File Size: 885 KB
Print Length: 312 pages
Publisher: Ignatius Press (September 28, 2012)
Publication Date: September 28, 2012
Sold by: Digital Services LLC
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The book is not very difficult to read but yet very profound. It presents Jesus as the one in whom humanity finds life.Hans Urs Von Balthasar carefully distinguishes between the temporal and the eternal realms so that he is able to talk about events occurring in the temporal realm from an eternal perspective; God's perspectives. Eternity is in radical contrast to time. It is always in the present and knows no past or future. The fullness of time happened when eternity embraced time. What happened then was not separate from eternity because Jesus did then what he does in eternity - he gave out his life giving Spirit (Cor 15,45). 'I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.'(1 Cor 15, 50)Jesus came into this world and his subsequent suffering was inevitable as we had already chose not to accept the gift of life from God in the garden of Eden. In confrontation with this, Jesus participated by taking it upon himself: actively on the cross and passively in the place of the dead on Holy Saturday. He took upon himself the consequences of sin so that sin became swallowed up by God. He showed the way to the Father by setting the model of the Kingdom of Heaven in which we become responsible for others by living a life for others.Heaven was inaugurated on Easter, begins right here in the temporal sphere and is consummated in its end. It is acquired as soon as we accept Jesus and continues in our affirming him. Spending time reading this book was part of my affirmation that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
This is a brilliant piece of scholarship drawing from the deepest wells of Biblical interpretation, traditional theology, and rigorous philosophical thinking. Balthasar confirms for me that the most sophisticated and original thinking is done 'on route' of tradition rather than in wandering away from it. Thinkers and believers of all sorts, especially Protestant Christians (which I am) will find serious intellectual protein in this masterpiece.
This review is intended primarily for readers who are not already familiar with Von Balthasars' body of work. The fundamental requirement for Christianity to exist at all is the resurrection. This book covers the many difficult concepts and questions involved in understanding the nature of the events from Good Friday to Easter. Von Balthasar is a theological giant and there is a great deal to study in this work. I find the Kindle edition particularly well suited for reading this or any of his works as it is easy to look up chapter and verse in a Kindle Bible as well as inserting notes throughout the text. I find myself rereading many of the passages, as so many statements are profound and important. There is a poetic feel to the book. With all the terminology and philosophical arguments,there shines throughout the soul of a poet in love with The Lord. This is a masterpiece,
Von Balthasar's extensive reflections upon the cross in relation to Israel, the church, time and space and the hope of redemption will require me to return again and again to sit with these insights. At the same, they call me again and again to bow before the glory of the Lord and worship Him in His beauty.
As the thought of von Balthasar starts to be absorbed now by the attentive public (like me), we will see that here is something nothing less than thrilling. We can see theology actually developing in the most radical and foundational way, in utter and profound faithfulness.
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