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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on two themes that recur throughout the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) and that provide keys to understanding his theological epistemology: (i) Christian experience and its relation to the ‘form of Christ’, and (ii) the connection between holiness and theology. The chapter also considers the role of ‘exemplary people’, or saints, within Balthasar’s epistemology and discusses the impact of his theological anthropology on his epistemological position. In examining these themes and ideas this chapter throws light onto the epistemic considerations that lie at the heart of Balthasar’s theology. The chapter discusses two objections to his approach: one from Karen Kilby (2012) who charges Balthasar with a ‘performative contradiction’, and the further complaint that his demand for holiness on the part of theologians is too stringent a requirement. The chapter concludes with the observation that Balthasar’s epistemology is highly suggestive of a form of exemplarism.

Keywords: Balthasar, theological epistemology, holiness, form of Christ, theological anthropology, exemplarism

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