for the awful liturgical reforms of the 1960s-70s was thoroughly modernist.

I bitterly dislike these terms, by the way, which in other areas, like architecture, classical music, literature, art, and so on, refer to beautiful contemporary styles which I enjoy, being applied to theology.  It would not have been my choice to do so.  And it also seems ridiculous to me that some, but not all of the terms of artistic periods make it into descriptions of theology or philosophy.  I suppose one could call Ayn Rand a Streamline Moderne philosopher, and call the spiritists and occultists and figures such as Carl Jung Art Nouveau theologians.  But then, where are our Cubist, Dadaist or Surrealist theologians?  Who will dare to approach theology from the same creative ethos as Salvadore Dali?

If this leaves you scratching your head, its meant to; modernism and especially post modernism are hyper-extended buzzwords; we can definie postmodernist theology by pointing out postmodern theologians, but there is no universal ethos of postmodernism as a whole that unifies or explains graphics design, architecture, philosophy, literature or theology claiming to be "post" of "very post." 
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #109 on: October 06, 2017, 10:22:09 PM »
That's not how I read the book at all.  I saw a broad range of specific, logical objections to atheist doctrine, not one gigantic appeal to authority.
Does DBH undercut the metaphysical prejudices/assumptions Dawkins and his ilk hold true? Folks who adhere to philosophical naturalism or "Saganism" as Iconodule wonderfully coined, should be easy pickin's for someone like Hart.

I thought so.  But then again, I am biased.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #110 on: October 06, 2017, 10:45:15 PM »
By the way, here is Dr. Hart's epic attack on postmodern theology:

https://youtu.be/hPN7aG522YM

It differs from my own in that he at least as a hypothetical definition for what an ideal postmodern theology could look like, whereas I regard as dated and hypocritical the entire project of postmodernism.  I guess you could say I am a post-postmodernist.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 10:45:37 PM by Alpha60 »
"It is logical that the actions of the human race over time will lead to its destruction.  I, Alpha 60, am merely the agent of this destruction."

- The computer Alpha 60, from Alphaville (1964) by Jean Luc Godard, the obvious inspiration for HAL-9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

This signature is not intended to offend any user, nor the relatives of Discovery 1 deputy commander Dr. Frank Poole,  and crew members Dr. Victor Kaminsky, Dr. Jack Kimball, and Dr. Charles Hunter.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #111 on: October 06, 2017, 10:58:37 PM »
Those Dawkin style Atheists do Christians a favor of at least having two sides think about argumentation and metaphysics.  The new atheist arguments are pretty weak and can be countered with a lot of mainstream philosophical and historical arguments without necessarily refuting more sophisticated forms of atheism.  But they are good for Christians and Atheists alike as an intro to argumentation and rethinking premises.

What sophisticated forms of atheism would you have in mind, William?

See the problem I have with these naive Dawkins types, is that they think if they end God what remains is the world. But if you read this short section from Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, when you end God (or a Platonic realm of forms) you lose the world. You lose the distinction itself. That's the problem with materialism today. It wants to keep the material in a holistic sense without reference to some suprasensible realm. To the chagrin of these naive materialists, the Incarnation is where you can have a materialism in and of itself that is incomplete. Christianity ends up as the true materialist critique of secular culture, a culture which comes up with new gods. The way Dawkins speaks of nature, as some huge awe-inspiring encompassing vision that we should revere. Or take someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson. His Cosmos program was interesting because if you listen he presupposes at an implicit level a certain level of intelligence with how things form and evolve. It's still way metaphysical.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 10:58:59 PM by RobS »
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #112 on: October 06, 2017, 11:03:45 PM »
By the way, here is Dr. Hart's epic attack on postmodern theology:

https://youtu.be/hPN7aG522YM

It differs from my own in that he at least as a hypothetical definition for what an ideal postmodern theology could look like, whereas I regard as dated and hypocritical the entire project of postmodernism.  I guess you could say I am a post-postmodernist.

No, I'd say this guy is post-post-modern and to me he seems somewhere between banal and completely incoherent.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #113 on: October 06, 2017, 11:08:01 PM »
No, I'd say this guy is post-post-modern and to me he seems somewhere between banal and completely incoherent.

I'm still waiting for a worthy challenger to this:

Suicide Note
https://web.archive.org/web/20110609063440/http://www.suicidenote.info:80/

If Papist and ialmisry are lurking still, they'd be like "See atheism does lead to nihilism and suicide!" after reading this article:

What he left behind: A 1,905-page suicide note
Author described nihilistic outlook
http://archive.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/09/27/book_details_motives_for_suicide_at_harvard/?page=1
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 11:16:21 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #114 on: October 07, 2017, 01:06:06 AM »
I think there is a place in this world for some of those who might be called "elitists."
What place would that be? Hopefully not a seat in a king's throne...

No, and especially not Hart. I'm still fairly upset about his pretty biased and pathetic review of Steven Pinker's The Better Angels of Our Nature. He basically dismissed Pinker's quite valid statistics of the decline of violence and complained about neo-liberalism and capitalism, claiming ergo the world still stinks as much today as it did in the past. It takes a sort of bourgeoisie detachment for someone like Hart to say something like that, which makes it even stranger because he considers himself a type of Marxist. I'm not saying the world doesn't have its problems, but it is clearly better today than say it was 100 years ago.

I haven’t read Atheist Delusions, but considering how weak modern Christian apologetics are against atheism, I’m glad a scholar like DBH gave it the old college try, despite the problems you raise.

