Biography of Hans Urs von Balthasar
All Ignatius Press books by Hans Urs von Balthasar
Excerpts from the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar
Ignatius Insight Articles about Hans Urs von Balthasar
Pope Benedict XVI Praises Hans Urs von Balthasar (Oct. 2005)
NEW (Fall 2010):
To the Heart of the Mystery of Redemption
by Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr
Preface by Henri Cardinal de Lubac
Postscript and foreword by Jacques Servais, S.J.
In the 1960's, Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar gave two conferences in Paris on the subject of redemption. One considered the perspective of Christ the Redeemer. The
other gave a view of the redemption from the perspective of Mary and the Church, consenting to the sacrifice of Jesus. These two conferences are what Fr. Jacques Servais,
S.J., in his foreword calls "a lantern of the Word", shedding light amidst the advancing turmoil of the postconciliar period.
These conferences were later collected by the eminent theologian Henri Cardinal de Lubac, S.J., in a single volume along with an anthology of meditations
on the Passion by the mystic Adrienne von Speyr, and selected by von Balthasar.
In this new edition, prepared for the centenary of the birth of
Hans Urs von Balthasar, Fr. Servais, the director of Casa Balthasar in Rome, provides an extensive postscript illuminating the text along
with the original preface by de Lubac.
"I had the joy of knowing and associating with this renowned Swiss theologian. I am convinced that his theological reflections preserve their freshness and
profound relevance undiminished to this day and that they incite many others to penetrate ever further into the depths of the mystery of the Faith, with
such an authoritative guide leading them by the hand." -- Pope Benedict XVI
"This little book is more than a helpful introduction to the soteriology of Hans Urs von Balthasar. It is a profoundly illuminating and inspiring reflection on
the mystery of the Redemption meant to prime the Christian faithful, in the first place, to say Yes to a share in Christ's Cross--a grace-enabled collaboration
that is always Marian and ecclesial--and secondly, to know how to convey the 'heart" of this mystery to others. A discerning guide to proclaiming the scandal
of the Cross today, this book is a valuable resource for priests and catechists." -- Margaret M. Turke, S.T.D., Assoc. Professor of Systematic
Theology, St. Patrick's Seminary and University, Menlo Park, California and author of Towards a Theology of God the Father: Hans Urs von Balthasar's
Introduction to the Life and Work of Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-88) was a Swiss
theologian, considered to be one of the most important Catholic intellectuals
and writers of the twentieth century. Incredibly prolific and diverse, he
wrote over one hundred books and hundreds of articles.
He studied at universities in Vienna, Berlin, and Zurich and his doctorate
was completed in 1928. His dissertation was titled "The History of
the Eschatological Problem in Modern German Literature." The following
year he entered the Society of Jesus.
Having studied theology and philosophy for several years, Balthasar was
attracted to the work of Erich Przywara (d. 1972) and Henri de Lubac (d.
1991). Tired of the prevalent neo-scholasticism of his day, Balthasar was
drawn to the spirituality-theology of the Church Fathers. Along with de
Lubac, Jean Daniélou, and other Continental theologians, he would
work to return to the Scriptures and patristics as primary theological sources.
In 1940 he was offered a teaching position in Rome, but chose to go to Basel
and be a chaplain for students. There he met the mystic Adrienne von Speyr
(1902-67); she would become a Catholic under his spiritual direction. Her
became a major source of inspiration for his writing and he insisted that
her work could not be separated from his own. Together they founded the
Community of St. John, a "secular institute."
In 1950 he left the Jesuits; in 1972 he formed Communio International
Catholic Review with Daniélou, de Lubac, and Joseph Ratzinger. From
1961-87 he produced his most important work, a trilogy published in fifteen
volumes: The Glory of the Lord, Theo-Drama, and Theo-Logic.
After many years of fighting illness and exhaustion, Balthasar died on June
26, 1988, one day before he was to be made a cardinal by Pope John Paul
The Holy Father wrote: "All who knew the priest,
von Balthasar, are shocked, and grieve over the loss of a great son of the
Church, an outstanding man of theology and of the arts, who deserves a special
place of honor in contemporary ecclesiastical and cultural life."
In his online
bio of Balthasar, Joel Garver writes:
He was said, by Henri de Lubac, to be "perhaps
the most cultured man of our time." Karl Rahner described his achievements
as "really breathtaking." His works include over a thousand
books and articles. At one point he was able to give away his stereo and
records since, he said, he had all the works of Mozart memorized anyway.
And it is my guess that history may well find him to be one of the most
important theologians of the 20th century.
