Date of Award

Fall 1996

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The Problem of the Dissertation During the last several years English-speaking countries have witnessed a flourishing of interest in the writings of the great Roman Catholic theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988). Stimulated by the as-yet-uncompleted translation of Balthasar's eleven volume triolgy-Herrlichkeit: Eine theologische Asthetik (four volumes), Theodramatik (four volumes), and Theologik (three volumes)--writers in this country and elsewhere have produced numerous books dealing with the thought of the German-speaking theologian. But several writers have noted that Balthasar's reception in this country and elsewhere is complicated by the fact that his place in the current theological guild is ambiguous. Is he conservative or progressive? How does one situate him with respect to other major Catholic thinkers like Karl Rahner or Johann Baptist Metz? What should we make of his largely negative evaluation of major theological trends within Catholic theology such as transcendental Thomism and liberation theology? This man whom Henri de Lubac called the "most cultured man of our times" is indeed not easy to pin down. It is not surprising, however, that some theologians have been venturing tentative critiques of Balthasar's thought, especially because Balthasar himself was so often critical of contemporary trends in theology...



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