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Document Details :
Title: From Dialectic to Dialogic
Subtitle: Beyond Luther's Theology of the Cross to Balthasar's Theology of Holy Saturday
Author(s): LEFSRUD, Sigurd
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 36 Issue: 1 Date: 2012
Lutheran and Catholic thought-forms differ in significant ways, a fact which is evidenced particularly in modern ecumenical dialogue. This is clearly the case where Martin Luther’s theology of the cross, the touchstone for Lutheran hermeneutics, is concerned. Juxtaposing Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theology of Holy Saturday with Luther’s theology provides an insightful tool for analyzing these differences. That being said, however, new avenues for reconciliation between these ways of thinking can be revealed by observing similarities in theological method and content between Luther and Balthasar regarding the paradoxical nature of Christ’s passion. In particular, both authors recognize the apophatic nature of God’s salvific work, and reject attempts to create systems of thought that remove the scandal of Christ’s death by controlling the divine mystery. Ultimately, however, Balthasar’s dialogical hermeneutic reveals and surpasses the limits of Luther’s dialectical methodology by highlighting God’s inner-trinitarian nature and purposiveness. It provides a far more cohesive means of understanding the fragmentary nature of the triduum mortis, and in doing so reveals the consistency and unity of God’s nature and purpose even in the hiddenness of suffering and death.