"Thus a vital thread in Balthasar’s theological aesthetics is tragedy, in its varied meanings—as an art form, as a theory, and as the human existential crisis. He consistently explores and references tragedy throughout his writings, often approaching theological issues and Biblical passages through a tragic lens. Balthasar has read deeply tragic literature and pondered its insights, and he has been greatly influenced by it. As Christian theology has borrowed from Greek philosophy, so Balthasar borrows and shapes his theology according to tragedy. This is not to argue that this is the only influence on Balthasar, or that it forms a sort of Ariadne’s thread to his work. Rather, it is to argue that tragedy forms a vital element of his thought, as he finds that it has a revelatory power regarding human existence and God. Yet, in the end, Balthasar’s particular approach to tragedy—that it must be dramatic in form and aristocratic in content—has serious and problematic ramifications for his theology, as the following chapters establish." 

– Hans Urs von Balthasar and the Question of Tragedy in the Novels of Thomas Hardy (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2013), p. 11 (Chapter 1).

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AuthorKevin Taylor