DB Hart: there is no coherent Christian "Tradition"

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DB Hart: there is no coherent Christian "Tradition"

Post by Irish1975 »

David Bentley Hart, Tradition and Apocalypse: an Essay on the Future of Christian Belief (February 2002).

Interesting venture into heresy by Hart--or more accurately, a rejection of the very idea of orthodoxy. His political purpose is to sound the alarm about Catholic "Integralists" and other nutjobs on the Trumpist Right (who really are frightening).

Hart can be unpleasant to read: condescending to his opponents, and rhetorically intemperate. But he is also well read and perceptive.

He claims that most of what passes for "orthodoxy" or "christian belief" is inconsistent with history, with NT scripture, with reason, and with itself. A central part of the book is a debunking of JH Newman's and Maurice Blondel's attempts to save the theological concept of tradition from modern historical critique.

Hart isn't quite honest with himself or his readers about what specifically the contradictions and betrayals are in Christianity. Often he blames "Christendom" (Constantine, etc) for everything, although he is aware there is more to it. He wants Christians to "rediscover" Apocalypticism, gnostic-style theology, and quasi-socialist understandings of lifestyle and discipleship. All of which makes him sound naive--it was precisely these styles of theology that sparked the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries in Europe.

Hart doesn't see contemporary debates about the "historicity" of the Bible as productive or meaningful for theology, or anyone else.

Sorry I can't write a better summary. If you just want to see conservative heads explode, see the nasty review at First Things. They thought he was their boy (lol), and blame his descent into heresy on his embrace of Universalism (all shall be saved).

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