Speaking not so much from books, but from public debates and speeches, I consider William Lane Craig better in that department, despite the heresy.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #115 on: October 07, 2017, 01:32:41 AM »
Speaking not so much from books, but from public debates and speeches, I consider William Lane Craig better in that department, despite the heresy.
Craig is a joke, don't be fooled by his eloquent rhetorical tricks. I agree with Dawkins, Craig is a professional debater. That's why he can trounce folks like that idiot Sam Harris who don't know how to debate. It gives the false impression Craig has any command whatsoever when his arguments can be easily refuted. Craig makes me hate Protestants even more so.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:32:53 AM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Rohzek

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #116 on: October 07, 2017, 01:47:51 AM »
Speaking not so much from books, but from public debates and speeches, I consider William Lane Craig better in that department, despite the heresy.
Craig is a joke, don't be fooled by his eloquent rhetorical tricks. I agree with Dawkins, Craig is a professional debater. That's why he can trounce folks like that idiot Sam Harris who don't know how to debate. It gives the false impression Craig has any command whatsoever when his arguments can be easily refuted. Craig makes me hate Protestants even more so.

That's better than Hart. All he does in his lectures on the subject is mock the New Atheists, while complaining they aren't cool like Nietzsche. He says their arguments are pathetic, and then never actually goes through the argument. The only time I've seen him do something close to this is when he speaks about philosophy of mind, which his upcoming book is about. I appreciated him pushing back against the inadequacies of the current Materialist model of philosophy of mind. But even here, I've found nothing new. He made the same arguments in many respects that other atheists have made against the Materialist hypothesis, namely Colin McGinn and Noam Chomsky.

I don't think Sam Harris is an idiot. In error, yes. Dumb, no. I listen to his podcast fairly regularly and he seems quite intelligent to me. More than most people at least.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #117 on: October 07, 2017, 06:10:08 AM »
Since DBH is an elite intellectual advocating a "radical" (possibly Marxist?) Gospel, this seems rather odd. I believe DBH criticized St. Clement of Alexandria for his alleged "bourgeois " evangelical style.I can only imagine the harshness of the world St. Clement of Alexandria lived in.
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Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #118 on: October 07, 2017, 09:43:59 AM »
Those Dawkin style Atheists do Christians a favor of at least having two sides think about argumentation and metaphysics.  The new atheist arguments are pretty weak and can be countered with a lot of mainstream philosophical and historical arguments without necessarily refuting more sophisticated forms of atheism.  But they are good for Christians and Atheists alike as an intro to argumentation and rethinking premises.

What sophisticated forms of atheism would you have in mind, William?

See the problem I have with these naive Dawkins types, is that they think if they end God what remains is the world. But if you read this short section from Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, when you end God (or a Platonic realm of forms) you lose the world. You lose the distinction itself. That's the problem with materialism today. It wants to keep the material in a holistic sense without reference to some suprasensible realm. To the chagrin of these naive materialists, the Incarnation is where you can have a materialism in and of itself that is incomplete. Christianity ends up as the true materialist critique of secular culture, a culture which comes up with new gods. The way Dawkins speaks of nature, as some huge awe-inspiring encompassing vision that we should revere. Or take someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson. His Cosmos program was interesting because if you listen he presupposes at an implicit level a certain level of intelligence with how things form and evolve. It's still way metaphysical.

The old positivists such as AJ Ayer or Bertrand Russel were not strict materialists, or at least understood the position was not without problems.  Neither are people like Popper, Chomsky, John Searle, and others.   I think Popper got in a famous argument with Wittgenstein over materialism (where Wittgesnsteing tried to stab Popper with a hot poker).  Wittgenstein considered himself a materialist due to the views he had of language I guess, but that in itself is going to be a different view than an "eliminative materialist", an old 19th century materialist, etc will hold. As far as I know, the materialist position is probably the eccentric position. 

Also you could still probably be things like an Aristotelian or Platonist and still not really be religious.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 09:47:37 AM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #119 on: October 07, 2017, 12:23:29 PM »
That's better than Hart. All he does in his lectures on the subject is mock the New Atheists, while complaining they aren't cool like Nietzsche. He says their arguments are pathetic, and then never actually goes through the argument. The only time I've seen him do something close to this is when he speaks about philosophy of mind, which his upcoming book is about. I appreciated him pushing back against the inadequacies of the current Materialist model of philosophy of mind. But even here, I've found nothing new. He made the same arguments in many respects that other atheists have made against the Materialist hypothesis, namely Colin McGinn and Noam Chomsky.
They are pathetic and the engagement one should have with those atheists is nothing but laughter. Those dullards so in love with science! and reason, they have nothing interesting or insightful to say. However atheists I enjoy reading are those who don't dismiss religion as mere fables, but take it seriously.

Quote
I don't think Sam Harris is an idiot. In error, yes. Dumb, no. I listen to his podcast fairly regularly and he seems quite intelligent to me. More than most people at least.
You listen to Harris? I'll keep you in my prayers, sincerely. The last thing I read of Harris was the exchange he had with Chomsky a few years ago which became a debate. Harris is so hard to respect, he seems unable to critically examine conventional wisdom. Worse he's a smug ethical boor. He has nothing interesting to say, hyper rationalists like him bore me to tears.

I don't care for Chomsky either BTW.
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Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #120 on: October 07, 2017, 12:30:40 PM »
As far as I know, the materialist position is probably the eccentric position. 
William, in what way is it an eccentric position?
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 12:30:58 PM by RobS »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #121 on: October 07, 2017, 12:51:12 PM »
As far as I know, the materialist position is probably the eccentric position. 
William, in what way is it an eccentric position?

