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Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) was a Swiss Roman Catholic theologian. Along with Karl Rahner, Balthasar is one of the most important Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century.

Balthasar was educated in Benedictine and Jesuit secondary schools and went on to study in Vienna, Berlin, and Zurich. In 1928 he underwent his doctoral examination at the University of Zurich, a liberal Protestant institution, having completed a dissertation on the "History of the Eschatological Problem in Modern German Literature." In November 1928 he entered the Jesuit novitiate for two years, after which he studied Scholastic philosophy with a Jesuit faculty near Munich, followed by four years of theology near Lyon. Thus he was a licentiate in both philosophy and theology, though his doctorate remained only in literature. [1]

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Selected works

  • Heart of the World. Ignatius Press, 1979; first published 1945.
  • The Theology of Karl Barth: Exposition and Interpretation. Trans by Edward T. Oakes. Ignatius Press, 1992; first published 1951.
  • A Theology of History. Ignatius Press, 1994; first published 1959.
  • The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, 7 vols. T&T Clark, 1982-1991 (first published 1961-1969)
    • I: Seeing the Form
    • II: Clerical Styles
    • III: Lay Styles
    • IV: The Realm of Metaphysics in Antiquity
    • V: The Realm of Metaphysics in the Modern Age
    • VI: Theology: The Old Covenant
    • VII: Theology: The New Covenant
  • Theo-Drama, 5 vols. Ignatius Press, 1988-1998 (first published 1973-1983)
    • I: Prolegomena
    • II: Dramatis Personae: Man in God
    • III: Dramatis Personae: Persons in Christ
    • IV: The Action
    • V: The Last Act
  • Theo-Logic, 3 vols. Ignatius Press, 2001-2005 (first published 1985-?)
    • I: The Truth of the World
    • II: Truth of God
    • III: The Spirit of the Truth
  • Explorations in Theology, 4 vols. Ignatius Press, 1993 (first published 1960-1974)
    • I: Word Made Flesh
    • II: Spouse of the Word
    • III: Creator Spirit
    • IV: Spirit and Institution

Further reading

  • Rodney Howsare, Balthasar: A Guide for the Perplexed. T&T Clark, 2009.
  • John O'Donnell, Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Outstanding Christian Thinkers. Continuum, 2000.
  • Edward T. Oakes, The Pattern of Redemption: The Theology of Hans Urs Von Balthasar. Continuum, 1997.
  • ______ and David Moss, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Hans Urs von Balthasar. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • John Riches, ed. The Analogy of Beauty: The Theology of Hans Urs Von Balthasar. T&T Clark, 1986.
  • David L. Schindler, Hans Urs Von Balthasar: His Life and Work. Ignatius Press, 1991.
  • Rodney A. Howsare and Larry S. Chapp, eds. How Balthasar Changed My Mind: 15 Scholars Reflect on the Meaning of Balthasar for Their Own Work. Crossroad Publishing, 2008.


  1. A Short Biography, by S. Joel Garver

External links