Following the standard academic calendar, the Accademia Balthasar offers a selection of weekly seminars available to university students and researchers upon request. The subject material of these courses can vary greatly, ranging from philosophy to theology to literature, and typically has roots in the works of our authors of reference or in the vast cultural milieu of Hans Urs von Balthasar.
For those interested, comprehensive catalogues of past course themes and
session details are available in the archives below.
The encounter with non-Christian religions
according to H. U. von Balthasar
8:30 - 12:20
The purpose of the seminar is to offer a knowledge of the main non-Christian religions from which there can be a comparison with Christianity which – on the basis of certain criteria derived from the Revelation that took place historically in Jesus Christ – allows us to better evaluate their nature, their value and their limits.
Starting from a consideration of the greatness and finitude of the human being and of the religious question, we will present the responses of man as they have been configured in Asia with Buddhism and in the Middle East and West with the development of the three Abrahamic religions. In doing so, always under the guidance of the Swiss theologian, we will proceed to a discernment on four most significant themes from the Christian point of view: person, history and salvation, catholicity, and prayer.
Issues of Anthropology in Henri de Lubac
8:30 - 12:20
This seminar deals with some questions concerning the “spiritual nature” of man. The french theologian uses the term “nature” as man's insertion in the cosmic order and the term “spirit” as his transcendence.
Before addressing the theme of freedom as it was focused on in de Lubac’s famous book Surnaturel, we consider man as Revelation knows him, that is, insofar as he is created in the image of God and therefore as a finite “abyss” that invokes the infinite “Abyss”. It then analyses the distinction between spirit and soul in the context of a tripartite Pauline anthropology in which the corporal dimension retains its importance as an essential constitutive of the person and where the spirit represents the cornerstone of all the French Jesuit’s anthropology because it indicates the presence of God in the person at the origin of a true ability to choose for or against the Good.
Confession in Modern Literature
8:30 - 12:20
In the Prolegomena of his Theodrama, Balthasar presents some classics of Christian Christian literature that illustrate man’s existential question about his own life and shows how they bring out the theme of the “confession” of sins before another, witness to the truth before God.
In this perspective we propose to analyze the pages where some authors of world literature describe a kind of “confession,” understood not primarily as a sacramental process but as an attitude of openness and transparency and therefore of admission of one’s guilt. Here some of the themes that will be treated: the sin of pride (Chesterton), the fight of the spirits (Bernanos), the relationship between confession and truth (Dostoevsky), between justice and mercy (Brecht and Calderon de la Barca), the solidarity of sinners (Schneider), the prevenient grace (Hugo, Manzoni), resignation or true confession (Eliot), the confession from the shore of eternity (Wilder, Lewis).