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Paperback Glory of the Lord Series Set Book

ISBN: 0567089916

ISBN13: 9780567089915

Glory of the Lord Series Set

(Book #1 in the The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics Series)

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The Perceptual Basis of Faith

SEEING {...and, as, is...} BELIEVING The Relationship between Perception and Faith in Hans Urs von Balthasar's The Glory of The Lord Notwithstanding von Balthasar's stated objective of developing "a theory of beauty from the data of revelation itself with genuinely theological methods," the dynamic that emerges between the fields of theology and aesthetics in The Glory of the Lord seems to be one of mutual critique and enrichment more so than strictly unidirectional influence. After all, von Balthasar's own survey of the state of these disciplines at the denouement of modernity pronounces them rather diminished in scope and aspirations. Before they can engage in any meaningful dialogue, theology and aesthetics must be drawn out of their insular guilds by the memory of a once shared object and language. Von Balthasar's assessment of prevailing approaches to revelation in modern theology (including atomistic strains of biblical studies) evinces their alarming resemblance to scientific dissection, a mode of inquiry he judges to be at odds with both the form and content of revelation. In von Balthasar's view, preoccupation with fragmentary analysis compromises not only the classical definition of revelation as God's self-presentation to the world, but also the classical definition of theology as contemplation of and participation in this divine-creaturely encounter. Much modern theology seems distracted by historical and textual "particles" to such a degree, that it is no longer capable of perceiving the greater whole these pertain to, a whole that is not simply a reconstructed historical or textual entity, but the dawning reality of creation's participation in the life of God. Von Balthasar senses that without this "mystical" element modern theological method remains a misleading confusion of the greater whole with a mere collage of parts. However, the beatific vision itself stands in need of careful disentanglement from its distortions in the imageless interiority of fideism (undergirded by the principle of absconditas Dei sub contrario) and the privileged gnosis of syncretistic theosophy. In the wake of its "liberation" from metaphysics, ethics, and conceptuality by paradoxically allied currents of Kantian and Romantic epistemologies, aesthetics has severely limited its vision as well. On the one hand, it has dutifully spun out intricate patterns, surgically precise compositions, and impassive juxtapositions of characters in deference to free (that is, concept-free and affection-free) play of corresponding mental faculties. On the other hand, its more ambitious attempts to rekindle the extinguished transcendent light have produced chimaeras of the World Spirit or World Soul permeating nature and humanity, zealously burning "illusory" differences in quasi-monist, quasi-pantheist conflagrations. From Herder to Hegel, the latter alternative has accepted the price of "insulating the aesthetic from logic and ethics (as opposed to its total int

Beautiful Philosophy

Any Christian who likes to express his or her faith in aesthetic terminology should read this book. Any educated person with a classical philosophic vocabulary should read it too. Beautiful work.

A masterpiece on Beauty

Hans Urs von Balthasar was one of the most preeminent XXth century catholic theologians, and this is, in my opinion, his most important work - by this I mean the whole trilogy (Glory, Theodrammatica, Theologica). This first volume of Glory, Seeing the Form (Schau der Gestalt) seems to be really fundamental for a serious understanding of the guidelines of his thought. At the fantastic Introduction, after a superb hymn to the Beauty, he presents us with an accurate analysis of the elimination of this universal (Beauty) from both Catholic and Protestant theology, besides a review on the possibilities of a Protestant Aesthetics. He tries, then, to make it clear the difference between an Aesthetic Theology from a Theological Aesthetics. The task and structure of the latter is then explored. There's no way to go on in such detailness through the whole book, because there are too many points to look at, and this is not the place to do it. But it's worth to say that the main objective of the author, as he goes on working on the 'subjective evidence' through the 'light' and 'experience' of faith (the second part of the book), and at the third part, the 'objective evidence', the main objective, as I was saying, is to precise a 'form', to state the main difference of Christianity from all other world religions, which is exactly the visible and historical form of the God made flesh. After 'seeing' the form of revelation which came from the Old Covenant, we have in Christ the centre of its form, that is, the centre of God's revelation form. I strongly recommend this book to everyone who is seriously wanting to deep his theological studies, or to anyone who wants to learn more about the actual situation of the Church, and Christianity as a whole.

The first book in the first part of an important theology

The late Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar was, without a doubt, one of the most important Catholic systematic theologians of the 20th century. This is the first book (of seven) of the first part of his "trilogy" which outlines and describes his systematic theology. As an introduction to his systematics, it is an essential read. To those not familiar with von Balthasar, it's a wonderful place to start.Unsatisfied with Rahner's "transcendental Thomism" and his method of "doing theology from below", von Balthasar begins with the revelation of God. The entire systematic theology is structured around the ancient philosophical transcendentals "Beauty, Truth, and Goodness". In this first volume (and throughout the first part of the trilogy) von Balthasar discusses the Revelation of God to humanity through form and beauty.Truly a remarkable book, and a good introduction to a remarkable man.
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