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In The Aftermath: Provocations and Laments [Paperback]

David Bentley Hart
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 15 2008
"From the prolific, poetic, and popular pen of David Bentley Hart comes this collection of essays, reviews, and columns published in popular journals and newspapers over the past few years. In the Aftermath is comprised of observations on culture, religion, and society at large, all in the acrobatic prose readers expect from Hart. ""Here I want - at least, in part - to entertain. This is not to say that the pieces gathered here are not serious in their arguments; quite the contrary. . . . I mean only that, in these articles, I have given my natural inclinations towards satire and towards wantonly profligate turns of phrase far freer rein than academic writing permits. I hope the better part of my readers will not find these aspects of my ""authorial voice' insufferable; I even hope they will take some pleasure in my prose (though perhaps that is most likely only if it is taken in measured doses). I have, at any rate, attempted to include only pieces that strike me as having some intrinsic interest, both in form and in content."" - David Bentley Hart (from the introduction)"

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Aftermath's Aftermath Oct. 22 2012
By Aaron
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"In the Aftermath" is a collection of twenty-one popular-level articles (2001-2007) from theologian D.B. Hart. There are book reviews as well as broadly philosophical reflections on religion, modernism, politics, the problem of evil, and so on. It's the first of Hart's books that I've read. So, that "readers have come to expect" a "virtuosic prose" (publisher's blurb) was not known to me. Hart himself makes several references to his prose-style in the introduction. And he hopes that readers will "take pleasure" therein. Now, I personally found that rather hard to do, inasmuch as Hart's "purple" prose regularly exceeded the bounds of taste. (Here's a sample: "... in shallow depressions of the concrete floor opaque pools of oleaginous water glistened with a sinister opalescence.") Nonetheless, it's not a bad read overall. Hart is someone of learning both deep and wide. And he makes many noteworthy remarks. My feelings are mixed, then, but mostly positive. It has me interested, for sure. I'd like to read something more substantive from the author. Maybe TheBeautyoftheInfinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.9 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Collection of Essays! But... March 21 2009
By Derrick A. Peterson - Published on
David Bentley Hart is quickly becoming something of a theological celebrity, based in no small part on his massive erudition, incredible breadth of learning, beautiful (though often excessive) writing style, and--lets be honest--a sharp sense of humor and a penchant to hold no punches back when criticizing (ridiculing?) his opponents.

This book represents an amazing collection of essays, spanning from Hart's philosophically challenging "Christ and Nothing," which represents both an abridged version of his (to this point) magnum opus in The Beauty of the Infinite and an elaboration of themes which will hopefully spawn another book someday, to lighter fair such as the wonderful "Laughter of the Philosophers," or the scathing critique of Daniel Dennet in "Daniel Dennet Hunts the Snark." I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Hart (or, especially, wanting to get interested) as these essays are much, much easier to read than incredibly difficult though incredibly rewarding Beauty of the Infinite. The only caveat is that most (if not in fact all) of these essays can be found online--for free. In fact many of the essays (e.g. Christ and Nothing and the one on Daniel Dennet) can be found on the First Things website. Aside from this, this book is a wonderful read and it is certainly refreshing to read someone with Harts lucid and often poetic writing style who nonetheless has such a deep knowledge of theology, philosophy, and literature.
23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Stunning Feb. 2 2009
By Clifford R. Fischer - Published on
This collection of essays by David Bentley Hart is incredible. In it are some of the most epic, stirring, and intelligent essays, I would venture to say, of the past several hundred years on American or modern culture, religion, or simply books, people, and events. I know of no man more learned and more capable of exercising his learning than Hart, and that he can make a review into something of intense drama or joy and a profound learning experience is still beyond me. Prepare to have your world shaken, your mind humbled, and your life enriched.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David Hart unleashes the snark Nov. 15 2010
By ecclesial hypostasis - Published on
David Hart is one of the finest essayists in the Christian tradition today, producing learned, witty, relevant and passionate articles on the contemporary intellectual and religious scene. This collection is of some of his best, including the influential 'Christ and Nothing' and some of his preparatory articles on which 'The Doors of the Sea' were based.

Hart's style is very distinctive, combining conservative opinions on modern society with the aesthetic and mystical vision of Eastern Christianity, his prose alternating between biting satire and flights of beautiful but near incomprehensible theological meditation. Adorning almost every page is another word that will not be found in the vocabulary of even the most erudite reader, lending the text a kind of elegant impenetrability (I tend just to guess what he is meaning to say rather than consulting a dictionary, and have never felt cheated). Those who enjoy the essays of C.S. Lewis would find and enjoy a similar voice in Hart.

A year or two ago I would have given this book five stars, but subtle changes in my emotional and intellectual 'weather' have made Hart's thought seem a bit less expansive and encouraging than it did. I think that the issue is that he takes too long and goes too far in his critique before returning to a positive vision, so that in the end he induces something of the nihilism that is his most implacable foe.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful mind May 30 2009
By Frederick R. Jordan - Published on
I love reading David Bentley Hart. His language is always a challenge. His sentences take a person on a thoughtful journey. He believes in something wonderful and good, and that belief oozes onto the page.
11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent essays March 17 2009
By Music fan - Published on
Excellent essays. it is a shame that Hart is not (yet) widely known. Some of his stuff is perhaps too intellectual for some to digest. His prose is powerful and his message is truly Orthodox Christian.
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