Book Review: David Bentley Hart, A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays

Reading Acts

Hart_Leaves Upon the Wind_wrk02.inddHart, David Bentley. A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 309 pp. Pb; $35.  Link to Eerdmans

Almost all of the 52 essays in this collection appeared in First Things. They are all more or less brief reflections on a wide variety of topics. In fact, this is the kind of book one reads “now and then” rather than straight through from cover to cover. There are essays on philosophy (“”The Gnostic Turn”), literature (“the Poetry of Autumn”, culture (“America and the Angles of the Sacré –Coeur”), and even baseball (“Brilliant Specialist” and “A Perfect Game”). One essay offers examples of poetry from Hart’s great uncle Aloysius Bentley, another comments on Gnostic themes the (original) BBC series The Prisoner.

Like most good essay writers, Hart is able to begin with one topic, often some real-life experience most can understand, and turn it…

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