Balthasar: A Guide for the Perplexed , by Rodney Howsare. From the publisher:
Balthasar’s thought, if it is anything, is perplexing, and it is perplexing for a number of reasons. In this Guide for the Perplexed, Rodney Howsare gives the reader a handle on these perplexing aspects of Balthasar’s thought.
In the first chapter he introduces the reader to the man and his unique method of doing theology. He then moves on to explaining the basic structure and nature of the triology: the aesthetics, dramatics and logic. He then deals with various theological topics: Jesus Christ, The Trinity, The Drama of Redemption, The Church and Mary, and The Last Things. A final chapter summarizes Balthasar’s place in modern theology and suggests further readings for the interested reader.
‘Rodney Howsare’s ‘Guide’ is an exceptionally lucid introduction to Balthasar’s main themes and the crucial issues for theology and philosophy raised by his work. The way Howsare relates Balthasarian thought to other theological schools is truly masterly. An enviable achievement.’ – Aidan Nichols, University of Oxford, UK
‘Rodney Howsare has accomplished what one would scarcely have imagined possible, namely, a generally accessible presentation of Balthasar that avoids oversimplification and boring generalities. He has achieved this by artfully gathering the rich variety of themes in the B althasarian corpus around their true center: the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ who reveals at once the inner life of the Trinitarian God and the inner depths of worldly being. It is a relief finally to have a book one can confidently recommend to those looking for an introduction to Balthasar, as well as to those who are already immersed in his theology and trying to find their bearings.’ – D.C. Schindler, Department of Humanities, Villanova University, Villanova, PA, USA.
‘In this fine book Rodney A. Howsare not only puts Balthasar masterfully in the context of old and new philosophical and theological thoughts but he also succeeds in presenting us Balthasar’s many-branched oeuvre “in a nutshell” (Balthasar). This clarifying book focusing on Balthasar’s view of the interplay between theology and philosophy as well as on his Christology and his Trinitarian theology is a major contribution to the reception of the Swiss theologian. It serves well as an introduction to Balthasar, and yet it is considerably more than an intro duction.’ – Martin Bieler, Institute of Systematic Theology, University of Bern, Switzerland.
‘This down to earth introduction achieves the remarkable feat of being illuminating both for the cognoscenti and for beginners. It is the best book on von Balthasar that’s out there. Guiding us through deep theological waters with a light touch, Howsare makes von Balthasar’s ideas accessible without distorting them. His method is to connect von Balthasar’s questions with ours, and it works. I strongly recommend this clear and unpretentious book for students and for anyone who wants to converse with von Balthasar’s thought. It should be on the reading list for any course on 20th century Christian theology.’ – Francesca Aran Murphy, Department of Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen, Scotland
Augustine of Hippo (354–430) strongly influenced western theology, but he has often been accused of over-emphasizing the unity of God to the detriment of the Trinity. In Augustine and the Trinity, Lewis Ayres offers a new treatment of this important figure, demonstrating how Augustine’s writings offer one of the most sophisticated early theologies of the Trinity developed after the Council of Nicaea (325). Building on recent research, Ayres argues that Augustine was influenced by a wide variety of earlier Latin Christian traditions which stressed the irreducibility of Father, Son and Spirit. Augustine combines these traditions with material from non-Christian Neoplatonists in a very personal synthesis. Ayres also argues that Augustine shaped a powerful account of Christian ascent toward understanding of, as well as participation in the divine life, one that begins in faith and models itself on Christ’s humility.