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Theo-drama: Last Act v. 5: Theological Dramatic Theory Hardcover – 1 Jan 1988


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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Flawed Masterpiece 16 Sep 2011
By TheoBooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The last volume of von Balthasar's dramatics addresses eschatology, and begins with a tour de force presentation of the primary issue of New Testament scholarship and contemporary theology, how to reconcile the dogmatic core of Christianity that "Christ will come again" with the exegetical insights that find the coming of the Kingdom in the life of Jesus and his disciples. This debate has often be viewed as a dialogue between Schweitzer's "consistent" and Dodd's "realized" eschatology. One sees similar debates between dispensational premillennialism and Reformed postmillennialism. Von Balthasar concludes this introductory section with his famous statement that the later New Testament works of "realized" eschatology (John and late Paul) end the Jewish concern with a "horizontal" theodrama and turn to a "vertical" theodrama. I would understand this to mean that Christians are no longer waiting for some historical event to happen, but instead are in the process of entering into the "kingdom not of this world," a supernatural realm, imperfectly in this life and finally at death.

One would think that von Balthasar would spend the rest of the volume defending this monumental conclusion and demonstrating how it works itself out in the life of the Church. But instead he spends the rest of the volume on speculations about the immanent Trinity in a decidedly social Trinitarian vein. I can only describe this as a total disappointment. He has addressed and solved the greatest issue confronting the contemporary believer, but promptly moves away to other things. I pine for the book I wish he had written.

But I still give it 5-stars, because this is without a doubt the most important book on Christian eschatology written in the past century.
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