Truth Is Symphonic

Feast of the Prophet Ezekiel
Truth is Symphonic: Aspects of Pluralism by Hans Urs von Balthasar

Truth_is_Symphonic_Square.jpgON THE KNOTTY issue of pluralism, we offer the profound erudition and musicality of Hans Urs von Balthasar. Herein, he reflects on the theme of pluralism and its relation to the truths of Christianity. With his utility of metaphor, von Balthasar is able to speak appropriately concerning many mysteries of God. He presents God as the Ultimate Composer of the world, and all of the world’s cultures, systems, and religions as the players in God’s grand symphony. The entry of Christ is the ‘why’ of the symphony, and the aim of the composition is the final great piece of God’s Kingdom declared and realized. As the music progresses, von Balthasar in effect deals with the concerns of his previous books, the issues of truth-claims, conviction, justification, morality, discernment, and the essence of religions. Starting from today’s situation—our present searches for meaning in our lives—and the responses of history, philosophy, culture and religion to that quest, von Balthasar plays out his opening song: Symphony means ‘sounding together.’ First there is sound, then different sounds singing together in a dance of sound. . . the orchestra must be pluralist in order to unfold the wealth of the totality that resounds in the composer’s mind. Initially the players and audience stand or sit next to one another as strangers, in mutual contradiction, as it were. Suddenly, as the music begins, they realize how they are integrated. Not in unison, but what is far more beautiful—in sym-phony. And as he concludes: “Christian hope vibrates with the thought that the earth should reply to heaven in the way that heaven has addressed earth. . . because the Christian does not have to depend on his own resources to find himself, but has been situated and found by God, he can lose himself neither in the past nor in the future. ‘All things are yours: the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s’ (1 Cor 3.21f.).”

192 pp. paper $16.95

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