by David Bentley Hart
From the Violence & Peace in Contemporary Art Symposium
Dr. David Bentley Hart explains a philosophy of beauty based on the contingency of existence. He states that the existence of a contingent reality points to the existence of an absolute reality. Likewise, most if not all objects of a contingent reality cannot be desired in themselves but rather are desired for transcendent qualities belonging to the absolute reality. This, Hart argues, is beauty.
Dr. David Bentley Hart is an Orthodox theologian, philosopher, and cultural commentator, whose specialties include philosophical theology, patristics, and aesthetics. Hart has been published in various periodicals including, Pro Ecclesia, The Scottish Journal of Theology, First Things, and The New Criterion. He has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of St. Thomas, Duke Divinity School, and Loyola College in Baltimore. Hart is the author of seven books including Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth (Eerdmans, 2004), which has been lauded by The Christian Century as “one of the most brilliant works by an American theologian in the past ten years.” His two most recent books are The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? (Eerdmans, 2011), and The Devil and Pierre Gernet: Stories, his first work of fiction (Eerdmans, 2012).