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Title: The grounding of the authority of the saints : a study in Hans urs von Balthasar's theology of the saints
Author: Dimech, Paola Pauline
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 3711
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2015
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The authority of the saints is, in a sense, presupposed by the tradition, and yet, formulating this presupposition proves to be awkward. This dissertation is an exploration into the nature, the grounding and the limits of the authority of the saints, with reference to the theology of the saints in the work of Hans urs von Balthasar. My argument is that, in his use of the saints, Balthasar does not merely interpret the saints as a resource for theologians and for the Magisterium. For Balthasar, theology and the Magisterium are there to serve the saints, since the saints are the real witnesses whose testimony requires dynamic paraphrase and vigorous rendition. My argument will be that Balthasar wants to avoid the theory of multiple teaching offices, but that – while avoiding the theory of multiple offices – also attributes to the saints an authority that is analogical to that of the Magisterium. Balthasar uses the saints, not only to teach other theologians but also to teach the official Magisterium, thus handling the saints as if they were themselves a Magisterium. Four dimensions – the existential, the epistemological, the pneumatological and the ecclesiological – are identified and used to elucidate the nature, the grounding and the function of the authority of the saints. It will be argued that authority of the saints is grounded within each one of these dimensions and that these are the dimensions within which the saints function authoritatively. I will defend my own construal of Balthasar, argue for the credibility of Balthasar’s defence of the authority of the saints, as well as, locate and criticise some of the contradictions that are found in Balthasar in this regard, and identify some of the consequences of Balthasar’s position concerning the authority of the saints, for his own theology, for theology in general, and for the Church.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available