Hart and Sartre on God and consciousness

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This article offers a comparative reading of the ontologies of David Bentley Hart and Jean-Paul Sartre as well as their respective appeals to phenomenology as a philosophical method. While it may seem odd to compare one of the twentieth century’s most celebrated atheists with one of contemporary Christianity’s most highly- acclaimed critics of atheism, this article shows that there are many surprising parallels between the ontological outlooks of Hart and Sartre, namely their conceptions of God as the unity of being and consciousness and their accounts of human consciousness as a desire to ‘become God’. By examining the similarities and differ- ences between Sartre’s and Hart’s philosophical and theological works, this article seeks to highlight the phenomenological aspects of Hart’s theological outlook and consider how Hart’s appeal to the phenomenological analysis of intentional consciousness in his theological work can illuminate our understanding of the ongoing engagements between theology and phenomenology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophy and Theology
Issue number1
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Phenomenology
  • Jean-Paul Sartre
  • David Bentley Hart
  • Consciousness
  • Intentionality
  • Ontology


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