The work of the influential Jesuit theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) has become a common point of reference in discussing the relationship of theology and the arts. However, the full significance of his theological aesthetics for both the emerging field of theology and the arts, as well as for interdisciplinary conversation with contemporary art and theory, remains to be unfolded. This book explores the ways in which Balthasar's theo-aesthetics, when taken together with his theological dramatics and theo-logic, yield a theologically informed phenomenology of the work of art with rich implications for contemporary theologies of art. By investigating the nature and disclosure of beauty and being through art, Balthasar's theological re-reading of Heidegger, his theo-dramatic relation of all forms to Christ, and his phenomenology of truth, Balthasar's philosophical and theological insights into the nature of art are presented as a resource for a constructive theology of art which "springs" from the depths of his theological aesthetics.
Brett David Potter is assistant professor of systematic theology at Huron University College in London, Ontario.
Introduction: Theology and Art
IV: Beauty and Wonder
About the Author
Potter creatively engages Von Balthasar's work in a comprehensive manner in order to begin to extrapolate a theology of art. He engages the phenomenological experience of beauty bringing the Swiss theologian's thought into dialogue with contemporary philosophers and theologians. This is a refreshing synthetic and critical study of Von Balthasar with a view towards his contribution to a theology of art.
With this fascinating volume, Brett Potter continues the work of next-generation Balthasar scholars who draw Balthasar into relation with contemporary discourses, in this case aesthetics. Potter never loses the difference between aesthetic theology and theological aesthetics for Balthasar as he provides a carefully nuanced analysis of Balthasar’s negotiation with Heidegger’s phenomenology, with Derrida, with contemporary art theory and with contemporary theological aesthetics from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox perspectives. This book will be a must-read for anyone interested in the interface of theology and art and the complexities of this relation in the contemporary world.