A New Book by David Bentley Hart

David’s new book, Roland in Midnight, is now available from Amazon. Here’s what D. C. Schindler has to say about it:

“Who would ever have guessed that there could exist a creature on this planet with more jubilantly inventive wit, literary panache, and philosophical bite than even the great David Bentley Hart? But here he is: Roland the poet, the cynic, and the guru.”

My Collies talk to me all the time, but neither of them wax philosophical. Feanor is too busy barking at neigh­borhood intruders, and Tiriel spends her time being quietly adored, sacra­mentalized in the holy tummy rub. It will be a treat to read the musings of a canine who is both metaphysican and poet.

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39 Responses to A New Book by David Bentley Hart

  1. Tom says:

    There’s ‘Dog theology’ vs ‘Cat theology’. A dog says, “Wait a sec! You take care of me, you feed me, you love me. You must be God!” A cat says, “You take care of me, you feed me, and you love me. I must be God!” This probably has nothing to do with David’s new book, which I look forward to reading. We’ll see.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. arthurja says:

    So DBH is a low-IQ impostor who shamelessly passes the genius-level ruminations of his pet as his own…
    Shall we be surprised?
    No, because there’s at least one video out there, on Youtube, in which “Dr” Hart wears a golden bow tie on a purple shirt – surprisingly enough, that is legal in Indiana.
    Can even men like these be trusted?
    Can they be saved and avoid their proper comeuppance?
    Let us pay heed to Jesus’ words : “Beware of false scholars from Maryland, who come to you in golden bow ties and purple shirts, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves… You will know them by their shirt… Their SHIRT!!” – Jesus of Nazareth, seconds before he lost his poise and Katanaed Jewish merchants to death.

    Liked by 2 people

    • DBH says:

      The secret was bound to come out in the end. It was past time I gave credit where credit is due.

      Thanks, Al, for posting the notice. It is my profoundest book–though, for Roland, it’s little more than an intellectual bagatelle.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Counter-Rebel says:

    Hi DBH. When is *You Are Gods* coming out? Will it discuss universalism?

    For what it’s worth, I think memory is the key ingredient for how universalism could be reconciled with free will. I’ll repost a comment I made before:

    First, compatibilism is not the same thing as soft determinism. All soft determinists are compatibilists, but not all compatibilists are soft determinists. A compatibilist may take the position that free will is compatible with both determinism and indeterminism, and some may think free will requires at least one indeterministic choice. This, I think–and this is my second point–is the key to how universalism and free will could both obtain. Imagine a child has an indeterministic choice between putting his or her hand on the hot stove or giving their uncle a hug, and they choose the former. Later on, the child is in a similar situation, but this time, because of the memory of the pain, they deterministically choose to hug the uncle. Because the memory of the pain was freely acquired, the choice is deterministic yet still free. This could be how the damned are saved eventually. The memory of the bad consequences of [indeterministically chosen] rebellion makes it so that the next time they’re presented with the opportunity for heaven, they deterministically choose heaven.

    This form of compatibilism saves us from 1. Couldn’t people just keep on indeterministically rejecting heaven forever? and 2. If compatibilism (the soft determinism kind) is true, then God is the ultimate cause of heinous evils.

    Why would God allow this type of freedom? First, perhaps it’s metaphysically necessary that conscious agents make at least one indeterministic choice (this seems plausible to me). Indeterministic freedom is sometimes referred to as having the liberty of indifference. Whether they choose good or evil, they won’t be indifferent anymore. Second, maybe God sees indeterministically-chosen heaven as a great good worth the possible evil, even if deterministically-chosen heaven is acceptable

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  4. Justin says:

    Or, A Theology of a Good Dog.
    Cats may be zen masters, but dogs are true spiritual fathers. Looking forward to it. Fr Aidan will you be blogging a book study?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the book about how we are all gods right? Roland will be the narrator concerning our epektasis?

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  6. Matthew Hryniewicz says:

    I hope I’m not the only one who thought this was a joke when I clicked on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • brian says:

      Roland always had the best essays for First Things. I’m told that Shakespeare is a front for the Earl of Oxford’s cat . . .

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    • DBH says:

      Why on earth would you think it a joke?

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      • Fr Aidan Kimel says:

        Take the fifth, Matthew!!! 😎

        Liked by 2 people

      • Matthew Hryniewicz says:

        Postictal blog browsing

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        • DBH says:

          Ah. Stay on your medications, man.