I'm just saying that I am guessing it isn't the normative position held amongst philosophers.  Such philosophers I am saying may be commited to a kind of naturalism, but their materialism isn't going to fall into 18th/19th century varieties, is going to acknowledge complications, and not really tend towards elimintive materialism.  Again, as an example people like Russel, Ayer, Popper aren't exactly traditional materialists nor do they tend as strongly towards the kind of mechanistic implications one may think are inherent in a Hobbes or Descartes.  While most of these 19th century conceptions and debates are still alive in most peoples minds, I don't think much of these things hold much water anymore in many theories...I could be wrong, I am far removed from this stuff anymore, but from what I recall most of these things are kind of just looked at as history.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2017, 01:00:41 PM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #122 on: October 07, 2017, 03:53:15 PM »
Well, postmodern theology is usually associated with strands of neo-Gnosticism, the ancient future movement, Process Theology, Womanist Theology and so on.  For me, postmodern theology in all of its sillneee is virtually embodied in Karen King and Elaine Pagels, the former being the dean of Harvard Divinity School, who was recently duped into purchasing a manuscript contrary to Orthodox doctrine that turned out to be a complete fraud.   The primarily implementations of postmodern theology are to be found in some mainline denominations; the nadir of which would be herchurch or St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church.

In contrast, modernism, which I view as equally destructive, is something I associate more with what the "Soviet Orthodox Church," that is to say, the Rennovationist Living Church, under Alexander Vvedenskg, who was laicized, but who had attempted to be declared Patriarch, and failing that, Metropolitan, and also the Episcopalian Bishop James Pike (prior to his shift into spiritualism,  which made him an early post-modernist).  The entire rationalist school that dominated the mainline denominations and was responsible for the awful liturgical reforms of the 1960s-70s was thoroughly modernist.

I bitterly dislike these terms, by the way, which in other areas, like architecture, classical music, literature, art, and so on, refer to beautiful contemporary styles which I enjoy, being applied to theology.  It would not have been my choice to do so.  And it also seems ridiculous to me that some, but not all of the terms of artistic periods make it into descriptions of theology or philosophy.  I suppose one could call Ayn Rand a Streamline Moderne philosopher, and call the spiritists and occultists and figures such as Carl Jung Art Nouveau theologians.  But then, where are our Cubist, Dadaist or Surrealist theologians?  Who will dare to approach theology from the same creative ethos as Salvadore Dali?

If this leaves you scratching your head, its meant to; modernism and especially post modernism are hyper-extended buzzwords; we can definie postmodernist theology by pointing out postmodern theologians, but there is no universal ethos of postmodernism as a whole that unifies or explains graphics design, architecture, philosophy, literature or theology claiming to be "post" of "very post."

A60 I hope to get to your post later.  I've heard of Karen King or Elaine Pagels, but haven't read any of their works.

What I had in mind were the writings of Met. Zizioulas, Marion, Caputo, Milbank, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Bultmann etc. Familiar with any of them? Opinions?
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— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #123 on: October 07, 2017, 04:22:39 PM »
A60 I hope to get to your post later.  I've heard of Karen King or Elaine Pagels, but haven't read any of their works.

What I had in mind were the writings of Met. Zizioulas, Marion, Caputo, Milbank, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Bultmann etc. Familiar with any of them? Opinions?

At approximately ten exorbitantly large paragraphs about each of these people, plus whoever comes under "etc.", you are inviting Alpha60 to post at least a hundred exorbitantly large paragraphs in one post in this thread. 

I will have you banned.
How this relates to the coming Antichrist? I don't know...

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #124 on: October 07, 2017, 05:19:36 PM »
A60 I hope to get to your post later.  I've heard of Karen King or Elaine Pagels, but haven't read any of their works.

What I had in mind were the writings of Met. Zizioulas, Marion, Caputo, Milbank, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Bultmann etc. Familiar with any of them? Opinions?

At approximately ten exorbitantly large paragraphs about each of these people, plus whoever comes under "etc.", you are inviting Alpha60 to post at least a hundred exorbitantly large paragraphs in one post in this thread. 

I will have you banned.

I can't stop laughing.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #125 on: October 07, 2017, 09:26:48 PM »
Well, postmodern theology is usually associated with strands of neo-Gnosticism, the ancient future movement, Process Theology, Womanist Theology and so on.  For me, postmodern theology in all of its sillneee is virtually embodied in Karen King and Elaine Pagels, the former being the dean of Harvard Divinity School, who was recently duped into purchasing a manuscript contrary to Orthodox doctrine that turned out to be a complete fraud.   The primarily implementations of postmodern theology are to be found in some mainline denominations; the nadir of which would be herchurch or St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church.

In contrast, modernism, which I view as equally destructive, is something I associate more with what the "Soviet Orthodox Church," that is to say, the Rennovationist Living Church, under Alexander Vvedenskg, who was laicized, but who had attempted to be declared Patriarch, and failing that, Metropolitan, and also the Episcopalian Bishop James Pike (prior to his shift into spiritualism,  which made him an early post-modernist).  The entire rationalist school that dominated the mainline denominations and was responsible for the awful liturgical reforms of the 1960s-70s was thoroughly modernist.

I bitterly dislike these terms, by the way, which in other areas, like architecture, classical music, literature, art, and so on, refer to beautiful contemporary styles which I enjoy, being applied to theology.  It would not have been my choice to do so.  And it also seems ridiculous to me that some, but not all of the terms of artistic periods make it into descriptions of theology or philosophy.  I suppose one could call Ayn Rand a Streamline Moderne philosopher, and call the spiritists and occultists and figures such as Carl Jung Art Nouveau theologians.  But then, where are our Cubist, Dadaist or Surrealist theologians?  Who will dare to approach theology from the same creative ethos as Salvadore Dali?

