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Seeing the Form (The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics #1)

4.67  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The work opens with a critical review of developments in Protestant and Catholic Theology since the Reformation which have led to the steady neglect of aesthetics in Christian theology. From here, von Balthasar turns to the central theme of the volume: the question of theological knowledge. He re-examines the nature of Christian believing (here he quickly draws widely on s ...more
Hardcover, 691 pages
Published June 28th 1982 by Ignatius Press (first published June 1982)
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John
Sep 04, 2010 John rated it it was amazing
The first volume of Balthasar's Theological Aesthetics, Seeing the Form is difficult to quantify in a few words. At its base, Balthasar wants to recapture aesthetics, or beauty, in the task of theological reflection. Where truth and goodness have dominated the discipline, beauty has fallen on hard times. For in a world devoid of beauty, both goodness and truth become compromised as well.

The pinnacle of beauty in the world (not to mention truth and goodness) is Jesus Christ. Balthasar's work orbi
...more
Spencer
May 28, 2008 Spencer rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Christian theology
Although it is properly set within Balthasar's wider work Glory of the Lord and the even broader 'triptych' consisting of the aesthetics, Theo-Drama, and Theo-Logic, Seeing the Form is one of the best single volumes of theology I have ever read. In it, Hans Urs von Balthasar, attempts to reclaim "beauty" as an essential category for theology. On analogy with inner-worldly beauty, God's glory shows itself to the eyes of faith which it itself grants us. This showing itself occurs in a form - a par ...more
Dwight Davis
Feb 17, 2016 Dwight Davis rated it it was amazing
One of the best and most beautifully written works of theology I've read. Especially helpful were the chapter on grace and HUvB's sections on scripture and liturgy. A really astounding work of theology that will take a few more reads to fully appreciate.
Aeisele
Jun 22, 2013 Aeisele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
The Glory of the Lord, vol 1: Seeing the Form is the first in Hans Urs von Balthasar's massive theological trilogy, one of the most important works of the 20th century theology. Balthasar uses the ancient philosophical categories of the "transcendentals" (Beauty, Goodness, and Truth) to structure this work (over 17 volumes!), and vol 1 is a justification and initial exploration of the first of those transcendentals, Beauty.
It's hard to overstate how impressive Balthasar is in this volume. He ta
...more
David Miller
Feb 15, 2015 David Miller rated it it was amazing
Warning: spending time with Hans Urs von Balthasar leads to intoxication of the mind! What a thrilling read. It seems to be a near-literal translation from the German and so is somewhat hard to follow at times, and I wish the inline Latin, Greek, and French phrases had been translated (as has been done with the 2nd volume of this work). Still a great read, and just what I needed at the time. He touches on many things I had wondered about: the actual experience felt by the people the Lord speaks ...more
Greg
Dec 14, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing
Probably the most important piece of sustained theological writing since Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics, however, unlike Barth it is from a Catholic as opposed to a Reformed perspective.
Mac
Dec 16, 2014 Mac rated it it was amazing
Deep, powerful, rigorous, and wonderful. One of the best things I've read this year, and one that I suspect I'll come back to many times over the course of my studies.
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Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian and priest who was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is considered one of the most important theologians of the 20th century.

Born in Lucerne, Switzerland on 12 August 1905, he attended Stella Matutina (Jesuit school) in Feldkirch, Austria. He studied in Vienna, Berlin and Zurich, gaining a doctorate in German literature. He joined t
...more
More about Hans Urs von Balthasar...

Other Books in the Series

The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics (7 books)
  • Studies in Theological Style: Clerical Styles (The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol.2)
  • Studies in Theological Style: Lay Styles (The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 3)
  • The Realm of Metaphysics in Antiquity (The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 4)
  • The Realm of Metaphysics in the Modern Age (The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 5)
  • Theology: The Old Covenant (Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 6)
  • Theology: The New Covenant (The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 7)

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“We no longer dare to believe in beauty and we make of it a mere appearance in order the more easily to dispose of it. Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance. We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past -- whether he admits it or not -- can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.” 50 likes
“As One and Unique, and yet as one who is to be understood only in the context of mankind's entire history and in the context of the whole created cosmos, Jesus is the Word, the Image, the Expression and the Exegesis of God.” 0 likes
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