Publishers Weekly Best Book in Religion 2020
Foreword Review's INDIES Book of the Year Award, Religion
In Theological Territories, David Bentley Hart, one of America's most eminent contemporary writers on religion, reflects on the state of theology "at the borders" of other fields of discourse—metaphysics, philosophy of mind, science, the arts, ethics, and biblical hermeneutics in particular. The book advances many of Hart's larger theological projects, developing and deepening numerous dimensions of his previous work. Theological Territories constitutes something of a manifesto regarding the manner in which theology should engage other fields of concern and scholarship.
The essays are divided into five sections on the nature of theology, the relations between theology and science, the connections between gospel and culture, literary representations of and engagements with transcendence, and the New Testament. Hart responds to influential books, theologians, philosophers, and poets, including Rowan Williams, Jean-Luc Marion, Tomáš Halík, Sergei Bulgakov, Jennifer Newsome Martin, and David Jones, among others. The twenty-six chapters are drawn from live addresses delivered in various settings. Most of the material has never been printed before, and those parts that have appear here in expanded form. Throughout, these essays show how Hart's mind works with the academic veneer of more formal pieces stripped away. The book will appeal to both academic and non-academic readers interested in the place of theology in the modern world.
In this scintillating compilation of essays based on lectures most published here for the first time Eastern Orthodox scholar and cultural commentator Hart (That All Shall Be Saved) examines the intersection of theology with other academic fields, including ethics, science, literature, and biblical hermeneutics. Whether conversing with theologian Rowan Williams on the healing purpose of tragedy, or meditating on "the Problem of Evil" as laid out by Dostoyevsky, Hart's witty, erudite writing proves unsettling and invigorating. Essays include conversations with Catholic priest Tomas Halik on postmodern theology and Barthian scholar Bruce McCormack on Trinitarian theology, a harsh critique of work by secular atheist Daniel Dennett, and theological insights gleaned from Hart's translation of the New Testament. Hart also examines the relationship between theology and science in the provocative "Should Science Think?" and ponders the correlation between Christian aesthetics and morality. A particularly memorable entry is his obliteration of Edward Feser and Joseph M. Bessette's Catholic defense of capital punishment. Theologians and scholarly readers alike will find much wisdom in this impressive work.