If this leaves you scratching your head, its meant to; modernism and especially post modernism are hyper-extended buzzwords; we can definie postmodernist theology by pointing out postmodern theologians, but there is no universal ethos of postmodernism as a whole that unifies or explains graphics design, architecture, philosophy, literature or theology claiming to be "post" of "very post."

A60 I hope to get to your post later.  I've heard of Karen King or Elaine Pagels, but haven't read any of their works.

What I had in mind were the writings of Met. Zizioulas, Marion, Caputo, Milbank, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Bultmann etc. Familiar with any of them? Opinions?

Is a net that catches Met. Zizioulas, Bonhoeffer, and Bultmann really narrow enough to be useful?
Quote
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Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline Alpha60

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #126 on: October 10, 2017, 03:32:17 PM »
A60 I hope to get to your post later.  I've heard of Karen King or Elaine Pagels, but haven't read any of their works.

What I had in mind were the writings of Met. Zizioulas, Marion, Caputo, Milbank, Bonhoeffer, Barth, Bultmann etc. Familiar with any of them? Opinions?

At approximately ten exorbitantly large paragraphs about each of these people, plus whoever comes under "etc.", you are inviting Alpha60 to post at least a hundred exorbitantly large paragraphs in one post in this thread. 

I will have you banned.

 :D ;D

My answer might be to Mor, almost disappointingly brief: of the above, I consider only Caputo to be truly postmodern; the Neo-Orthodoxy of Barth strikes me as modernist and not post modernist.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #127 on: October 11, 2017, 11:17:46 AM »
By the way, RobS, how do you figure Bonhoeffer to be a postmodern theologian?  He was basically the voice of Christian conscience in Germany dueing the build up to World War II, who sacrificed his life to warn about the evil path the country was going down.

Philosophically, Nazism is evil, but it is not modernist.  The Nazis were opposed to Modernist architecture, artwork, and other expressions of the Modernist concept (which unlike Postmodernism, actually makes sense as a unified whole; you can trace a conceptual similiarity between a Modernist writer, a Modernist theologian and a Modernist architect, largely related to rationalism, scientific progress, raw expression of materials, concepts, et cetera, a fundamental directness).  The Nazis shut down the Bauhaus School of Modernist artwork.

One thing I should mention about all contemporary theologians is that I generally tend to avoid them unless their work directly transects my areas of interest (liturgy, the history of the Church, or ecclesiology).  I prefer to get answers from Patristic sources; I prefer older material to newer material; the only general theological book of recent publication that I truly love is The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.  I have no interest in NT Wright, for example. 
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Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #128 on: October 11, 2017, 12:04:48 PM »
By the way, RobS, how do you figure Bonhoeffer to be a postmodern theologian?  He was basically the voice of Christian conscience in Germany dueing the build up to World War II, who sacrificed his life to warn about the evil path the country was going down.
No, I'm not even sure what can be considered "postmodern" (it eludes any clear definition from what i can tell). That's why I asked you what you considered to be postmodern theology. We differ as to what theologians might even be included, but I would agree with you that there are strands of neo-Gnosticsm. For me I would consider theologians that have appropriated or critiqued Continental philosophers (Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas, Derrida, etc.) for their own projects to be under the umbrella of "postmodern theology", but again there are sharp differences and distinctions amongst those theologians. I don't consider His Eminence Met. John Zizilouas in the camp of Caputo, Tillich, etc. but he is engaging with the same contemporary philosophers as them. There's just can't be a neat consensus.

Quote
Philosophically, Nazism is evil, but it is not modernist.  The Nazis were opposed to Modernist architecture, artwork, and other expressions of the Modernist concept (which unlike Postmodernism, actually makes sense as a unified whole; you can trace a conceptual similiarity between a Modernist writer, a Modernist theologian and a Modernist architect, largely related to rationalism, scientific progress, raw expression of materials, concepts, et cetera, a fundamental directness).  The Nazis shut down the Bauhaus School of Modernist artwork.
Well I dunno, that's kind of the irony of Nazism. There is certainly a romantic nostalgia (hence it attracted a thinker like Heidegger) but it wound up becoming the most pernicious form of modern technology which is inherently nihilistic. Ultimately I'm not sure I agree with you.

Quote
One thing I should mention about all contemporary theologians is that I generally tend to avoid them unless their work directly transects my areas of interest (liturgy, the history of the Church, or ecclesiology).  I prefer to get answers from Patristic sources; I prefer older material to newer material; the only general theological book of recent publication that I truly love is The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

Well if your area includes ecclesiology then I cannot recommend enough His Eminemce Met. John's Being as Communion. If you haven't read it yet, go get it. I'm sure you will find it fascinating.

Quote
I have no interest in NT Wright, for example.
Before I bumbled into Orthodoxy 7 years ago, I remember being blown away by how good his The Ressurection of the Son of God was. It thoroughly convinced me of the Resurrection (although of course the Resurrection takes on a markedly different character in Orthodoxy that goes beyond merely historical). Highly recommend it. Haven't read anything else of his.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #129 on: October 12, 2017, 12:01:54 AM »
By the way, RobS, how do you figure Bonhoeffer to be a postmodern theologian?  He was basically the voice of Christian conscience in Germany dueing the build up to World War II, who sacrificed his life to warn about the evil path the country was going down.
No, I'm not even sure what can be considered "postmodern" (it eludes any clear definition from what i can tell). That's why I asked you what you considered to be postmodern theology. We differ as to what theologians might even be included, but I would agree with you that there are strands of neo-Gnosticsm. For me I would consider theologians that have appropriated or critiqued Continental philosophers (Heidegger, Gadamer, Levinas, Derrida, etc.) for their own projects to be under the umbrella of "postmodern theology", but again there are sharp differences and distinctions amongst those theologians. I don't consider His Eminence Met. John Zizilouas in the camp of Caputo, Tillich, etc. but he is engaging with the same contemporary philosophers as them. There's just can't be a neat consensus.