Witness of Christ in the Church: Hans Urs von Balthasar," which
is a chapter from The Church: Paradox and Mystery, by Henri de
Lubac, S.J., is an excellent introduction to Balthasars theological
work and vision.
Several dozen links to articles about Balthasars life and work can
be found on
this page over at www.ratzingerfanclub.com.
You can read online the
Preface and Chapter XII, "
The Conquest of the Bride," from Balthasars
Heart of the World (the first Balthasar book published by Ignatius
Press, in 1979).
Alone Is Credible is a distillation in many ways of von Balthasars masterwork, The Glory of the Lord, in which
the great theologian used the term "theological aesthetic" to
describe what he believed to the most accurate method of interpreting
the concept of divine love, as opposed to approaches founded on historical
or scientific grounds. In Love
Alone Is Credible, von Balthasar delves
deeper into this exploration of what love means, what makes the divine
love of God, and how we must become lovers of God in the footsteps of
saints like Francis de Sales, John of the Cross and Therese of Lisieux.
An excellent examination of Balthasar's thinking
Urs von Balthasar: His Life and Work, edited by David L.Schindler.
This collection of essays, gathered under the auspices of Communio
editors, represents the most wide-ranging study of the life and work of
Balthasar. The twenty contributors include highly respected theologians,
philosophers and bishops from around the world such as Henri Cardinal
de Lubac, S.J., Walter Kasper, Louis Dupre, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger,
and Pope John Paul II.
Ignatius Press has been the predominant publisher of Hans Urs von Balthasars
writings in English, having published over sixty of his books.
A complete listing of Balthasars books published by Ignatius Press:
An Ecclessial Existence
Christian and Anxiety
Christian State of Life
Liturgy: The Universe According to Maximus the Confessor
Credo: Meditations on the
We Hope "That All Men Be Saved"?
Jesus Know Us?
Engagement with God
Glance at Adrienne Von Speyr
Grain of Wheat: Aphorisms
of the World
the Fullness of Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic
Laity in the Life of the Counsels: The Church's Mission in the World
of the Word: Brief Reflections on the Sunday Readings
Alone is Credible
Mary, The Church at the Source
(with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger)
Moment of Christian Witness
Paschale: The Mystery of Easter
Office of Peter And the Structure of the Church
Struggles with His Congregation: The Pastoral Message of the Letters to
and Thought: An Essay on the Religious Philosophy of Gregory of Nyssa
of Christian Morality
the Bastions: On the Church in this Age
Romano Guardini: Reform From the Source
of the Incarnation: Irenaeus Against the Heresies
Primer for Unsettled Laymen
Test Everything: Hold Fast to What Is Good
of Henri De Lubac
of Karl Barth
To the Heart of the
Mystery of Redemption
Under Grace: Reinhold Schneider on the Experience of the West
Is Symphonic: Aspects of Christian Pluralism
Sisters in the Spirit: Thérèse of Lisieux and Elizabeth
of the Trinity
You Become Like This Child
Crown the Year With Your Goodness: Sermons Throughout the Liturgical Year
Have Words of Eternal Life: Scripture Meditations
Explorations in Theology
in Theology: Word Made Flesh, vol 1
in Theology: Spouse of the Word, vol 2
in Theology: Creator Spirit, vol 3
in Theology: Spirit and Institution, vol 4
The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics
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
Volume I: The Truth of the World
Volume II: Truth of God
Volume III: The Spirit of the Truth
II: Dramatis Personae
III: Dramatis Personae
IV: The Action
V: The Last Act
Excerpts from the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Introduction | From Adrienne von Speyr's
The Book of All Saints
The Conquest of the Bride | From
Heart of the World
Jesus Is Catholic | From
In The Fullness of Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic
of My Thought | From Hans Urs von
Balthasar: His Life and Work
Authority and the Petrine Element | From
In The Fullness of Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic
Us | From A Short Primer For
of Anxiety? | The Introduction to
The Christian and Anxiety
by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary" | From Credo:
Meditations on the Apostles' Creed
Ignatius Insight Articles about Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Discerning What Is Christian | The Foreword to Hans Urs von Balthasar's
Engagement with God | Margaret M. Turek
Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Tarot | Stratford Caldecott
is Believable: Hans Urs von Balthasars Apologetics | Fr. John R. Cihak
Balthasar and Anxiety: Methodological and
Phenomenological Considerations | Fr. John R. Cihak
Reading von Balthasar Together: An Interview with Adam
Janke | Carl E. Olson