David Opderbeck on David Bentley Hart’s Tradition and Apocalypse

Author note: We are grateful to Dr. Opderbeck for this review. He is Professor of Law at Seton Hall University Law School and also teaches in Seton Hall’s Department of Religion. In addition to his law degrees, he holds an MAT from Fuller Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Systematic and Philosophical Theology from the University of Nottingham.  His most recent book is The End of the Law? Law, Theology, and Neuroscience (Wipf & Stock / Cascade 2021).  You can also find him at davidopderbeck.com.

I agreed to review David Bentley Hart’s Tradition and Apocalypse (Baker Academic 2022) after some online back-and-forth over Gerald McDermott’s comments about the book in First Things (Hart’s Turn to Heterodoxy), Hart’s response to McDermott, and McDermott’s further reply to Hart (A Lonely Hart). As Hart suggests, McDermott ignores the book’s core argument. But McDermott does note some things that might be worth noting in a more thoughtful review. My intention here isn’t to offer another formal review, or to plunge headlong into the fray between Hart and McDermott, but rather to offer some reflections upon my own reading.

When I finished Tradition and Apocalypse, I thought to myself, “Well, of course, yes, this is almost exactly how I think about ‘tradition’ as a phenomenon and as a source of theological authority.” Now, despite having studied with the Radical Orthodoxy folks, and despite an affinity for the nouvelle théologie, phenomenology, and the Greek Fathers, and despite a distaste for Scotus, Ockham, Nominalism, and Voluntarism, and despite teaching for many years at a Catholic university, I’m still confessionally a Protestant (a Ruling Elder in the PCUSA). Not only that, I’m a Protestant who still appreciates the historically “evangelical” elements (Bible, Christ, Conversion, Activism) of the fundamentalist evangelical milieu I was raised in notwithstanding the trainload of weighty, messy, painful baggage I carry from it. For me, part of my maturation as a Christian and as a theologian was coming to understand that “tradition” has at least some authority along with scripture, reason, and experience. The notion that tradition is a subsidiary, qualified, changing, historically contingent, contextual, and so-on feels utterly unremarkable to me. In fact, if I had to say why I’m still a Protestant, outside of cultural, family, and other non-theological concerns, one reason is how I understand the role of tradition in contrast to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox views – an understanding that also relates to my sense of ecclesiology. Tradition and ecclesiology, of course, are inextricably linked.

The reader may protest: in contrast to which Roman or Eastern ecclesiology?  Fair enough.  “Communion ecclesiology,” the bottom-up ecclesiologies of Latin American Catholic liberation theologians, Pope Francis’ emphasis on synodality – all these are quite close to my sensibilities.  I’m still confessionally a Protestant today and that will lead wherever, I hope, God leads it – and may it even be so that there is deeper union among all the confessions in my lifetime, that the wounds of the Great Schism and the Reformation and Counter-Reformation are healed, astonishing miracle though that would be.  But for me, for now, the proliferation of plural ecclesiologies within Catholic thought tells me something about the certainty of tradition.

All of this is to say that, like any thoughtful, historically informed Christian living in 2022, I’m eccelesiologically in-between and perhaps even confused.  How could it be otherwise?  I’m not competent to adjudicate definitively all the issues leading up to the Great Schism of 1054; I’m not competent to adjudicate definitively all the issues leading up to the Reformation and all its fissiparous branches; I’m not competent to discern definitively the shape of the modern ecumenical movement or the convergences and divergences between Protestants, Orthodox, and Catholics after Vatican II.  Neither are you.  It’s a massive history over which the Spirit has blown in many directions within the reality of the human failure to maintain unity.

In a vital sense, this failure to maintain unity is not what Jesus wants:  he prays for us to be one (John 17:20-23).  But also, the diversity of Christian confession and practice is a fact of history that bears the marks of God’s own plurality (three persons) in unity (one essence).  As baptist theologian James McClendon noted (McClendon, by the way, preferred the small-b “baptist”),

[s]uch a church (or in Scripture’s preferred vocabulary, such a people of God), constituted by diverse Christian peoplehoods, frequently disconnected from its own past, often at odds with itself, rejected on human scales of value yet nevertheless ‘chosen by God and precious . . . a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people . . . to sing the praises of God’ (1 Pet. 2:4, 9 NJB) – such a complex people or church or company of God’s folk is one (complex) datum of a truly Christian theology of culture.  (McClendon, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3: Witness (Abingdon Press 2000), 35.)

