This week we’ll be looking a bit at food and fellowship during class. I’ll be drawing a lot from Robert Farrar Capon’s book The Supper of the Lamb. Here is a pretty interesting teaser article from Life magazine written when the book came out in 1969. The ads are fun too.
Since we didn’t have time to watch any clips from Twelfth Night in class on Sunday, here a few that I mentioned (although if you have time you should watch the whole thing!).
Clip 1 Malvolio scolds Toby and Andrew for their late-night merrymaking.
Clip 2 Malvolio opens the “love” letter
Clip 3 Malvolio declares himself to Olivia (begins at 8:15 and continues into the next segment)
This Sunday we will be looking at how some of Hart’s principles of beauty apply to stories. I’ll be using Leithart’s Deep Comedy as a source, and he uses Twelfth Night as his prime example. If you would like to be well-prepared for this discussion, feel free to read the play, or you can see a good movie version from 1996 on youtube here:
We had a lively discussion about a passage from David Bentley Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite. Here’s the quotation
The delightfulness of created things expresses the delightfulness of God’s infinite distance. For Christian thought, then, delight is the premise of any sound epistemology: it is delight that constitutes creation, and so only delight can comprehend it, see it aright, understand its grammar. Only in loving creation’s beauty – only seeing that creation truly is beauty – does one apprehend what creation is.
Hart is basing his doctrine of creation on his doctrine of the trinity. For him, perichoresis is the basis of the life of the trinity, uniting the three Persons while preserving their difference. They are bound together by love, and their eternal existence is one of delight and pleasure. For Hart, this is part of what “God is love” means. Likewise, in order for man to have knowledge of God he must first be drawn by the Spirit to love Him.
Love for God ————————-> Knowledge of God
Since creation imitates and reflects its Creator, Hart says that this scenario holds true for creation as well. In order to truly know and understand the world, we must first love it and appreciate its beauty. Notice that he is not saying that you must love God in order to understand creation (though that may be true in one sense) but that you must love creation in order to understand creation.
Love for creation ——————————–> Knowledge of creation
Hopefully this helps clear up Hart’s point.
I’ve added the recap from week 2 onto the new Recaps page. Check there for all recaps in the future.
If you ever want to take a further look into any of the books we use in class, I will add them to the Sources page as we go. Just click on the tab underneath the pretty sheep.
A couple of interesting questions from week 1 deserve a further answer.
John Unger asked whether David Bentley Hart believed in hell. From an interview on this website:
Is universal salvation a corollary of your view of the absurdity of evil?
Probably not; but Gregory of Nyssa would say otherwise. The preferred Eastern Orthodox understanding of hell, one with profound patristic pedigrees, defines hell as something self-imposed, a condition of the soul that freely refuses to open itself in love to God and neighbor, and that thereby seals itself against the deifying love of God, thereby experiencing divine glory as an external chastisement. That hell I believe in, inasmuch as all of us from time to time have tasted it in this world. The refusal of love makes love a torment to us.
Secondly, someone asked about how Hart can associate the truth of the Gospel with the Church’s effectiveness in demonstrating it, given the mixed record of the church in history. Here is a video of a portion of an interview with Hart where he acknowledges and clarifies that point.