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Explorations in Theology (4 vols.)

Format: Digital
, 1989–1995


The Explorations in Theology books bring essential theological wisdom from one of the greatest theologians of the last century. Hans Urs von Balthasar influenced the theology and studies of Raymund Schwager and Karl Barth. He is lauded equally by Catholics and Protestants for his theological works and his response to Western modernism.

This series presents a rare opportunity to experience Balthasar’s synthetic and comprehensive treatment of major themes in theology without having to make one’s way through much more extensive works which cover a much wider scope. They also provide an excellent introduction to the thought of Balthasar for those unfamiliar with him, and their chapters will focus on specific themes treated throughout his works for those who are familiar with him. This collection is an excellent overview of the writings and thought of one of the most outstanding theologians of the past century.

Having this collection in Logos gives you unprecedented ways to study the theology of Balthasar. With just a click, you can perform powerful word studies, explore cross-references and footnotes, open theological dictionaries, encyclopedias, lectionaries, the Church Fathers, and much more.

Key Features

  • Unveils a thorough synopsis of Balthasar’s theological thought
  • Links every cross-reference to the Church Fathers and to other works of Balthasar
  • Presents practical and invigorating theological ideas

Praise for the Print Edition

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

Product Details

  • Title: Explorations in Theology
  • Author: Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Translators: A.V. Littledale and Alexander Dru
  • Series: Explorations in Theology
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Volumes: 4
  • Pages: 1,782
  • Christian Group: Catholic
  • Resource Type: Systematic Theologies
  • Topic: Systematic Theology

Individual Titles

Explorations in Theology, vol 1: The Word Made Flesh

  • Author: Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Translators: A.V. Littledale and Alexander Dru
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication Date: 1989
  • Pages: 277

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

The first of four volumes of Balthasar’s many essays and conferences. Each focuses on a specific aspect of theology or spirituality and presents it with all the richness which comes from his immense erudition, but in a style that is directed and intelligible since few of these essays were intended for scholarly audiences.

Hans Urs von Balthasar was a theologian who placed his research at the service of the Church, because he was convinced that theology could be defined only in terms of ecclesiality. Theology, as he conceived of it, must be joined with spirituality; indeed, only in this way could it be profound and effective. . . . These are words that prompt us to reconsider the true position of research in theology. The demand for scientific method is not explorations theology sacrificed when theological research is carried on in a religious spirit of listening to the Word of God, when it is alive with the life of the Church and shares in the strength of her Magisterium. Spirituality does not attenuate the work of scholarship, but rather supplies theological study with the correct method so that it can arrive at a coherent interpretation.

Pope Benedict XVI

Explorations in Theology, vol 2: Spouse of the Word

  • Author: Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Translators: A.V. Littledale and Alexander Dru
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication Date: 1991
  • Pages: 490

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

In this volume, Balthasar looks at the Church, “the Bride of Christ,” as both unspotted and unfaithful—the Church of saints and of sinners. He goes through Scripture and tradition looking at both sides of the Church and what they mean.

Explorations in Theology, vol 3: Creator Spirit

  • Author: Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Translators: A.V. Littledale and Alexander Dru
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication Date: 1993
  • Pages: 545

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

In this third book, Balthasar presents various ways in which something of the Creator Spirit should be experienced through his manifestations: in the way in which he leads human persons to the living God (“Faith”), in the way in which he distinguishes the spirits of this time (“Crisis”), in the way in which he initiates into the mystery of the Incarnate One (“Night”), in the way in which he breathes through the finite structures of human life as that which is incomprehensibly open (“Breath”), and in the way in which he reveals himself as love (“Spirit”).

Explorations in Theology, vol 4: Spirit and Institution

  • Author: Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Translators: A.V. Littledale and Alexander Dru
  • Publisher: Ignatius Press
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 470

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

The fourth volume in Balthasar’s Explorations in Theology essays is built around the theme of spirit and institution, the two central features of the Church which Balthasar approaches from different angles. The first part of Spirit and Institution looks at who man is, and then examines the distinctively Christian experience of God. Part 2 is a whole section on the Church which includes topics like celibacy and the priesthood today, how we should love the Church, and understanding Christian mysticism. The third and final part is an eschatology in which Balthasar gives a brilliant summary of heaven, hell, and purgatory.

This concept of theology led von Balthasar to a profound existential reading. Accordingly, one of the central themes that he liked to dwell on was demonstrating the necessity of conversion. The change of heart was a central point for him; indeed, only in this way does the mind free itself from the limits that prevent it from drawing near to the mystery, enabling the eyes to fix their gaze upon the face of Christ. In a word, he had grasped profoundly the fact that theology can develop only with prayer that recollects the presence of God and relies upon him in obedience.

Pope Benedict XVI

About Hans Urs von Balthasar

Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905–1988) was a Swiss theologian, considered to be one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century. He studied in Vienna, Berlin, and Zurich, and completed his doctorate in German literature in 1928. Incredibly prolific and diverse, he wrote over one hundred books and hundreds of articles. Although the Balthasar’s studies are diverse and scattered, his theology and philosophies are stirring, practical, and profound. He was drawn towards the spiritual and mystical theology of the Church Fathers, deferring to Scripture and patristic writers to answer modernist and neo-scholastic questions. During his life, he was both a diocesan priest and a Jesuit instructor. He was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II himself, but Balthasar died two days before his ceremony.