The works of Hans Urs von Balthasar have been described as a splendorous mountain mass (Eugen Biser). A synthesis of philosophy, theology, literature, art, and meditation. Renowned contemporaries have named him the perhaps most educated contemporary figure of the 20th century (Henri de Lubac) or the last universal spirit in Western history (Manfred Plate).

The bibliography of Hans Urs von Balthasar, 1925–1990, edited by Cornelia Capol (Johannes Verlag Einsiedeln, Freiburg i.Br. 2005) includes 119 independent publications: Balthasar's own commentaries on his work are collected in My Work: In Retrospect (Hans Urs von Balthasar – Zu seinem Werk, Johannesverlag Einsiedeln, Freiburg i.Br. 2000, reprinted 2024).

"Beyond its extensive aspect of "de-velopment" ["Aus-faltung", "un-folding"], Balthasar's own work is a manifold crossing-over into non-theological sciences, but this always and only for the sake of any possible "simplicity" ["Ein-faltung", "in-folding"], an intensification of that which is created by the mind and spirit of man towards the idea of creation resting within it/him. Thus Keller's statement "God radiates in the world" receives a complementary completion in its reversal: "The world radiates with God." Hardly any other intention than the proof of this statement may be suspected behind Balthasar's charisma for writing and his realized work" (Alois M. Haas, "Hans Urs von Balthasar – Träger des Gottfried Keller Preises," Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Nr. 7, 10–11 January 1976. [Hans Urs von Balthasar – Bearer of the Gottfried Keller Prize]).

His most important theological work consists of fifteen volumes in which he unfolds God's revelation according to the characteristics befitting him: the beautiful, the good, and the true: The Glory of the Lord (Herrlichkeit 1961–1969), Theo-Drama (Theodramatik 1973–1983) and Theo-Logic (Theologik 1985–1987). These volumes have been translated into most of the main European languages. A guide to this complex work can be found in his essay Love Alone is Credible (Glaubhaft ist nur Liebe, 2000).

"…Hans Urs von Blathasar is likely the most massive, sharpest, and most individual figure among the greatest Catholic theologicans of contemporary times. His ouvre achieves a scope, depth, and linguistic span of Lutherian dimensions. ... Above all, it is the breadth and openness to the world of this thinker who is strictly bound to the point and purpose of theology, that is quite astonishing. Not only did the theologian Balthasar publish anthologies of Goethe, Novalis, Nietzsche, and Rudolf Borchardt, but he also wrote thematic books about Reinhold Schneider, Georges Bernanos, and German Idealism, as well as essays on the art of the fugue, Rilke, Heidegger, and Buber. He made a name for himself above all as a translator of French poets and writers such as Charles Péguy, Georges Bernanos, François Mauriac, and Paul Claudel. To be added to this are his extensive translations of the works of the Church Fathers (Augustine, Origen), as well as of his teacher Henri de Lubac. For all this, Balthasar is neither an all-around-dilettante, nor everyone's hanger-on, but every inch a theologian" (Horst-Georg Pöhlmann, in Gottesdenker. Prägende evangelische und katholische Theologen der Gegenwart, Hamburg 1984 [God's Thinkers: Influential Protestant and Catholic Theologians of the Present]).

The Johannesverlag Einsiedeln (Lindenmattenstraße 29, 79117 Freiburg, Germany, publishes the works of Hans Urs von Balthasar. Contact: Balthasar Archive (Balthasar-Archiv, Alemannengasse 78, CH-4058 Basel, Switzerland. Fax: (+41) 61 281 00 07. E-mail:

An index of secondary literature on Hans Urs von Balthasar (books, habilitations, dissertations, joint-publications, articles, contributions, and anthologies), updated twice a year, is available under:

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