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Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental OntologyA Return to Mystery$
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Hans Boersma

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199229642

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199229642.001.0001

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The Law of the Incarnation: Balthasar and Chenu on Nature and the Supernatural

The Law of the Incarnation: Balthasar and Chenu on Nature and the Supernatural

(p.116) 4 The Law of the Incarnation: Balthasar and Chenu on Nature and the Supernatural
Nouvelle Théologie and Sacramental Ontology

Hans Boersma (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that Hans Urs von Balthasar and Marie-Dominique Chenu were particularly insistent on the goodness of the created order. Their sacramental approach highlighted the ‘downward’ direction of grace, and they were more insistent than de Lubac and Bouillard on the autonomy of the created order. Balthasar's reading of Irenaeus, Denys, and Maximus regarded analogy of being as the key to their theology, a doctrine Balthasar also defended in dialogue with Karl Barth. At the same time, Balthasar had deep appreciation for Barth's starting-point in Christology. The sacramental character of Chenu's theology stemmed from his focus on theology as contemplation and from his reliance on Denys's symbolism. At the same time, Chenu's accentuation of the autonomy of the created order and his positive evaluation of the desacralizing that set in during the High Middle Ages meant that his sacramental ontology was not always consistent.

Keywords:   Hans Urs von Balthasar, Marie-Dominique Chenu, autonomy, Irenaeus, Denys, Maximus, analogy of being, Karl Barth, Christology, contemplation

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