This empirical fact of history, McClendon said, demonstrates that, “in a sense not true of other doctrines of the faith, Christian ecclesiology is provisional ecclesiology; it looks toward a fulfillment not yet achieved.”  (McClendon, Systematic Theology Vol. 2: Doctrine (Abingdon Press 1994), 344 (emphasis in original)). 

Although McClendon seems in this quote to suggest that “other doctrines of the faith” are already fully known, that is not what he means.  As to the core doctrines of Christology, for example, McClendon said

Christology today is not just a matter of preserving past orthodoxies, for neither the two-natures model nor its most recent successor, the historical model, is adequate to specify the identity or display the centrality of Jesus Christ.  That remans the creative theological task in this (and every) generation.  (McClendon, Systematic Theology Vol. 2: Doctrine, 265.)

I’m referencing the baptist theologian McClendon here in part because the stream of “narrative” theology, including the “post-liberal” theology of George Lindbeck as filtered through Stanley Hauerwas, has also been personally influential for me (Hauerwas’ work introduced me to McClendon).  I’m also referencing McClendon because his way of thinking about ecclesiology and doctrine, although long distant from any kind of evangelical or Reformed fundamentalism, I think, broadly reflects Reformational themes about ecclesiology and tradition.  I could discourse further on other sources that have been influential for me on these themes – not least Karl Barth’s essay “The Gift of Freedom,” which I re-read frequently.  (Contained in Karl Barth, The Humanity of God, trans John Newton Thomas and Thomas Wiser (Westminster John Knox 1996.  Yes, Barth.  For all his voluntarism, I still love Barth.  Barth and von Balthasar together, just as von Balthasar said.) 

But it’s not just Protestant takes on ecclesiology and tradition.  No doubt most Orthodox would demur to many of McClendon’s views, but perhaps there is some similar dynamism, in, say, Lossky’s Christological-Pneumatological ecclesiology:

Thus, we may say that, in its Christological aspect, the Church appears as a perfect stability: as the immovable foundation of which St. Paul speaks [Eph. 2:20-22) . . . . In its pneumatological aspect – that of the economy of the Holy Spirit towards human persons, to which St. Paul [also refers]—the Church has a dynamic character, it reaches out towards its final goal, towards the union of each human person with God.  In its first aspect the Church appears as the body of Christ; in its second, as a flame having one single base but forking into many divided tongues.  (Vladimir Lossky, The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church (St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1976).

Lossky, of course, was not offering a kind of branch theory or doctrine of an invisible church, but the mystery of the Church for him is that it is both univocal and plural, given and dynamic, institutional and personal.

I could also say quite a bit about Pope Francis – not least his most recent comments that have the traditionalist Catholic world exploding yet again at the suggestion he might soften the Church’s teaching on birth control.  Asked about a new book from the Vatican publishing house that suggests some changes, the Pope said “dogma, morality, is always in a path of development, but development in the same direction.”  According to the Pope, dogma “consolidates with time, it expands and consolidates, and becomes more steady, but is always ‘progressing.’ That is why the duty of theologians is research, theological reflection. You cannot do theology with a ‘No’ in front of it.”  Of course, he also added that “[t]he magisterium will be the one to say No,” and there an Orthodox or Protestant will ultimately part ways.

The Pope’s reference to “development in the same direction” perhaps reflects the influence of John Henry Newman, one of Hart’s main foils in Tradition and Apocalypse.  Hart argues that Newman’s criteria in his famous Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine for what constitutes an authentic “development” of doctrine hold no water.  Newman himself was an ecclesiological pilgrim who traversed the territory between evangelical Christianity and Oxford Anglo-Catholicism before arriving in Roman Catholicism.  As a Nineteenth Century Englishman, Newman lived with the not-too-distant legacy of bitter – bitter as in leading to literal civil war – disputes about the nature and place of the Anglican Church, the British evangelicals, Puritans, and non-conformists (Baptists, Quakers, and the like), and the Crown’s relation to the Papacy. (For an overview of some of those disputes as they relate to concepts of Constitutional Law, see my video on the origins of Constitutionalism, particularly starting at the section on Magna Carta).  As a Nineteenth Century Catholic, Newman also lived in a time that produced Pope Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors – a more-than-somewhat reactionary document that subsequently “developed” through Rerum Novarum, various texts of Vatican II, Centesimus Annus, and other official documents that accept “errors” such as Biblical criticism, constitutional governance, and democracy.

