Karl Barth and Hans Urs von Balthasar: a critical engagement

Wigley, Stephen David (2006). Karl Barth and Hans Urs von Balthasar: a critical engagement. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis examines the relationship between two major twentieth century theologians, Karl Barth and Hans Urs von Balthasar. It seeks to show how their meeting, resulting in von Balthasar’s seminal study The Theology of Karl Barth, goes on to influence von Balthasar’s theological development throughout his trilogy beginning with The Glory of the Lord, continuing in the Theo-Drama and concluding with the Theo-Logic. In particular it explores the significance of the debate over the ‘analogy of being’ and seeks to show that von Balthasar’s decision to structure his trilogy around the transcendentals of ‘being’, the beautiful, the good and the true, results from his re-affirmation of the role of analogy in light of his debate with Barth. It will also suggest that von Balthasar’s adoption of a ‘theo-dramatic’ approach to God’s saving action and assertion of the role of Church as a ‘theo-dramatic character’ in her own right is prompted by concern over what he alleges to be ‘christological constriction’ and an inadequate doctrine of the Church in Barth. This argument will be conducted in dialogue with other theologians and interpreters of von Balthasar and conclude with a personal reflection on how the issues raised remain relevant today.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Historical Studies
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/247


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