Author Topic: David Bentley Hart: Christ's Rabble  (Read 6514 times)

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Offline Rohzek

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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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Offline RobS

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

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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 #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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Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

Offline RobS

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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)."

— 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 #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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Offline Volnutt

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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
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things

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 »

Offline Alpha60

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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.
"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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Offline Volnutt

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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
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
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.

Offline RobS

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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.
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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 »

Offline Asteriktos

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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.
"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 #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.
"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 #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.

Offline RobS

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

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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 #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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Offline RobS

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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.

Offline Rohzek

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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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Offline RobS

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

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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?
"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 #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?
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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. 
"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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »
"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 Jetavan

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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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Offline Porter ODoran

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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

Offline William T

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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 »

Offline Porter ODoran

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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.

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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).

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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