Trinitarian Anthropology: Adrienne Von Speyr and Hans Urs Von Balthasar in Dialogue with Thomas Aquinas

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In this magisterial work, Michele M. Schumacher seeks to promote dialogue between disciples of the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (d. 1988) and those of the church's common doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) on a critical theological question. How are analogies and metaphors from the philosophy and theology of the person (anthropology) rightly used to address the mystery of the Trinity? She does so by considering the specific setting of Balthasar's theology: the inseparability of his work from that of the Swiss physician and mystic Adrienne von Speyr (d. 1967). Most Balthasar scholars have not addressed in any significant manner the figure and influence of von Speyr, perhaps owing to the unsystematic nature of her more than 60 volumes (approximately 60,000pages) of mystical theology. In addition, there is the even more lengthy work of Balthasar himself. A Trinitarian Anthropology explores von Speyr's vast mystically - and biblically-inspired theology, and the significant connections between her teaching and his. Schumacher systematically exposits the Trinitarian theological anthropology of von Speyr, as it emerges through her vast corpus, in parallel with a development of the same theme in Balthasar's work. She uses as the basis for her work a key theme of Balthasar's anthropology: the mystery of dierence-in-unity. Balthasar presents this mystery of the theology of the person in terms of certain Spannungen or tensions: the body and the soul; the individual and the community; man and woman; nature and grace; and person and mission. Finally, the volume exposits Aquinas' own doctrine on theological discourse, in view of initiating a dialogue with his disciples. This it does not only by responding to many of their challenges to Balthasar and their criticisms of his work, but also by demonstrating, in a spirit of Catholicism, the congruity (unity-in-dierence) between Balthasar's doctrine and that of St. Thomas.