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 15,000 pages) 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 "difference-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-difference) between Balthasar's doctrine and that of St. Thomas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michele M. Schumacher is a private docent in the theology faculty of the University of Fribourg in Switzerland.
PRAISE FOR THE BOOK
"An admirable display of scholarship. Schumacher shows a thorough acquaintance with all of the writings of Balthasar, von Speyr and the neo-Thomist tradition lately voiced in the literature." -Edward T. Oakes, professor of Systematic Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"A Trinitarian Anthropology explores von Speyr's vast mystically - and biblically-inspired theology, and the significant connections between her teaching and his."~Hans Urs von Balthasar.blogspot
"Schumacher's work is a detailed, competent study of one of the important issues in contemporary Catholic theology: a careful comparison of the theological anthropology of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr with that of Thomas Aquinas. Such a serene, objective treatment, combined with Schumacher's respect and empathy for all three theologians, is indeed rare... Schumacher's magnum opus is undeniably a milestone in the ever-expanding and deepening research evaluating the immense theological and spiritual heritage of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr within the Catholic theological tradition."~Roch Kereszty, O. Cist., Univ Dallas, The Thomist