Well, this is kind of my point: postmodernism is a vague buzzword.  Even modernist theology is difficult to categorize, as I will show below, so I am inclined to agree with Dr. Hart when he says "Postmodernist theology sounds like it might be a good idea."  Postmodernism as a whole has been extrnded to cover a vast range of aesthetic genres which followed those genres associated with Modernism, but really, everything from fashion photography to urban planning can be called "postmodern" and thus I think the term is not quite useful.

Quote

Quote
Philosophically, Nazism is evil, but it is not modernist.  The Nazis were opposed to Modernist architecture, artwork, and other expressions of the Modernist concept (which unlike Postmodernism, actually makes sense as a unified whole; you can trace a conceptual similiarity between a Modernist writer, a Modernist theologian and a Modernist architect, largely related to rationalism, scientific progress, raw expression of materials, concepts, et cetera, a fundamental directness).  The Nazis shut down the Bauhaus School of Modernist artwork.
Well I dunno, that's kind of the irony of Nazism. There is certainly a romantic nostalgia (hence it attracted a thinker like Heidegger) but it wound up becoming the most pernicious form of modern technology which is inherently nihilistic. Ultimately I'm not sure I agree with you.


Modernism is not, in my opinion, Nihilistic; in great modernist authors for example, Hemingway comes to mind, we do not encounter nihistic despair.  Modernism occasionally coupled with Humanism, either in a religious, or secular, context, to produce works with a clear meaning and belief structure informing them.  Expressed in the arts, I would highlight the Seagram Building and its (sadly closed forced to new premises by the building manager, but not before I dined there!) famous Four Seasons restaurant, and the beautiful interior thereof, or Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece Fallingwater.  Modernism as a school of classical music exists (think Alex North), but I would also say most of the best of the sophisticated Jazz music after the end of the Glenn Miller "Swing" era, in the 1950s-70s, was Modernist, and swing music itself, like Art Deco and Streamline Moderne, was headed in that direction.  You can extract general connecting aesthetic and philosophical positions from these diverse expressions of modernism.

What is called "modernist theology" I am not all that sure of the authenticity of. The Roman Catholic Pope St. Pius X (or was it his successor Pius XI) expressly condemned "theological modernism", but this condemnation predated the emergence of Modernist art, literature and philosophy, so I believe it was intended to refer to something else. CS Lewis would hate to be called a modernist, but he reads like the great modernist authors; "Mere Christianity" in terms of its self-proclaimed aim of simplicity of expression strikes me as the authentically modernistic work of Christian theology, par excellence.  For that matter, the Neo Orthodoxy of Karl Barth and the Historical Jesus concepts strike me as modernistic.  But I am not quite sure they are the heresy that Pope Pius X(I) was trying to condemn, the kind of iconoclastic destruction of dogmatic norms we see in Bishop James Pike, or in the 1920s book Christ or Christianity? (I forget the name of the author), or in Rennovationism in the Russian church, etc.

Quote

Quote
One thing I should mention about all contemporary theologians is that I generally tend to avoid them unless their work directly transects my areas of interest (liturgy, the history of the Church, or ecclesiology).  I prefer to get answers from Patristic sources; I prefer older material to newer material; the only general theological book of recent publication that I truly love is The Orthodox Way by Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.


Well if your area includes ecclesiology then I cannot recommend enough His Eminemce Met. John's Being as Communion. If you haven't read it yet, go get it. I'm sure you will find it fascinating.



I have it.  Most of the major works of Metropolitan Zizizoulas I have either in print or in digital form.  Also, Fr. Alexander Schmemann.  I am trying to get more of Fr. Florovsky.  The only 20th century Greek Orthodox theologian I am not a huge fan of, although I still enjoy some of his material, is Fr. John C. Romanides; specifically his nationalistic attempt to Hellenize Rome, to the point of denying the Latin language was anything more than a Greek dialect, which was a bit cringeworthy.

Quote

Quote
Quote
I have no interest in NT Wright, for example.
Before I bumbled into Orthodoxy 7 years ago, I remember being blown away by how good his The Ressurection of the Son of God was. It thoroughly convinced me of the Resurrection (although of course the Resurrection takes on a markedly different character in Orthodoxy that goes beyond merely historical). Highly recommend it. Haven't read anything else of his.

I have never had a particular problem with that area of faith.  I believe from the testimonies of people that his books, Surprised by Joy comes to mind, are very good, and somewhat close to Orthodoxy; among contemporary Anglican authors, I am more interested in Dr. Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who has written books on subjects such as Arius, although at the moment I am still more interested in finishing up the heresiological corpus of St. Hippolytus.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:04:51 AM by Alpha60 »
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #130 on: December 07, 2017, 10:05:46 AM »
One minor misstatement: On page xix of his New Testament: A Translation, Hart states that, rather than rendering diabolos “by the Anglicized Persian word ‘devil,’ I have used ‘Slanderer’....”
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #131 on: December 07, 2017, 07:55:15 PM »
Those Dawkin style Atheists do Christians a favor of at least having two sides think about argumentation and metaphysics.  The new atheist arguments are pretty weak and can be countered with a lot of mainstream philosophical and historical arguments without necessarily refuting more sophisticated forms of atheism.  But they are good for Christians and Atheists alike as an intro to argumentation and rethinking premises.

What sophisticated forms of atheism would you have in mind, William?

