Monday, July 03, 2006

Quarter-final 4: von Balthasar vs. Pannenberg

The last quarter-final is another battle of Giants. Hans Urs von Balthasar meets Panneberg. Who will get that last place in the semi-final?

As before, to vote write a comment, and then vote in the poll. Only the comments are counted.

22 comments:

Patrik said...

von Balthasar.

For reasons, see my recent post.

Pontificator said...

von Balthasar.

I think very highly of Pannenberg. He's a brilliant, erudite, creative theologian, though awfully dry. But von Balthasar is just so darn stimulating.

benkku said...

Pannenberg

Pannenberg has been major force in the systematic theology playground. His diverse work in such areas as ecumenics and relation of theology/religion and science/modernity has been immense. His methodological considerations in the beginning of his systematic theology are quite thought provoking especially when read together with Jenson's work.

So please, for heavens sake, vote for Pannenberg!

Scott Paeth said...

Pannenberg

A tough one. Pannenberg's take on eschatology, while to my mind not as creative or interesting as Moltmann's, has a theological precision that I appreciate and admire. In many ways, he's a better technical theologian than Moltmann, but simply lacking in the force of imagination that makes Moltmann so interesting. So, if I like Moltmann, Pannenberg is also in my hit parade.

von Balthassar is an extraordinaryily interesting theologian as well, and of course if this were a matchhup between Rahner and von Balthassar over the most profound Catholic theologian of the 20th c., it would be a squeeker. I particularly like his take on the doctrine of hell. I'm less fond of his criticisms of liberation theology, but then I'm not find of Pannenberg's politics, either.

So, my vote goes to Panneberg, the second place theologian of hope.

Gaunilo said...

HUvB

This despite my defense of Pannenberg below; but Balthasar is going to be remembered for transforming RCC theology in the C20. And no one has taken up the question of aesthetics and made it viable for theology like him.

Andy Goodliff said...

Pannenberg

Has to be, along with moltmann, his theology has been the most important to emerge from germany in the last 20-30 years.

kim fabricius said...

von Balthasar

I wrote 250 words in defence of this choice that disappeared at the press of "word verification" (grrrr!), and I'm not going to rehearse it. Basically it is von Balthasar's appeal as a passionate theologian oozing a caratatic spirituality, compared with Pannenberg's project - Hegelian in scope - which yet strikes me as bloodless.

Patrick McManus said...

von Balthasar

bloodless...a fair characterization of Pannenberg indeed Kim!

Next to Barth, von Balthasar is the most important theologian of the 2oth century and should win the competition (no other theologian left in the competition comes close to what Balthasar has acheived). In his hands, theology is truly beautiful and a joy to read.

dan said...

Hans Urs von Balthasar.

I'm actually rather shocked to see so many early votes for Pannenberg. I thought this one would be a blow-out.

Von Balthasar's trilogy on beauty, goodness, and truth, is absolutely breathtaking in both its scope and the depth of insight. His reflections on God's sovereign love and human freedom, so central to his theology, are wonderful (cf. esp. Dare We Hope?). The ground he is able to cover (from the writings of the Church Fathers, to the writings of contemporary philosophers... and pretty much everything in between) is unmatched in 20th century theology. I could probably go on and on about von Balthsar, but maybe some of that should be saved for later rounds.

Much of what I like about Pannenberg is simply an extension of what I like about Moltmann. However, Panneberg is a little too "modern" for me. Furthermore, I really do have a chip on my block when it comes to Hegel, and I think there needs to be a greater divide between Hegelian philosophy and Christian theology.

andy gr said...

von balthasar,

really because he was the person that integrated spirituality and systematic theology for me. As a commenter above said, Balthasar is "just so darn stimulating", and almost every major theological thinker since has been both stimulated and influenced by him.

D.W. Congdon said...

von Balthasar

I cannot say much more than what has already been said. His trilogy is one of the greatest theological works in recent times, second perhaps only to Barth's dogmatics. He brilliantly reverses the classical transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty so that theology instead moves from beauty to goodness to truth. And I have to affirm his book, Mysterium Paschale, as one of the most beautiful theological works in the 20th century.

Michael Joseph said...

Hans Urs von Balthasar

Believe it or not, the Anglophone world is just now catching on to him. We'll be reading Balthasar for the next century. Where Rahner, Moltmann and Pannenburg have peaked, Balthasar is just hitting his stride. It's his mistrust of modernity's constructs that provides Balthasar's work its enduring quality.

Scott Paeth said...

Isn't part of the fun here that we're supposed to be commenting on the person we're voting AGAINST as well as the one we're voting FOR? I'd like to see some of the Balthassar folks explain a little more what they DIDN'T like about Pannenberg.

Chris Tilling said...

Come on people! Pannenberg!! If anyone tries to read Balthasar in the German, their affection for the man tends to reduce I suspect ...

One of Freedom said...

Pannenberg

He is one of the greats. A name synonymous with theology. Balthasar who? For someone supposed to be a great RC theologian how come this contest is the first I've heard of him?

hewson said...

Balthasar

What more is there to say about Pannenburg other than he is a Hegelian? Do we want a closed, defined system of theology (in three volumes) or an enrapturing acount of God as Beauty, Truth and Goodness that can hardly be contained (in fifteen volumes)? Sure, that's awfully reductionistic, but no less than Pannenburg's cosmology!

Shane Clifton said...

Pannenberg

Sad to have to choose between these two at this stage of the comp. von Balthasar's theological ascetic, as well as his concept of theo-drama in relation to doctrine are becoming extremely influential. Yet i have to say that, for me at the moment, Pannenbergs three volume systematic theology is one of the most useful set of texts i own - even taking into account Patrik's comments that it can be a boring read (is not that part of the fun of theology - the struggle to understand).

Ben Myers said...

von Balthasar

I think it's a shame these two had to be set against each other at this stage. Pannenberg is one of the best and most creative 20th-century theologians -- and I even admire his Hegelianism (why should "Hegelian" be a dirty word anyway?). And as an interpreter of Scripture, Pannenberg is far more sophisticated than Balthasar.

But it's still hard to justify voting for Pannenberg against Balthasar. I agree with the sentiment that Balthasar will probably be a lasting force in Christian theology, whereas Pannenberg's influence is already waning.

So I vote for Balthasar only with great reluctance and some sadness....

Jordan said...

Pannenberg

A stellar theologian who's theology still begs to be dealt with even more

aaron said...

One of freedom -- never heard of vonBalthasar??!! Where have you been living??

I vote one vB

One of Freedom said...

aaron, it might be that I've really only been aware of theology as a discipline since 2000. Prior to that I was practicing in a tradition that was hostile to higher learning, well actually before that I was recovering in a great little Baptist church from too many years pastoring in a tradition hostile to higher learning. So that could explain it - but still I attend a pontifical university, why no mention of vB if he is so profound? This is a cutting edge school too - St. Paul in Ottawa. Wicked awesome library.

Patrik said...

von Balthasar wins 12 - 7