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Students of Catholic theology are often presented with a choice between two great masters: Thomas Aquinas and Hans Urs von Balthasar. What starts as a cordial difference in form and method often morphs into a bitter rivalry.
Dominican theologian Father Aidan Nichols sees no need for competition. Balthasar for Thomists gives a panoramic view of Balthasar's thought and spirituality, unearthing many of his innumerable debts to Aquinas and providing context for their points of divergence.
The enormous cultural project of Balthasar, writes Father Nichols, differs too much from St. Thomas' pedagogical one "to count as a rival to Thomism on the latter's own ground (and, of course, vice versa)".
While constituting an original form of faithful Catholic thought, Balthasar's approach may be regarded as a synthesis of the influences of Thomas and his Franciscan contemporary St. Bonaventure. In its breadth, Balthasar for Thomists serves as a general introduction to Balthasar for those unacquainted with his profound and wide-ranging theology.
"Father Nichols, author of both a sympathetic study of Balthasar and a sympathetic study of Garrigou-Lagrange, brings his extraordinary eloquence and erudition to the task of introducing Balthasar to Thomists and, indeed, to anyone who loves Christ. His ability to illuminate Balthasar's intentions is masterful, and his respect for contemporary Balthasarian and Thomistic contributions to the Catholic theological symphony is exemplary. This book is a work of love, and hope."
— Matthew Levering, Ph.D., James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
"This work shows that the theological systems of Aquinas and Balthasar are not diverse universes, but more like two planets circling the same Sun, illumined by the same Light, though refracted differently due to distinct historical, cultural, and philosophical atmospheres."
— Douglas Bushman, S.T.L., Pope St. John Paul II Chair of Theology, Augustine Institute
"This book is a must-read for graduate students in systematic theology. Sauntering in where disciples of the Angelic Doctor have feared to tread, Fr. Nichols shows Thomist teenagers how to appreciate von Balthasar, and Balthasarian hipsters why the injunction to 'go to Thomas' still matters. In this work, we see the symphonic unity of the greatest of the mediaeval Schoolmen and the greatest of modern theologians."
— Francesca Aran Murphy, Ph.D., Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
"This is a masterful intervention in an important dialogue, which opens the way toward a rapprochement between adherents to the school of the great St. Thomas Aquinas and those who, with Benedict XVI, are 'enraptured' by Balthasar's theological vision and spiritual depth."
— Margaret M. Turek, S.T.D., Chair of Dogmatic Theology, St. Patrick's Seminary and University
"A compelling, thought-provoking, and important contribution to a vital conversation. Aidan Nichols offers theologians an entry point into a powerful exchange of ideas. When many too readily build straw men and rarely acknowledge legitimate differences in theological opinion, this work shows what happens when Balthasar and St. Thomas are unleashed in concert."
— Anthony Lilles, S.T.D., Academic Dean, St. Patrick's Seminary and University