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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the extensive corpus of Hans Urs von Balthasar by treating two architectonic themes in his thought: remembrance and beauty. In the first instance, Balthasar sees theology in modernity—especially in the form of neo-scholasticism—as marked by a failure to remember appropriately some essential principles of Christian tradition, most importantly the inseparability of theology and spirituality in an anti-Gnostic key. In the second instance, the theme of theological aesthetics is treated, initially by placing Balthasar’s conception of a true seeing of natural forms against the background of Goethe’s philosophy. The epiphanic nature of all created being, able to reveal to us the glory of God, and yet obscured from us by sin, lies at the heart of Balthasar’s theology. Ultimately, this theology is Christocentric: the crucified and risen Christ-form becomes a permanent sacramental vehicle of divine grace, restoring our sight of natural form and divine glory.

Keywords: Balthasar, Goethe, memory, beauty, aesthetics, form, Gnosticism, ressourcement, modernity

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