See the problem I have with these naive Dawkins types, is that they think if they end God what remains is the world. But if you read this short section from Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, when you end God (or a Platonic realm of forms) you lose the world. You lose the distinction itself. That's the problem with materialism today. It wants to keep the material in a holistic sense without reference to some suprasensible realm. To the chagrin of these naive materialists, the Incarnation is where you can have a materialism in and of itself that is incomplete. Christianity ends up as the true materialist critique of secular culture, a culture which comes up with new gods. The way Dawkins speaks of nature, as some huge awe-inspiring encompassing vision that we should revere. Or take someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson. His Cosmos program was interesting because if you listen he presupposes at an implicit level a certain level of intelligence with how things form and evolve. It's still way metaphysical.

The old positivists such as AJ Ayer or Bertrand Russel were not strict materialists, or at least understood the position was not without problems.  Neither are people like Popper, Chomsky, John Searle, and others.   I think Popper got in a famous argument with Wittgenstein over materialism (where Wittgesnsteing tried to stab Popper with a hot poker).  Wittgenstein considered himself a materialist due to the views he had of language I guess, but that in itself is going to be a different view than an "eliminative materialist", an old 19th century materialist, etc will hold. As far as I know, the materialist position is probably the eccentric position. 

Also you could still probably be things like an Aristotelian or Platonist and still not really be religious.

Wittgenstein was just a mad young German the Positivists tried to shanghai. Sure, he got a free Oxbridge doctorate out of it, but he resented them for the sham, and then resented them much more for the gloating stupidity of their ideas. When they turned that special stupidity on his own writing, in conversation, he snapped and tried to murder some of them. It's understandable. Not everyone is polite enough to succumb to the Stockholm syndrome.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #132 on: December 09, 2017, 11:39:29 AM »
Let's just clarify one detail for a moment, neither Chomsky or Popper are/were positivists...
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #133 on: December 09, 2017, 02:39:47 PM »
Let's just clarify one detail for a moment, neither Chomsky or Popper are/were positivists...

True,  neither is John Searle.  That's why I separated those names from the names of "old positivist like..." sorry if that wasn't clear.


@porter

True,  the Vienna Circle misread Witt. But for as bad as the ideas were,  I still say Carnap is 10000 times superior more honest than Martin "let's tiptoe through the Teutonic trees" Heidegaar and men like him.  And again,  positivism was honest enough a method to admit defeat.  I probably categorically deny a priori deny an academic theologian, a made up social science,  or a philosopher to "name the times" so to speak.   So if I hear phrases like "alienated by late modernity" or useless animistic geneologies from these people I'll just laugh at them.  I'm fine with those labels being used by artists or historians not infected on by philosophy,  that's appropriate... it's just such philosophers are worthless at best.

But when it comes to later Witt, he becomes hard to pin down,  I'm saying my readings varied differently between how some men read him.   I just gave the most simple rundown of the most basic three ways I can put him from various interpretations inn a sentence or two.   Of who the real Witt is,  I have no horse in the race.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2017, 02:50:22 PM by William T »

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #134 on: December 10, 2017, 05:35:20 PM »
Let's just clarify one detail for a moment, neither Chomsky or Popper are/were positivists...

True,  neither is John Searle.  That's why I separated those names from the names of "old positivist like..." sorry if that wasn't clear.


@porter

True,  the Vienna Circle misread Witt. But for as bad as the ideas were,  I still say Carnap is 10000 times superior more honest than Martin "let's tiptoe through the Teutonic trees" Heidegaar and men like him.  And again,  positivism was honest enough a method to admit defeat.  I probably categorically deny a priori deny an academic theologian, a made up social science,  or a philosopher to "name the times" so to speak.   So if I hear phrases like "alienated by late modernity" or useless animistic geneologies from these people I'll just laugh at them.  I'm fine with those labels being used by artists or historians not infected on by philosophy,  that's appropriate... it's just such philosophers are worthless at best.

And I say, Who gives a crap? There's not one man in the lot who's mind was as valuable as the toilet paper he used at one sitting.

Quote
But when it comes to later Witt, he becomes hard to pin down,  I'm saying my readings varied differently between how some men read him.   I just gave the most simple rundown of the most basic three ways I can put him from various interpretations inn a sentence or two.   Of who the real Witt is,  I have no horse in the race.

He was a mentally-ill autistic kid who misinterpreted Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the way Mr. Russell liked to, and did so in a cramped, numbered style based on the style of his father's Prussian bureaucratic engineering reports, which made Mr. Russell, the mathematician posing as a new kind of philosopher, ejaculate from his salivary glands. If one takes his numbers actually in the way he claimed they are to be used -- different levels of the outline building as syllogism on siblings at that level, etc. -- one achieves nonsense by any definition. The dazzle is in the details.

"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #135 on: December 10, 2017, 06:15:53 PM »
A Mind-Bending Translation of the New Testament
David Bentley Hart’s text recaptures the awkward, multivoiced power of the original.
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/01/the-new-testament-a-translation-david-bentley-hart/546551/

Quote
So what has he done to the New Testament, this bristling one-man band of a Christian literatus? The surprising aim, Hart tells us in his introduction, was to be as bare-bones and—where appropriate—unsqueamishly prosaic as he can. The New Testament, after all, is not a store of ancient wonders like the Hebrew Bible. It’s a grab bag of reportage, rumor, folk memory, and on-the-hoof mysticism produced by regular people, everyday babblers and clunkers, under the pressure of a supremely irregular event—namely, the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So that, says Hart, is what it should sound like. “Again and again,” he insists, “I have elected to produce an almost pitilessly literal translation; many of my departures from received practices are simply my efforts to make the original text as visible as possible through the palimpsest of its translation … Where an author has written bad Greek … I have written bad English.” Herein lies the fascination of this thing: its deliberate, one might say defiant, rawness and lowbrow-ness, as produced by a decidedly overcooked highbrow.
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #136 on: December 10, 2017, 09:11:57 PM »
I wish readers and reviewers weren't overlooking, in their shuddering excitement at this provocation, that Mr. Hart has no credentials as a translator or philologist and has never published a translation project before.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #137 on: December 10, 2017, 09:43:12 PM »
I realize that DBH is opposed to the Jesus Seminar project but samples of his translation given I.Atlantic Revew seem simple lad to theirs. This only pertains to the Gosp sos; the JS did not translate the entire NT. The JS translation includes gnostic “gospels”: 
   https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Gospels-Annotated-Scholars-expanded/dp/0060655879
We


