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Saturday, February 26, 2005

My goodness: Truth and Beauty!

It is remarkable the genesis of some blog posts.

Several times I have either posted or considered posting something on the basis of my blog showing up in a google search. Once someone googled my name along with "John Milbank", looking, I suspect, to see if a copy of my master's thesis (or bibliographical information for such) was available online. (I did my thesis on the christology of John Milbank. If you're really curious, there is a copy of it available on NUCat, the Northwestern University library catalog. If you're not, believe me, I understand.) But simply on the basis of that google search, I wanted to create a post which mentioned the thesis and gave at least some bibliographical information -- which I suppose I've just done.

I often show up surprisingly high on searches where someone is looking for a book review. This is fair enough; I have written a variety of reviews in the paper press, and have begun reviewing books on Gower Street as well. But part of the reason I end up high in searches for reviews is that the search engine spiders my reading list (in the right hand column), which makes it look like reviews of all those books might be available here. Of course you, gentle reader, know that I have a full time job and many extracurricular pursuits besides and I've been turning out the online reviews at the pace of the proverbial treacle in January.

But couple my busy-ness with my conceit that Gower Street might become something of an online resource for (certain types of) theology, and you understand some of the tension I feel when my site appears in a search and I cannot meet the demand.

All of which is to say that when I appeared in a google search for a review of David Bentley Hart's book The Beauty Of The Infinite: The Aesthetics Of Christian Truth I was disappointed that I couldn't deliver the goods. This is a book which I have been intent on reading since late last summer, partly because it seems fascinating and brilliant, and partly because it is very near what I envision as the topic of my doctoral dissertation and, hence, I need to read it. But I have kept it on the shelf.

It's not that I don't have excuses: I was embroiled in the university admissions process last fall, I have become accustomed to prioritizing books that I have review deadlines on over other reading, I am chair of the commission on ministry and we're undergoing a complete overhaul, I have a blog, a daughter, a wife -- oh, yeah, and a demanding full-time job. So, obviously, I haven't read it yet.

Which raises two points:
First, is anyone out there also intent on reading it? Would you like to read it together -- and perhaps blog on it?

Second, since I can't deliver the goods just yet, perhaps you might be interested in reading some thoughtful reviews from other places on the web on D.B. Hart and his book The Beauty Of The Infinite: The Aesthetics Of Christian Truth.

One worthwhile review is here, originally found in The Christian Century. William Placher of Wabash College authored it.
Another review is found here at First Things. It is written by Geoffrey Wainwright, professor of theology at Duke University.
A third review can be found here at Touchstone Magazine. R. R. Reno of Creighton University wrote it.

I think these reviews might be especially helpful for someone wanting to get a good first look at what Hart is up to in his book. Also, Placher and Wainwright have been particularly helpful influences on me and my own thinking, so I like to promote their work.

A final resource worth mentioning is this post over at Xanthikos, an Orthodox blog. It provides some more information about D. B. Hart and his writings. (I've previously posted a link to an op-ed piece that Hart wrote in the wake of the December 26th Tsunami, here.)

Finally, in doing the research for this post, I ran across what looks like an excellent general theology resource put out by the Wabash Center, which has provided a great deal of support for the teaching of religion and theology in the academy today. I'll put a link to it on the main Gower Street page someday soon.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Chase said...

I'm quite sure my most numerous Google searches include AP history essays and the term "F*** Iran"

Sunday, February 27, 2005 3:54:00 AM  
Blogger Thunder Jones said...

I've had that book on my shelf for a few months too. It was a hit with the Thomas crowd at Duke. Maybe I'll get to it this spring.

Monday, February 28, 2005 6:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If you want a couple worthy teaser quotes from the Hart book to spark your interest, take a look at my Feb 12 and Feb 17 posts on Xanthikos. Thanks for the link, by the way. Your site looks interesting.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005 8:00:00 AM  

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