Williams described David Bentley Hart not only as "a theologian of exceptional quality" but also "a brilliant stylist":
This book takes no prisoners in its response to fashionable criticisms of Christianity. But what makes it more than just another contribution to controversy is the way he shows how the most treasured principles and values of compassionate humanism are rooted in the detail of Christian doctrine. I am pleased that we have identified a prize winning book that is so distinctive in its voice. It is never bland. It will irritate some, but it will also challenge and inspire readers inside and outside the church. No one could pretend after reading this that Christian theology was lacking in intellectual and imaginative force or in relevance to the contemporary world.It's true: Hart is an extraordinary prose stylist and a brilliant controversialist. He's a unique voice in contemporary theology. Grumpy, elegant, outrageous, and delightful – often all at the same time. Though this isn't my favourite of his books – I don't think it's as good as The Doors of the Sea, for example – it's great to see his writing recognised in this way.
The other shortlisted books were:
- Thomas E. Reynolds, Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality (Brazos Press)
- Christopher Cocksworth, Holding Together: Gospel, Church, Spirit (Canterbury Press)
- Richard Harries, The Re-enchantment of Morality (SPCK)
- Angel F. Montoya, The Theology of Food: Eating and the Eucharist (Wiley-Blackwell)
- Robert Hughes, Beloved Dust: Tides of the Spirit in the Christian Life (Continuum)