Balthasar on the Spiritual Senses: Perceiving Splendour

Hardcover | June 16, 2014

byMark McInroy

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In this study, Mark McInroy argues that the "spiritual senses" play a crucial yet previously unappreciated role in the theological aesthetics of Hans Urs von Balthasar. The doctrine of the spiritual senses typically claims that human beings can be made capable of perceiving non-corporeal,"spiritual" realities. After a lengthy period of disuse, Balthasar recovers the doctrine in the mid-twentieth century and articulates it afresh in his theological aesthetics. At the heart of this project stands the task of perceiving the absolute beauty of the divine form through which God isrevealed to human beings. Although extensive scholarly attention has focused on Balthasar's understanding of revelation, beauty, and form, what remains curiously under-studied is his model of the perceptual faculties through which one beholds the form that God reveals. McInroy claims that Balthasardraws upon the tradition of the spiritual senses in order to develop the means through which one perceives the 'splendour' of divine revelation. McInroy further argues that, in playing this role, the spiritual senses function as an indispensable component of Balthasar's unique, aesthetic resolution to the high-profile debates in modern Catholic theology between Neo-Scholastic theologians and their opponents. As a third option betweenNeo-Scholastic "extrinsicism", which arguably insists on the authority of revelation to the point of disaffecting the human being, and "immanentism", which reduces God's revelation to human categories in the name of relevance, McInroy proposes that Balthasar's model of spiritual perception allowsone to be both delighted and astounded by the glory of God's revelation.

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In this study, Mark McInroy argues that the "spiritual senses" play a crucial yet previously unappreciated role in the theological aesthetics of Hans Urs von Balthasar. The doctrine of the spiritual senses typically claims that human beings can be made capable of perceiving non-corporeal,"spiritual" realities. After a lengthy period of...

Mark McInroy is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at the University of St. Thomas.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.01 inPublished:June 16, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199689008

ISBN - 13:9780199689002

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. "In the Spirit of Origen:" Balthasar's Exploration of Patristic Versions of the Spiritual Senses2. Balthasar's Reading of Medieval and Early Modern Versions of the Spiritual Senses3. The Spiritual Senses in a Modern Idiom: Balthasar's Contemporary Interlocutors4. Balthasar's Distinctive Rearticulation of the Doctrine of the Spiritual Senses5. Perceiving Splendor: The Role of the Spiritual Senses in Balthasar's Theological Aesthetics6. Seeing (Spiritually) is Believing: The Spiritual Senses and FaithConclusion