Date of Award

2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theology

Abstract

Many contemporary thinkers have wrestled with the notion that Balthasar is unwilling to consider modern theology's starting point of the consciousness of the knower. Otherwise stated, some scholars argue that Balthasar's point of departure is the will (love) to the neglect of human consciousness (intellect). The purpose of this dissertation is to demonstrate that a constructive analysis of Balthasar's doctrine of revelation brings to light an intricate epistemology that is critical to postmodern epistemological scholarship. By way of Neo-Scholasticism much conversation has taken place pertaining to the relationship between faith and reason within the human knower. Whereas the Neo-Scholastic tradition considers faith and reason as separate realities within the human knower, Balthasar provides a unique argument for their interrelationality. Balthasar sees within the relationship between human knowing and divine knowing something "revealed" that is the very essence of all knowing.

In this dissertation I intend to construct a systematic presentation of epistemology from within Balthasar's doctrine of revelation. Specifically, I argue that Balthasar considers general ideas about knowing by what happens to the human knower when we meet Jesus Christ. Moreover, my aim is to examine Balthasar's understanding of epistemology as it is shaped by how God reveals God's self to the human knower. In so doing, it will become evident that, for Balthasar, the knowing that takes place within the Trinitarian life is essential for the transformation of the human knower and our understanding of the true nature of the human consciousness. Thus the claim I propose to defend is articulated in the following manner: I will analyze the epistemological structure of revelation in Balthasar's theology in order to prove that in his view, human consciousness is re-created in its encounter with the Trinitarian divine knowing embodied in the form of Jesus Christ. For Balthasar, the form of Christ reveals the Trinitarian life and draws humanity into this life. By examining Balthasar's approach to revelation, we discover how he understands the transformation of human consciousness.

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