Given Newman’s historical situation, I’m inclined to give his Essay more latitude than Hart. Of course, Hart is right to point out, and is not the first to point out, that Newman’s criteria for authentic development can work like a wax nose, pointing retrospectively whichever way the theologian or Pope wishes to connect seemingly contradicting propositions. Why not just admit, for example, that some of the propositions in the Syllabus of Errors were themselves errors? Why not just admit that, for all its beautiful truth about marriage, sex, and family, Humanae Vitae’s absolutism about supposedly “unnatural” methods of contraception is overstated? Semper Reformanda! as we Protestants like to say.

But I get Newman’s instinct, for myself both as a theologian and as a lawyer.  In the Anglo-American common law, as traditionally understood, precedent develops as courts discern the shape of the law embedded both in nature and in community life as applied to new circumstances.  The common law, in the traditional view, is already “out there,” a kind of given, that is disclosed as we apply it to new cases. We may in rare circumstances overrule a previous decision that seems to have been wrongly discerned, but the corpus of the common law holds together with a kind of life and reality of its own.  It’s not surprising that someone like Newman would discern a similar pattern in doctrine, since “law,” traditionally, was a theological category.  (For more on this, see my book The End of the Law?).

Also not surprising is that this concept of the common law is not widely accepted among modern legal theorists.  Today the default position is some kind of “realism,” which means there is no transcendent shape to the law.  For the common law, this means the law at the moment is whatever the Judge says it is based on some immanent policy preferences, dispositions, economic rules, or biases.  You can see here, I hope, the deep link to Voluntarism and Nominalism.

It would be easy to dismiss objections to Newman’s criteria, and to the legal realists, as only the bad fruits of modernity.  If you don’t want to see transcendence, you don’t want to go beyond the rough-and-tumble of the immanent, then you won’t see transcendence.  (To use terminology Hart likes, you won’t see Fairies if you don’t believe in them.)  But, Newman’s critics and the legal realists have a point:  if you want to see transcendence then you will see it, even if it’s not there, and worse, especially if you want to claim your preferences are the best ones.  Claims of transcendence have a way of squeezing out the particular, not least particular people on the margins.  In the name of transcendence, after all, at some points in history the Roman Church used to torture dissidents and burn them at the stake.  In the name of transcendence, a thousand warships have been launched.

So what of this tension between the transcendent and the immanent, the universal and the particular, in Christian tradition?  I’m tempted to put on my phenomenologist and/or Radical Orthodoxy thinking cap and refer to the metaxu, Sophiology, or some other kind of post-Hegelian mediation of and within history.  Of course the transcendent is complete and given – it is the forms, the eternal Logos (John 1:1).  But of course the transcendent is always beyond us finite creatures and we experience it always as mediated, historically conditioned, and provisional. 

I like wearing that thinking cap, but honestly, it feels itchy sometimes.  My Protestant bones cry out for Biblical warrants. Yes, Proverbs 8:22-31; yes, the some of the more “gnostic” or Second-Temple-ish elements of the New Testament, such as Paul’s wrestling with the Law in Galatians 3. But building a whole theology and metaphysics on those texts feels rickety.  For me, the ricketiness builds from the textual foundation to the doctrine and philosophy.  I can’t help but feel that in some kinds of Sophiology, Sophia really is a fourth person of the Trinity, or a created goddess who rivals Christ.  I can’t help but feel that in William Desmond’s metaphysics, the metaxu eclipses the surprising divine appearance.  That’s not totally fair, I know, but it’s my sensibility. 

