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Very pleased to find this second hand volume to add to my set, at an economical price and in good condition. Hardcover Theological Aesthetics Volume III A Study in Lay Styles — save the first, just about every word in this title distinguishes it from typical works in Theology, marks it as something different, hints at something new. Distinguished, different and new is exactly what it is. For von Balthasar human being is ordained to the three great Transcendentals: Truth, Goodness and Beauty, a defensibly philosophical and theologically orthodox view. But what distinguishes von Balthasar consists of his emphasis on Aesthetics. He raises the Standard of Beauty in a modern world that seems fixed on forgetting both its appeal and integral necessity to human flourishing and fulfillment; Beauty, the that without which, in his words, Truth loses its “cogency” and Goodness, it’s “savor”. What is different about Von Balthasar. very different from nearly all Clergy and Academic theologians. is the deference he pays to ‘lay’ theologians, to the possibility of ‘lay theology’ at all to poets like Dante or Hopkins or the great French poet, Charles Peguy, on whom there also are chapters. There is a chapter on Soloviev, precursor of von Balthasar in some ways with his devotion to Aesthetics. Von Balthasar wrote an entire book on Bernanos. The Chapter on Dante is a marvel, a subtle and comprehensive exegesis that alone is worth the price of the book. “For Dante, conversion to the laity means turning away from the scholastic study of essences to reflection on the reality and conditions of the possibility of an authentic Christian existence; indeed — and this in contrast to the mendicant orders and the mysticism of the day — of an ethicopolitical existence in the world”. And what the Volume hints at is the renewal of a new wine for 21st Century theology in a form that channels the Beauty of the Gospels, that recalls that not even Solomon in all his raiment has the beauty of the Lilies of the Field, a theology that is poetic, that routinely finds in poetry the Theological Aesthetics of The Glory of the Lord. For von Balthasar, as he says in his Man in History, the Christian is ‘forever young’ (Dylan), a ‘youth of a thousand summers’, (Van Morrison) and “The Christian has the privilege of remaining to the end, and in everything he does, a ‘poet.’” Von Balthasar is rhapsodic in style, almost stream of consciousness at times. Neither Joyce nor Faulkner nor Kerouac eclipse him in the spirals of his syntax, the stretch of sentences, the opulence of his imagery. But von Balthasar needs a large canvass to get it all in: the massive erudition sometimes as if containing the entirety of Western and Eastern Church Theology, Philosophy, the History of the Church, the complex and comprehensive thought, the auras, associations, affiliations and cross referencing of sources, the scope and grandeur of his vision. Pope Benedict called von Balthasar ‘the most cultured man in Europe’ and in the years since his death he has become known as the “Glorious Doctor” as St. Thomas is known as the “Common Doctor”. If you have any interest in Theology at all, and aren’t usually afraid as this reader can be of ‘the big bad book’, and if Beauty animates your spirituality and path of seeking the divine, this Volume is worth the investment of time and energy to really get to know it. And once you really get to know it, it will become a regularly revisited wise and beautifully ensouled old friend. Hardcover greatest theologian of the past century Hardcover Stimulating to read the work of so many Hardcover I am now finishing the first volume of his theo drama, and I can only repeat what seems to be common knowledge concerning Urs Von Balthasar, that his erudition is quite simply staggering. With the use of European letters, theology, philosophy, history or social sciences, Balthasar weaves a subtle and complex theology which is rich, comprehensible and intriguing.
His thought is demanding but never pedantic and his long developments do grant a certain clarity to what he is aiming to explain and achieve. I would however strongly recommend reading a general review of Balthasar's work before engaging into his trilogy, I found the cambridge companion very useful.
Depending on your background some segments may reveal themselves quite challenging. Having of a literary frame of mind, I found his analyse of Dante, Péguy, Pascal, Homer, Virgil and so many others stunning and fascinating. However when it came to Hamman, Soloviev, Denys and others, trying to understand everything he was aiming at and demonstrating was of an uphill struggle. And yet, this is probably why I intend to finish this remarkable reframing of the christian conceptual cathedral, as slowly ambling through his trilogy volume by volume is like a guided tour through a Louvre like museum of western thought, filled with countless rooms containing riveting concepts and unexpected marvels. His first volume seeing the form is not the most rewarding, but I find myself returning to it, to grasp the overall architecture of his trilogy. Hardcover

The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 3: Studies in Theologic Ett oväntat fel har inträffat.