There is pleasure in turning oneself over to David Bentley Hart: he is brilliant, polemical, vigorous; his prose is aptly described as virtuosic; his insights seem never to end. Even when he is being pedantic, he is interestingly pedantic, as in this footnote in Galatians: “Paul’s syntax here is even more vagrant than usual.” “Vagrant” is the surprisingly perfect word.

Hart succeeds in making the New Testament strange again.

His new translation of the New Testament aims to be, first of all, linguistically provocative. Jesus “Christ” makes no appearance here. Taking his place is a character called “the Anointed.” The Anointed has come not into the world but into the cosmos. There are no Jews here, and not only in the difficult passages of John’s gospel where “the...

 

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