"The Beauty of the Infinite" is a stirring essay in "theological aesthetics." David Bentley Hart here meditates on the power of a Christian understanding of beauty and sublimity to rise above the violence -- both philosophical and literal -- characteristic of today's postmodern world.
The book begins by tracing the shifting use and nature of metaphysics in the thought of Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Lyotard, Derrida, Deleuze, Nancy, Levinas, and others. Hart pays special attention to the Nietzsche's famous narrative of the "will to power" -- a narrative largely adopted by the world today -- and he offers an engaging revision (though not rejection) of the genealogy of nihilism that illustrates the real "interruption" Christian thought introduced into the history of metaphycis.
This discussion sets the stage for a retrieval of the classic Christian account of beauty and sublimity, and of the relation of both to the question of being. This, the greater part of the book, is written in the form of a "dogmatica minora, " unfolding in four moments -- Trinity, creation, salvation, and eschaton -- which address a number of themes prominent in the texts of continental postmodernism. By book's end Hart demonstrates the power of Christian metaphysics not only to withstand the critiques of modern and postmodern thought but also to move well beyond them.
Both a useful account of the history of metaphysics and a compelling contribution to it, "The Beauty of the Infinite" will interest specialists and students of theology and philosophy.