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In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments Paperback – 1 Jan 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: William B Eerdmans Publishing Co (1 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802845738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802845733
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 873,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a satisfied customer on 11 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
'In the Aftermath' is a collection of DBH's essays and short pieces that have been published in more popular level periodicals. The versions here are unedited and at points slightly amended compared with their previously published incarnations; DBH is open about the fact that he had to tone down some of his less subtle rhetoric at the request of some editors, but the essays here are as originally written - slight of ad hominem intact. The pieces in this volume can mostly be found online, but I much prefer to hold a book. They are also of a standard that merits being printed on paper and read for years to come. For those unfamiliar with DBH, his writing demonstrates immense learning across a range of fields - theology, philosophy, history and the arts, and he also writes on cultural and political issues. He frequently employs polysyllabic and frankly idiosyncratic words, which at first struck me as being pretentious, as I am of the opinion that Orwell was largely correct in his essay 'Politics and the English Language'. However, I can forgive DBH, even in his most indulgent moments, because the communicative intent of his prose is never obscured by either his word choice, or abstract waffle (unlike some supposedly 'high brow' theologians that spring to mind). Moreover, the content of DBH's essays is so consistently enriching, thoughtful, and informed, that his style can be appreciated as a carefully crafted vehicle for communicating said content. DBH also declared in his introduction that he writes with a view to entertain, willfully employing sarcasm and outrageous rhetoric to this end. Of course, I found myself disagreeing with Hart at various points, but I also found myself repeatedly challenged with new perspectives and persuasive arguments. The essay 'Religion in America' was a highlight. I have benefited from this book, and perhaps others will.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 8 reviews
44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic Collection of Essays! But... 21 Mar. 2009
By Derrick A. Peterson - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
David Hart unleashes the snark 16 Nov. 2010
By ecclesial hypostasis - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely Stunning 3 Feb. 2009
By Clifford R. Fischer - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful mind 30 May 2009
By Frederick R. Jordan - Published on
Format: Paperback
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.
In the Aftermath 25 Feb. 2015
By John - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Despite how I differ with David Hart in much of his theology, he has become one of my favorite authors, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection of essays, articles and reviews he wrote. Even when he was writing on something of little interest to me, I couldn't help but appreciate his mastery of language and expression. Of course, it is sometimes obnoxious needing to look up the definition for words on my kindle every other page, but yeah, despite his absurdly large vocabulary, he is a great writer. One of my favorite chapters was "Freedom and Decency" which challenged my opinions on the topic of censorship. I really appreciate Harts Theodicy in the articles reflecting on the Tsunami, I want to go ahead and get his book on the topic. Of course "On the trail of the Snark with Daniel Dennett" is a gem, Theist cannot help but grin as they witness Hart with his merciless wit and intellect tear the new atheist asunder, he gives them a taste of their own medicine.
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