Encounter - call - mission: Conversion in the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Daniel W McGuire, Marquette University


This dissertation examines the ongoing conversion of a Christian as presented in the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar. The analysis of Balthasar's thought is prefaced by an historical survey of conversion through the writings of St. Augustine of Hippo, St. Thomas Aquinas, OP and Bernard Lonergan, SJ. Following this historical contextualization, conversion is examined from three perspectives: (1) As a single essential form which may be manifest in a variety of ways because it is necessarily an individualized process. (2) As an individual dramatic aspect within the larger drama of redemption. (3) As a dialogue between God and the human being. Under each of these three larger motifs, I analyze the role of each of the divine persons, (because conversion is always an act of the entire Trinity), the role of the human being (particularly with respect to freedom), the essential role of the Church, and the Marian dimension. A final section addresses the significance of his conversion theory for the new evangelization as presented in the Encyclical, "Ecclesiam Suam " and continually revisited by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Both the current and former popes were close friends of Balthasar and shared a similar desire for a renewed evangelization. All three men shared a concern that Christianity had lost its vibrancy in the modern world and were concerned to bring the light of Christ and tradition back into the dialogue with modern thought.

Recommended Citation

McGuire, Daniel W, "Encounter - call - mission: Conversion in the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar" (2007). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI3263820.