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A Theology of CriticismBalthasar, Postmodernism, and the Catholic Imagination$
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Michael P. Murphy

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195333527

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195333527.001.0001

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  Breaking the Waves

  Breaking the Waves

The Cry That Finds the Ear of the Heart

(p.91) 4Breaking the Waves
A Theology of Criticism

Michael Patrick Murphy

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 isolates several essential aspects of Balthasar's theodramatic theory and discusses how they “play” in and through Lars von Trier's dramatic film Breaking the Waves (1996), the first installment of his Golden Heart trilogy. It is no coincidence that Balthasar places his theodramatic program precisely between his Aesthetics and Logic in order to emphasize the spatial centrality of God's dramatic action in, with, and through the world. In addition to examining theological mysteries (such as kenosis and the “events” of Holy Saturday), the chapter demonstrates more acutely the many contributions that Balthasar provides the contemporary religious critic. The chapter finds that the retrieval of this powerful relationship between theology and narrative art—between theological rhetoric and dramatic representation—is a main topic of Balthasar's Theodrama and that a serious study of the implications of his theodramatics bears ripe fruit for theorists of contemporary literature.

Keywords:   Hans Urs von Balthasar, Lars von Trier, William Everson, John Knox, Karl Barth, George Lindbeck, David Tracy, Edward Oakes, Tobias Wolff, Theodrama, Breaking the Waves, sola scriptura, admirabile commercium, kenosis, Theology of Holy Saturday, role and mission, Körper and Leib, Catholic imagination, analogical imagination, postmodernism

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