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          • Matthew Hryniewicz says:

            For the record, I meant that as merely a silly wisecrack. I’m in the middle of an EMT course and that was the first thing that came to mind which would involve an altered LOC.

            I don’t think it’s terribly hard to see how someone could initially think that this was a tongue-in-cheek post. My intent was only to poke fun at myself and see if anyone else made the same mistake.

            Liked by 2 people

          • DBH says:

            Oh, I understand really. But the book fits quite well into a very great deal of what I have published over the years. It’s certainly closer to my heart and tastes than any volume of theology could ever be. And Roland has been a character in my work for eight years now.

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          • hopefully simple question for DBH. I’ve almost finished reading through your translation of “Analogia Entis,” and having also studied your “Beauty of the Infinite,” I have the following mystery on my plate:

            Does divine simplicity imply that the divine essence is univocally identical to the divine existence? OR is there an analogical relationship between divine essence and divine existence?

            People love to talk about how “God’s essence is God’s existence”, but i’m wondering if the “is” here is a univocal copula or an analogical one?

            further, it seems to be in the nature of existence (as opposed to essence) that it is constantly changing. That being the case, if the divine essence is an analogy of the divine existence, doesn’t this mean that there is some sort of “divine becoming” in God? and therefore rather than saying God is strictly immutable, we could say that he is mutable also (or perhaps that he analogically transcends the dichotomy between mutable and immutable, just as he analogically transcends every other dichotomy)

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          • (perhaps the divine existence/divine becoming is the dynamism and music of the trinitarian hypostasis/hypostases perichoretically dancing with each other, while the divine essence is the absoluteness of the divine unity? and then both the absolute unity of the divine essence and the perichoretic trinity of the divine existence are analogically in relationship of simplicity with each other? I’m struggling to find the right words but feel like I’m onto something so lets just call it tantric-divine-madness and call it a night XD)

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          • (last comment)
            Or perhaps the father is the divine essence, the son is the divine existence, and the spirit is the analogy between them? My mind is spinning. I think it’s possible to overdose on hard theological texts. Needa build up my tolerance before diving that deep next time XD

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          • DBH says:

            Iron Knuckle
            It implies–no, it asserts–that in God essence and existence are identical. Existence is not constantly changing even for us, though we, as dynamic and finite syntheses of essence and existence, change as a result of existing, and would cease to exist under other conditions.

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          • DBH, thanks for responding.

            Just for some context to my question, in “Analogia Entis” there is this notion that essence relates to Platonic/Ideal forms, whereas existence is more towards aristotelian/Morphe/real form. So like, a Platonic form is immutable and constant at all moments of a hypostatic existence, whereas an aristotelian/existential form is constantly changing moment to moment, much in the manner of a sort of buddhist “stream of impermanence.” In other words, existential forms are in a stream of “becoming” while essential forms are static, immoveable “being.”.Assuming I have all of this correct so far, it made me wonder whether I could then apply a similar analysis to the divine essence and the divine existence.

            Have I got that totally wrong? I plan to come back to Analogia Entis sometime in the future for a second pass. It is probably the densest theological/philosophical text I’ve read (followed by Bulgakovs Triliogy, and then followed by BOTI).

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  7. Luca says:

    Any time I put forward a deep, philosophical question to my dog either he splash on its back with a cunning smile or he signals it’s time to go for a walk. Always supposed there is a deep meaning there.
    I will make him read this book before me

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  8. Marcus says:

    David will there be a kindle version?

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  9. Marcus says:

    “Dreams, dogs, death, exile, the nature of consciousness, fairies, and the deep unity of religions–this is Hart in literary voice, echoing the deep American tradition that runs from Hawthorne to Poe to Lovecraft–with a dash of anti-Thomism and some essential Christian-pagan rapprochement. This is a book you can relax into. It will bear you away on a sea broader and deeper than the one you’re used to. Hart is himself an exile from late modernity, as is Roland, the philosophical, koto-playing dog he writes about here. Exiles show us more about ourselves than do those at home in the world, and Hart shows us here a lot to be grateful for.” PAUL J GRIFFITHS

    I know your friends with Paul, David….but i had to burst up laughing at the mention of Lovecraft, you probably did too in a confusing matter

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