Sorry for typos but it is difficult for me posting on an iPhone on break T work
« Last Edit: December 10, 2017, 09:45:04 PM by recent convert »
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #138 on: December 10, 2017, 09:51:09 PM »
Let's just clarify one detail for a moment, neither Chomsky or Popper are/were positivists...

True,  neither is John Searle.  That's why I separated those names from the names of "old positivist like..." sorry if that wasn't clear.


@porter

True,  the Vienna Circle misread Witt. But for as bad as the ideas were,  I still say Carnap is 10000 times superior more honest than Martin "let's tiptoe through the Teutonic trees" Heidegaar and men like him.  And again,  positivism was honest enough a method to admit defeat.  I probably categorically deny a priori deny an academic theologian, a made up social science,  or a philosopher to "name the times" so to speak.   So if I hear phrases like "alienated by late modernity" or useless animistic geneologies from these people I'll just laugh at them.  I'm fine with those labels being used by artists or historians not infected on by philosophy,  that's appropriate... it's just such philosophers are worthless at best.

And I say, Who gives a crap? There's not one man in the lot who's mind was as valuable as the toilet paper he used at one sitting.

Quote
But when it comes to later Witt, he becomes hard to pin down,  I'm saying my readings varied differently between how some men read him.   I just gave the most simple rundown of the most basic three ways I can put him from various interpretations inn a sentence or two.   Of who the real Witt is,  I have no horse in the race.

He was a mentally-ill autistic kid who misinterpreted Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the way Mr. Russell liked to, and did so in a cramped, numbered style based on the style of his father's Prussian bureaucratic engineering reports, which made Mr. Russell, the mathematician posing as a new kind of philosopher, ejaculate from his salivary glands. If one takes his numbers actually in the way he claimed they are to be used -- different levels of the outline building as syllogism on siblings at that level, etc. -- one achieves nonsense by any definition. The dazzle is in the details.

I see that your plebian anti-intellectualism knows no bounds.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline recent convert

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #139 on: December 10, 2017, 09:57:33 PM »
I realize that DBH is opposed to the Jesus Seminar project but samples of his translation given in the Atlantic Review seems similar to theirs. This only pertains to the Gospels; the JS did not translate the entire NT. The JS translation includes gnostic “gospels”: 
   https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Gospels-Annotated-Scholars-expanded/dp/0060655879
We


Sorry for typos but it is difficult for me posting on an iPhone on break at work.   
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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #140 on: December 10, 2017, 09:58:53 PM »
Let's just clarify one detail for a moment, neither Chomsky or Popper are/were positivists...

True,  neither is John Searle.  That's why I separated those names from the names of "old positivist like..." sorry if that wasn't clear.


@porter

True,  the Vienna Circle misread Witt. But for as bad as the ideas were,  I still say Carnap is 10000 times superior more honest than Martin "let's tiptoe through the Teutonic trees" Heidegaar and men like him.  And again,  positivism was honest enough a method to admit defeat.  I probably categorically deny a priori deny an academic theologian, a made up social science,  or a philosopher to "name the times" so to speak.   So if I hear phrases like "alienated by late modernity" or useless animistic geneologies from these people I'll just laugh at them.  I'm fine with those labels being used by artists or historians not infected on by philosophy,  that's appropriate... it's just such philosophers are worthless at best.

And I say, Who gives a crap? There's not one man in the lot who's mind was as valuable as the toilet paper he used at one sitting.

Quote
But when it comes to later Witt, he becomes hard to pin down,  I'm saying my readings varied differently between how some men read him.   I just gave the most simple rundown of the most basic three ways I can put him from various interpretations inn a sentence or two.   Of who the real Witt is,  I have no horse in the race.

He was a mentally-ill autistic kid who misinterpreted Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the way Mr. Russell liked to, and did so in a cramped, numbered style based on the style of his father's Prussian bureaucratic engineering reports, which made Mr. Russell, the mathematician posing as a new kind of philosopher, ejaculate from his salivary glands. If one takes his numbers actually in the way he claimed they are to be used -- different levels of the outline building as syllogism on siblings at that level, etc. -- one achieves nonsense by any definition. The dazzle is in the details.

I see that your plebian anti-intellectualism knows no bounds.

It doesn't work as well without the ridiculous avatars, but good try.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Rohzek

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #141 on: December 11, 2017, 01:33:03 AM »
Let's just clarify one detail for a moment, neither Chomsky or Popper are/were positivists...

True,  neither is John Searle.  That's why I separated those names from the names of "old positivist like..." sorry if that wasn't clear.


@porter

True,  the Vienna Circle misread Witt. But for as bad as the ideas were,  I still say Carnap is 10000 times superior more honest than Martin "let's tiptoe through the Teutonic trees" Heidegaar and men like him.  And again,  positivism was honest enough a method to admit defeat.  I probably categorically deny a priori deny an academic theologian, a made up social science,  or a philosopher to "name the times" so to speak.   So if I hear phrases like "alienated by late modernity" or useless animistic geneologies from these people I'll just laugh at them.  I'm fine with those labels being used by artists or historians not infected on by philosophy,  that's appropriate... it's just such philosophers are worthless at best.

