The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies
David Bentley Hart
February 23, 2010
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
In this provocative book one of the most brilliant scholars of religion today dismantles distorted religious “histories” offered up by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and other contemporary critics of religion and advocates of atheism. David Bentley Hart provides a bold correction of the New Atheists’s misrepresentations of the Christian past, countering their polemics with a brilliant account of Christianity and its message of human charity as the most revolutionary movement in all of Western history.
Hart outlines how Christianity transformed the ancient world in ways we may have forgotten: bringing liberation from fatalism, conferring great dignity on human beings, subverting the cruelest aspects of pagan society, and elevating charity above all virtues. He then argues that what we term the “Age of Reason” was in fact the beginning of the eclipse of reason’s authority as a cultural value. Hart closes the book in the present, delineating the ominous consequences of the decline of Christendom in a culture that is built upon its moral and spiritual values.
David Bentley Hart is the author of several books, including In the Aftermath: Provocations and Laments and The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth. He lives in Providence, RI.
“With impressive erudition and polemical panache, David Hart smites hip and thigh the peddlers of a ‘new atheism’ that recycles hoary arguments from the past. His grim assessment of our cultural moment challenges the hope that ‘the Christian revolution’ could happen again.”—Richard John Neuhaus, former editor in chief of First Things
"In this learned, provocative, and sophisticated book, Hart presents a frontal challenge to today's myopic caricature of the culture and religion that existed in previous centuries."—Robert Louis Wilken, University of Virginia
“Surely Dawkins, Hitchens et al would never have dared put pen to paper had they known of the existence of David Bentley Hart. After this demolition-job all that is left for them to do is repent and rejoice at the discreditation of their erstwhile selves.”—John Milbank, author of Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology
"Atheist Delusions will be remembered as Hart’s breakout book. His contributions to such journals as First Things have long marked him as a rising public intellectual. . . . Hart’s work is now likely to come to the attention of a wider audience. And not a moment too soon."—William L. Portier, Commonweal
"Few things are so delightful as watching someone who has taken the time to acquire a lot of learning casually, even effortlessly, dismantle the claims of lazy grandstanders. . . . Hart isn’t making a bid for wealth, fame, or cocktail-party acceptance: He knows whereof he speaks."—Stefan Beck, New Criterion
"Anyone interested in taking the debate about God to the next level should read and reflect on Hart’s spirited brief on behalf of Christian truth."—Damon Linker, New Republic
"Hart writes with elegance. Even his invective has style."—Richmond Times-Dispatch
"Absolutely brilliant . . . a cultural tour-de-force"—John Linsenmeyer, Greenwich Time
“[A] major work by one of the most learned, forceful, and witty Christian theologians currently writing.”—Paul J. Griffiths, First Things
‘Hart has the gifts of a good advocate. He writes with clarity and force, and he drives his points home again and again. He exposes his opponents errors of fact or logic with ruthless precision.’ — Anthony Kenny, Times Literary Supplement
“Atheist Delusions is a history that serves life . . . Hart argues for a brave thesis . . . . With astonishing success, [he] achieves his objective.”--Christopher Benson, The City
'It is a taut and tart introduction to the ideas that drove the Christian Revolution, fired by righteous anger and with an arsenal of learning that explodes off the page.' — Nick Mattiske, The Lutheran (Australian Lutheran Church)
“A provocative work, vigorous, humorous, erudite.”—James R. A. Merrick, Scottish Bulletin on Evangelical Theory
“…takes no prisoners in its response to fashionable criticisms of Christianity.”—Dr Rowan Williams, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Church Times
“Entertaining and challenging, this book brings us back to what Christmas is about.”—Nick Baines, The Church Times (Christmas Books)