The Word Has Been Abroad
A Guide Through Balthasar's Aesthetics
Hans Urs von Balthasar is arguably one of the greatest-and certainly one of the most influential-Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. Awarded the prestigious Paul VI Prize for theology and designated a Cardinal just before his death in 1988 by Pope John Paul II, Balthasar's writings have clearly helped to shape the theological style of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. His seven-volume series The Glory of the Lord provides a rich and complex theological aesthetics approaching God (unusually) through the transcendental attribute of Beauty (Glory) rather than directly through Truth or Goodness, and drawing not only upon theology but upon the entire breadth of the European literary and religious tradition-ancient, mediaeval, modern, and postmodern.
Understandably, The Glory of the Lord in its very extent and range is difficult to assimilate. In The Word Has Been Abroad, Aidan Nichols, one of Britain's most accomplished and lucid theological writers, succeeds in summarizing the essential theological content of Balthasar's monumental work, against the background of the living Christian tradition to which it bears such impressive witness. In this way, Father Nichols has provided a much-needed key to understanding one of the most difficult but important writers of our time.
This is the first volume of Aidan Nichols's Introduction to Hans Urs von Balthasar, which will also include guides to Balthasar's theological drama and logic.
Aidan Nichols, O.P., is a member of the Dominican community at Blackfriars, Cambridge, and the author of numerous works of theology and Church history, including a two-volume commentary on the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a study of the theology of Joseph Ratzinger.
"This book, by one of Britain's best known theological writers, is the first in an 'Introduction to Hans Urs von Balthasar' series being published the Catholic University of America Press. Here Nichols has set himself the task of guiding us through the often difficult seven-volume Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Balthasar's vast work on a vast subject: the beauty of God. With this very good book, Nichols has done us a great service."—New Oxford Review
"The analysis is lucid and accurate and will give the reader an excellent presentation of Balthasar's project."—Worship
"The prolific English Catholic historian Aidan Nichols has written an authoritative and sympathetic introduction to Balthasar's multi-volumed magnum opus, The Glory of the Lord."—Church Times
"[This work] makes Balthasar's labyrinthine style intelligible to the pragmatic British or American reader. . . . Nichols explains with considerable intellectual vigor what Balthasar's whole exercise in 'aesthetics' and in the historical growth thereof intended. The summary of the dialectics between the Old and the New Testament (and of their mutual need) are masterpieces in themselves. . . . Nichols has written an excellent and highly useful work. His understanding of Balthasar is thorough and fair. In the emerging exegetical corpus on Balthasar this book will surely maintain its place among the most valuable and durable."—The Review of Metaphysics
"A very useful book in that it not only follows the shape and content of the first part of Balthasar's trilogy exactly, but offers an interpretive key to the vast oeuvre which explores the beauty of God and which dialogues with a great diversity of thinkers, biblical and pagan, ancient and modern. . . . Nichols has done us a great service in providing a readable guide to Herrlichkeit."—Heythrop Journal
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