And I say, Who gives a crap? There's not one man in the lot who's mind was as valuable as the toilet paper he used at one sitting.

Quote
But when it comes to later Witt, he becomes hard to pin down,  I'm saying my readings varied differently between how some men read him.   I just gave the most simple rundown of the most basic three ways I can put him from various interpretations inn a sentence or two.   Of who the real Witt is,  I have no horse in the race.

He was a mentally-ill autistic kid who misinterpreted Kant's Critique of Pure Reason in the way Mr. Russell liked to, and did so in a cramped, numbered style based on the style of his father's Prussian bureaucratic engineering reports, which made Mr. Russell, the mathematician posing as a new kind of philosopher, ejaculate from his salivary glands. If one takes his numbers actually in the way he claimed they are to be used -- different levels of the outline building as syllogism on siblings at that level, etc. -- one achieves nonsense by any definition. The dazzle is in the details.

I see that your plebian anti-intellectualism knows no bounds.

It doesn't work as well without the ridiculous avatars, but good try.

I didn't "try" anything. All I did was point out that you have both the unchristian vitriol of Asmodeus and an incredibly childish demeanor when encountering academics, with whom you almost always disagree.
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #142 on: December 11, 2017, 12:58:28 PM »
You try to be a caricature of the irascibly arrogant grad student in some out-of-touch field. If you had an argument, you would have used it rather than hyperventilating. And, news flash, most folks don't lap up everything experts say. Academics have always been largely distrusted. Because you inhabit an artificial environment in which young students are bound by financial and disciplinary constraints to suck up to you, you grow increasingly unaware of the reality.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 12:59:15 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Rohzek

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #143 on: December 11, 2017, 03:44:30 PM »
You try to be a caricature of the irascibly arrogant grad student in some out-of-touch field. If you had an argument, you would have used it rather than hyperventilating. And, news flash, most folks don't lap up everything experts say. Academics have always been largely distrusted. Because you inhabit an artificial environment in which young students are bound by financial and disciplinary constraints to suck up to you, you grow increasingly unaware of the reality.

If caricatures are all that you can do to demean people then I'd say you're the one out of touch, not me.

My world of academia is more real and in-touch than yours so consumed with pathetic rants on a simple web forum.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 03:54:32 PM by Rohzek »
"Il ne faut imaginer Dieu ni trop bon, ni méchant. La justice est entre l'excès de la clémence et la cruauté, ainsi que les peines finies sont entre l'impunité et les peines éternelles." - Denise Diderot, Pensées philosophiques 1746

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #144 on: December 11, 2017, 05:22:20 PM »
You try to be a caricature of the irascibly arrogant grad student in some out-of-touch field. If you had an argument, you would have used it rather than hyperventilating. And, news flash, most folks don't lap up everything experts say. Academics have always been largely distrusted. Because you inhabit an artificial environment in which young students are bound by financial and disciplinary constraints to suck up to you, you grow increasingly unaware of the reality.

If caricatures are all that you can do to demean people then I'd say you're the one out of touch, not me.

No, I'm calling your performance here a caricature, but I'll admit that may be an excess of charity. Certainly you would know.

Quote
My world of academia is more real and in-touch than yours so consumed with pathetic rants on a simple web forum.

I'd hope your job is more real than this fraction of my leisure. That's not saying much.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
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 near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline Antonis

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #145 on: Yesterday at 12:13:44 AM »
N.T. Wright offers a review of David Bentley Hart's New Testament translation:

https://www.christiancentury.org/review/books/new-testament-strange-words-david-bentley-hart
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For our impious, godless, and faithless rulers, the persecutors of our holy Faith and Fatherland, the members of our parliament who hate and wrong us, and for their repentance, let us pray to the Lord.
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Offline Antonis

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #146 on: Yesterday at 12:22:12 AM »
N.T. Wright offers a review of David Bentley Hart's New Testament translation:

https://www.christiancentury.org/review/books/new-testament-strange-words-david-bentley-hart

I thought it was an interesting review that calls DBH on some of his idiosyncrasies, but Wright's Protestantism permeates his critiques. At least one of them is for something that sounds (and looks, iconographically) mighty Orthodox of DBH:

Quote
His own dogmatic commitments are clear in his reading of the parable of Dives and Lazarus in Luke 16. The tale turns on the assumption that the rich man and the beggar find themselves in radically different postmortem locations. But Hart insists that both Dives and Lazarus are in Hades, with Lazarus in a pleasant part of Hades called “the Vale of Abraham” (appealing to a metaphorical meaning of kolpos, which normally refers to someone’s lap or the equivalent folds of their clothes), so that Dives sees Abraham far off “and Lazarus in his vales.”
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For our impious, godless, and faithless rulers, the persecutors of our holy Faith and Fatherland, the members of our parliament who hate and wrong us, and for their repentance, let us pray to the Lord.
--Petition, Kalavrytan Rite

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4

Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #147 on: Yesterday at 11:02:03 AM »
Surely NT Wright is aware that Sheol/Hades being divided into good and bad parts was a mainstream Jewish thought at the time.
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Offline Antonis

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Re: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble
« Reply #148 on: Yesterday at 10:13:39 PM »
Quote
For our impious, godless, and faithless rulers, the persecutors of our holy Faith and Fatherland, the members of our parliament who hate and wrong us, and for their repentance, let us pray to the Lord.
--Petition, Kalavrytan Rite

"This is the one from the beginning, who seemed to be new, yet was found to be ancient and always young, being born in the hearts of the saints."
Letter to Diognetus 11.4