The Eucharistic Form of God

  • Hans Urs von Balthasar's Sacramental Theology

  • by Jonathan Martin Ciraulo

  • 312 pages, 6.00 x 9.00

  • Hardcover | 9780268202231 | March 2022

  • eBook (EPUB) | 9780268202255 | March 2022

  • eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268202224 | March 2022


This study presents Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theology of the Eucharist and shows its significance for contemporary sacramental theology.

Anyone who seeks to offer a systematic account of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theology of the Eucharist and the liturgy is confronted with at least two obstacles. First, his reflections on the Eucharist are scattered throughout an immense and complex corpus of writings. Second, the most distinctive feature of his theology of the Eucharist is the inseparability of his sacramental theology from his speculative account of the central mysteries of the Christian faith. In The Eucharistic Form of God, the first book-length study to explore Balthasar’s eucharistic theology in English, Jonathan Martin Ciraulo brings together the fields of liturgical studies, sacramental theology, and systematic theology to examine both how the Eucharist functions in Balthasar’s theology in general and how it is in fact generative of his most unique and consequential theological positions. He demonstrates that Balthasar is a eucharistic theologian of the highest caliber, and that his contributions to sacramental theology, although little acknowledged today, have enormous potential to reshape many discussions in the field.

The chapters cover a range of themes not often included in sacramental theology, including the doctrine of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and soteriology. In addition to treating Balthasar’s own sources—Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, Pascal, Catherine of Siena, and Bernanos—Ciraulo brings Balthasar into conversation with contemporary Catholic sacramental theology, including the work of Louis-Marie Chauvet and Jean-Yves Lacoste. The overall result is a demanding but satisfying presentation of Balthasar’s contribution to sacramental theology. The audience for this volume is students and scholars who are interested in Balthasar’s thought as well as theologians who are working in the area of sacramental and liturgical theology.