Annual Update

by jhl

Several things:

1. I completed my MA Thesis and will be defending it on May 21, 2012 at Westminster Seminary, California. The title of my thesis is “De Divinis Nominibus: The Via Negativa in Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theodramatik.”

Here is the abstract:

Hans Urs von Balthasar’s controversial doctrine of God’s immutability utilizes a method of analogical predication that seemingly coincides with that of Pseudo-Dionysius and St. Thomas Aquinas; however, Balthasar evidently diverges from these thinkers in significant ways, especially as he develops his trinitarian theology in his Theodramatik. In this thesis, I explore Balthasar’s own theological milieu (specifically, the influence of four thinkers: Henri de Lubac, Erich Przywara, Karl Barth, and Adrienne von Speyr) and its effect upon his interpretation and appropriation of Pseudo-Dionysius and the latter’s most noteworthy western interpreter, St. Thomas Aquinas. The relationship between nature and grace, as well as philosophy and theology are considered inasmuch as they affect Balthasar’s explicitly trinitarian approach to the traditional via negativa. Balthasar’s negative theology is compared with that of Denys as well as Thomas; due to the overtly trinitarian nature of Balthasar’s negative theology, his doctrine of the Trinity as it is put forth in Theodramatik IV and V is compared with St. Thomas’s doctrine in order to highlight how the underlying differences in the respective theologians’ approaches to negative theology affect their divergent approaches to the Trinity. I show how Balthasar’s fundamental decisions with regard to nature and grace (de Lubac), theology and philosophy (Przywara), Christology (Barth), and Trinity (Speyr) in many ways control his interpretation of Dionysius and St. Thomas, and ultimately lead him down a path that is often diametrically opposed to that of the two theologians.

2. I was accepted into two PhD programs for Systematic Theology: Marquette and Catholic University of America. I just heard that I will not be receiving funding for the former, and am still waiting to hear from the latter. Please pray for me.

3. I was received into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church last week, on the feast day of St. Anselm of Canterbury. I began to seriously consider converting to Catholicism a little less than a year ago and I am glad to finally be able to partake of Christ’s body and blood in the Eucharist. If there’s anyone who still actually reads this blog and if you have questions, I’ll be more than happy to answer them (time permitting). I will explain myself in more detail once things have cooled down a bit.

That is all for now.

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