This is where Hart’s argument in Tradition and Apocalypse appeals to me deeply.  As his title suggests, Hart’s argument is apocalyptic, which means it is thoroughly, seamlessly, Biblical.  I’m not suggesting here that Hart shares my sensibilities about Sophiology or metaxology – probably, to a large extent, he doesn’t – but only that the category of apocalyptic in relation to tradition makes perfect scriptural sense to me.

In evangelical circles, we used to ask about someone’s “life verse” – a particularly meaningful text from scripture.  (In my little evangelical liberal arts college, one of my freshman floor-mates said his was Song of Songs 7:3.  I don’t think he was taking the exercise seriously).  My “life verse” has always been 1 Cor. 3:12: “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”  This text centrally informs my understanding of faith and epistemology, just as it informed Paul’s faith and epistemology.  In Galatians 1:12 Paul says he received his gospel “through a revelation (apokalypseos) of Jesus Christ.”  Paul speaks frequently of what is latent, not yet realized or disclosed, in this apocalypse of Jesus.  (E.g., Romans 9-11 – not an argument for the inscrutability of double predestination, but a wonderment at the inclusion of both Gentile and Jew in some way yet to be shown.)  The “apocalyptic” view of Paul is bread-and-butter in contemporary New Testament scholarship, even if some scholars prefer the older “Lutheran” view.  (See, e.g., Douglas Campbell’s magnificent if sometimes tendentious The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Re-reading of Justification in Paul (Eerdmans 2013).)

It isn’t just Paul.  I’ve been leading a study recently of 1 John, and here is what we find right at the heart of that mystical and apocalyptically-flavored text:  “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.  What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”  (1 John 3:2 (NRSV).)  We could go on and on.  There is no missing that the New Testament literature anticipates things yet to come.

So we see, but not yet clearly.  We know only in part.  We are changed but we are not yet what we will be.  Something is here, but it is also and even much more to come.  I read Hart’s Tradition and Apocalypse as a kind of extended meditation on texts like these (even if that’s not exactly how he wrote it).  When Hart characterizes healthy faith as “something at once far less frantic [than fundamentalism] but also far less certain of itself,” which, “[a]s an awareness of an attentiveness to a future that is always summoning the tradition and the believer to itself” serves as “the condition of living in transitu, moving toward a promised land not yet seen,” I say amen.  (Tradition and Apocalypse, 179.)

And yet, both Paul and the writer of 1 John attest they are passing on something preexisting, something they have received:  “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve” (1 Cor. 15:3-5); “We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life . . . .” (1 John 1:1). 

What we see dimly, what we know only in part, is the truth we have received, the truth that always was – the Logos in the beginning (John 1:1), the universal and eternal truth of Christ bearing out in history.  What is not yet seen or known by us is already disclosed in Christ.  Paul says, quoting an obscure source (perhaps the Apocalypse of Elijah):

What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the human heart conceived,
what God has prepared for those who love him

“God has revealed those things to us by his Spirit.”  (1 Cor. 2:9-10.)  No one can know the mind of the Lord, “but we have the mind of Christ.”  (1 Cor. 2:16.)

Let me here recast what I think most irks McDermott, taking what is truly a poor “review” with an amphora full of charity:  is Hart’s sense of apocalyptic sufficiently Christological?  McDermott thinks Hart’s dogmatic universalism distorts Hart’s sense of tradition.  I don’t see how some kind of universalism conflicts with the Nicene or Chalcedonian formulations – this would be a surprise to Gregory of Nyssa, I presume – but I can understand the concern as it relates to broader questions of epistemology and religious pluralism, with which Hart is also concerned.  Hart suggests that

The ultimate horizon of Christian tradition may well be the ultimate horizon of countless other traditions as well.  Christian tradition as it is currently known, if it is a truly living unity, is as yet a unity only partly grasped, and may yet open up into a fuller unity than that arising from its own isolated history to this point.  In fact, how could that not be true?  (Tradition and Apocalypse, 184.)

This could sound like a bland kind of modern pluralism (the usual foil, often without close reading or care, is John Hick), an impression Hart quickly dispels in the next paragraph.  But I find myself seeking more solid Christological, and Trinitarian, grounding for this realization of unity within plurality.  Maybe Hart is wise in the end to adopt something like Paul’s doxological tone about these mysteries (Romans 11:33-36) instead of pressing further.  Yet in a time when there are plenty of weird, new-agey – dare we say colloquially (and, I know, historically inaccurately) “gnostic” – quasi-Christian spiritualities floating around, it’s good, I say, to emphasize also the “what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life.” 

