David Bentley Hart, The
Faith (Cambridge and Grand Rapids: Eeerdmans Publishing. 2003), pp. xii + 448. $45.00
Publishers' blurbs for new books are often de
trop. Those accompanying David Bentley Hart's opus, however, are surprising in the array of notable names that have acclaimed him, even in the pre-production phase. One of the famed maintains that with this first book Bentley Hart has emerged as the ‘best living American systematic theologian’, and another of the great and good hails him as: ‘one of his generation's leading theologians’. No small potatoes this, considering the first book in question is the revision of a doctoral thesis of a young man who has yet to start a university career. It seems, moreover, to have been two theses rolled into one. Having read the book, one understands why the accolades were so heart-felt. It is indeed a most learned, profound and immensely rich volume. It is undoubtedly one of the most important and timely works of theology written for many decades past, and will prove itself to be so, I suspect, despite its (many) eccentricities and idiosyncratic judgements, and despite its failure to say many things one might have wanted it to: but then at 448 pages, one needs to draw a line somewhere.