Word and Silence: Hans Urs Von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter Between East and West

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9780802838100: Word and Silence: Hans Urs Von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter Between East and West
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As the tremendous theological achievement of Hans Urs von Balthasar becomes better known in the English-speaking world, it becomes easier to see the relevance of his work for one of the most important cultural events of our time: the encounter of Christianity with Asia. Balthasar regarded the dialogue with Buddhism in particular as of greater long-term significance for Christianity even than the ancient dialogue with Greek thought, which decisively shaped the history of Christendom.
Fr Gawronski's monumental and highly readable study presents a synthesis of Balthasar's work in this field, of great importance to all those concerned with inter-faith dialogue. Balthasar shows that, for the Christian, God is himself Word, a Word uttered in the eternal interpersonal dialogue which is the very being of God. The obscure longing of Platonic 'eros' gives way before the flowering of a bridal mystery in which the Word weds Silence. This is the centrepiece of Christian self-understanding, and basic for any fruitful encounter with other religious traditions.
From the fullness of the Trinity, God's incarnate Word is received by the perfect Hearer, Mary, who becomes the symbol of a creation that must pass through the silence of the tomb into the transformed spaces of the Holy Spirit. The silence of humility is the way of prayer, which allows the seed-word to be sown and to bear fruit in the lives of the saints. Here the figure of the saint, embodying a mission from God, is compared by Balthasar to that of the sages of the non-biblical traditions, including the Boddhisattva.
Concerning the encounter with Asia, Balthasar wrote, 'The question is: does selflessness mean emptiness or Trinitarian love? The dialogue is possible.' It is possible and it may not be avoided. Upon it hangs the future of civilization.

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Raymond Gawronski teaches theology at Marquette University, Milwaukee.

Review:

'This is an important contribution to an urgent issue confronting the contemporary Church. Von Balthasar identifies Buddhism as one of the great challenges facing Chrisitianity today. Gawronski's book is a stimulating exercise in Catholic apologetics which offers a provocative response to this challenge.'
Tina Beattie, Epworth Review
'This is a good book, well researched and easily read.'
Tom Dalzell, Irish Theological Quarterly
'What one of the greatest theologians of our century - Hans Urs von Balthasar - says about one of the most important issues of our time. What the world's religions mean for one another as pluralism intensifies their interaction. No other study comes close to the depth with which Word and Silence addresses that subject.'
Professor Huston Smith, University of California, Berkeley

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9780567097446: Word and Silence: Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Spiritual Encounter between East and West

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ISBN 10:  0567097447 ISBN 13:  9780567097446
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