Hart does do so – take, for example, the brief discussion of the Fourth Century theologians “who grasped that the entire narrative of salvation was the narrative of creaturely deification in Christ. . . .” (Tradition and Apocalypse, 157.) If it were my essay I may have done so a bit differently or directly. I would say that the living Christ is the “indivisible unity somehow subsisting within a history that encompasses an incalculable number of large, conspicuous, and substantial transformations.” (Tradition and Apocalypse, 10.) Tradition is a contingent witness to scripture, which is a contingent witness to Christ, who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and who is, and was, and is to come (Rev. 1:8). This, I take it, is how the Christian traditions at their best have always understood themselves, as witnesses to the living, risen Christ.

Before closing these reflections, I should note two other things about Hart’s rhetoric in Tradition and Apocalypse, which I think trigger some of the reactions of folks like McDermott, and which I’ll admit I find uncomfortable, along with one two other philosophical observations.  First, on rhetoric, is Hart’s “autobiographical” statement that “[i]t would cause me not a moment’s distress to walk away tomorrow from any association with Christian beliefs and institutions if I were to conclude that it is a false or incoherent system of belief.”  (Tradition and Apocalypse, 21.)  I can’t relate to this statement, either on an emotional level or in its seeming epistemology.

Epistemologically, what would it mean to conclude Christianity is “a false or incoherent system of belief?”  As Hart notes, theology and the Christian spiritual life require “[t]acit knowledge, faithful practice, humility before the testimony of the generations, prayerfulness, and any number of moral and intellectual virtues” which must be lived and not only thought.  (Tradition and Apocalypse, 142.)  The reference to “tacit knowledge” invokes Michael Polanyi, whose work has influenced me greatly both in law and in theology.  (See, e.g., Michael Polanyi, The Tacit Dimension (Univ. of Chicago Press Rev’d Ed. 2009).)

As Polanyi observed, even in the hard natural sciences, human knowledge is never merely intellective.  Christianity is not “a system of belief” in the sense merely of some set of propositions.  It’s a way of life, an apocalypse (to use Paul’s word) of Christ, from which intellection follows – faith that seeks understanding, to take up the term from Anselm and from all the great theologians and mystics.  I don’t feel upset about leaving behind “false or incoherent” theological or doctrinal claims that supposedly follow, but really do not follow, from the revelation of Christ – say, the insistence of the fundamentalist church of my youth that Genesis is “literally” true and the Earth was created in seven literal days 10,000 years ago, or the like.  Or, at least, once I work through some psychological trauma, I don’t feel bad about those things. 

It would be a different matter to suggest that something could render Christ, and by extension, the Father and Spirit, the cross and reconciliation, the church and the hope for the future, “false or incoherent.”  In the way of tacit knowledge, or to use another phrase from Polanyi, personal knowledge, this is inconceivable.  (See Michael Polanyi, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy (Univ. of Chicago Press 1974)).  I suppose that if Christ were shown to be false or incoherent I would simply shrivel and die.  This isn’t because I have a particularly robust faith – no, I’m an anxious and often excessively scrupulous doubter, sometimes pathologically so, I’m afraid.  But I don’t really think it’s possible to “show” such a thing, except perhaps when we meet, or don’t meet, Christ at death.  It’s just, in my understanding, not the kind of thing that could be demonstrably false or incoherent.  I guess, theoretically, some incontrovertible archeological find could show without doubt that Jesus’ resurrection was a fraud; or maybe the the History Channel is right and the aliens that built the Pyramids will return and tell us it was all an experiment or a misunderstanding; or maybe Elon Musk and Rick Bostrom are right, Descartes’ Demon lives, and we’re all living in a simulation; or maybe Laplace’s Demon lives and consciousness is an illusion of evolution . . . .   Cartesian certainty doesn’t exist about anything.  But finding Christ false or incoherent would be like finding my wife of thirty years is an axe murderer.  It’s inconceivable to me.  (I am thinking here of C.S. Lewis’ essay “On the Obstinacy of Belief,” in The World’s Last Night and Other Essays (HarperOne Reissue 2017); Leslie Newbiggin’s Proper Confidence: Faith, Doubt & Certainty in Christian Discipleship (Eerdmans 1995); and lots of other texts on the relationship between faith and reason including even John Paul II’s Fides et Ratio.  And to anticipate one kind of response, yes, I’ve become critical of Lewis as I’ve become more of a theologian and scholar, but he still was a kind of Christian Platonist after all.)

