My first evening with David Bentley Hart

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I was visiting family in Baltimore and I needed a break. So on an overcast evening I found Theosis or Bust, a small, dimly lit library pub covered wall to wall in books and boasting a fine selection of libations (including Ouzo). They played an assortment of Catholic and Greek chants. A pub for intellectuals. As I waited for the barman Max (Maximus) to serve up a 16 year old Lagavulin (no ice), I turned to scope out a quiet corner near the Philokalia and there he sat, a bearded man with a dark walking cane, wearing an ill-fitting sport coat with a “Do not disturb” sign on his table. He was reading Charles Hartshorne’s Creative Synthesis. DBH reading CH? Now that’s interesting, I thought. Max came through just then, and I strolled over and intruded:

       “με συγχωρείτε” (Pardon me), I said, “but you wouldn’t happen to be Professor David Hart would you? And that wouldn’t be Charles Hartshorne you’re reading there, would it?” (careful to pronounce it “Hart’s Horn,” not “Hart Shorne”).

       “Ποιος ζητά” (Who’s asking?), he muttered without looking up, reaching for his cane and pulling it a bit closer.

Without saying a word, I lowered the volume of my own choosing that I brought along to cry over, Greg Boyd’s Trinity and Process: A Critical Evaluation and Reconstruction of Hartshorne’s Di-Polar Theism Towards a Trinitarian Metaphysics.

       “Πρόστιμο” (Fine, whatever) fell out of him as he slowly raised his gaze above Hartshorne to check me out. “τραβήξτε μια καρέκλα” (Take a seat), he offered, training his eyes on the open chair opposite him. I slid in.

I’m sworn to secrecy about the conversations that followed. We were there until I know not when. All I can say is we spilled our souls to each other that night, drained Max of all his Lagavulin, singing all the Greek chants (while ignoring all the Latin ones) and cheering each other’s glass with “Opa!” I once toasted him with “На здоровье” (Na-zdorovie) which brought him to his feet in tears shouting “Bulgakov!”

We continue to meet at Theosis or Bust annually on cold, rainy nights. I can’t say when.

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9 comments on “My first evening with David Bentley Hart

  1. brian says:

    That pub looks amazing, Tom. I envy you the conversation.

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  2. brian says:

    Oh, and the libations . . .

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  3. Why did you ignore the Latin chants ?

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  4. Ah, I didn’t realise it was fictional lol.

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  5. brian says:

    I’m afraid I was taken in as well. I suppose a pub named Theosis or Bust should have tipped me off, among other things. Too distracted by my own life issues to read carefully I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG This is hilarious, and a very apt pastiche of DBH’s delicious style!

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  7. Tim Ellison says:

    LOL that it was not recognized as fiction…great piece..

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