As a second matter on rhetoric, I’ll mention Hart’s treatment of the Old Testament (see Tradition and Apocalypse, 163-168).  The historical-critical background of the creation myths and so-on that Hart alludes to is interesting and fairly well accepted in Biblical scholarship – with plenty of internal debates of course.  Hart’s observation that the canonical Hebrew Scriptures weave together and reinterpret these earlier sources, not least in response to the Exile, and that the New Testament further reinterprets them, is obviously true, and in my mind a beautiful example of how God speaks in diverse times and places (cf. Heb. 1:1).  And the Church Fathers further reinterpreted both the Old and New Testaments, not least as they developed their concepts of the Trinity and Christology.  (It was, by the way, the Arians who were the Biblical literalists – per Hart and pace McDermott.)  Really, I don’t have much criticism of what Hart says about the Old Testament in Tradition and Apocalypse in terms of its relation to Christian tradition, but I do feel that across his writings there is not much sense of the Jewish understanding of their own scriptures.  I mean here the Jewish understanding not only in the Second Temple period that informs the New Testament, about which Hart does have things to say, but also in the ongoing development of Rabbinic Judaism, including now after the Shoah.  I’m personally interested in Jewish-Christian relations, so I’m trying to learn my own nuance here.

Now, briefly, two philosophical observations.  First, I was surprised that Hart nowhere discusses Alasdair MacIntyre in this essay.  Like Polanyi, MacIntyre deeply informs my understanding of “tradition,” not only Christian tradition but also cultural, intellectual, and even legal traditions.  MacIntyre engages with Newman in his God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition (Rowman & Littlefield 2009), though more on Neman’s idea of the University than on the Essay.  For my money, MacIntyre’s After Virtue, Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry, and Whose Justice? Which Rationality? are essential reading on the notion of a moral, philosophical, or religious tradition.  Hart’s essay is selective because it’s an essay, but I’d be interested in his engagement with MacIntyre.  Similarly, since my University has a Lonergan Institute, I’d be interested to see mention of Bernard Lonergan’s take on epistemology (Insight) and theological method (Method in Theology).  I confess that I’ve never quite gotten through all of Insight despite trying a few times, but Method in Theology is right on point to Hart’s argument with Newman.

A final philosophical theology observation is about Hart’s brief reference to “monism,” something he has also alluded to elsewhere.  (Tradition and Apocalypse, 106.)  I’m not quite sure what Hart has in mind in relation to philosophical monisms or how he thinks of any of this theologically.  To the extent this is a way of talking about a Christian concept of participation, perhaps emphasizing that concept’s Platonic roots, I’d like to hear how this is a kind of “monism.”  To the extent there is a stronger claim here about the ontologies of God and creation – that creation itself is godself – I’m likely to demur, even to raise a serious objection.  I appreciate Jordan Daniel Wood’s work on Maximus and look forward to his book, but for my own part, I’ll enter that conversation with some skeptical distance.  I don’t think process theologies hold up morally, intellectually, or scripturally, and talk of creation as the “first incarnation” (this is something the popular spiritual teacher Richard Rohr likes to say) seem to me seriously misplaced.  So I’m interested to hear more about how any kind of “monism,” or a Maximian (if that’s the right term) notion of the logoi of creation, maintains the creator’s transcendence and thereby avoids the banality of process theology and the scent of idolatry.

Meanwhile, I concur fully with Hart’s final paragraph in Tradition and Apocalypse:  “Hope is the conviction that revelation will not only fulfill but far exceed the promise that the tradition preserves within itself.”

One thought on “David Opderbeck on David Bentley Hart’s Tradition and Apocalypse

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s