One of the quotations from the last post was this:
In a glance we perceive that all that has been realized hitherto is not what Christ now, immediately demands of me, of you, of our generation; that history knows no solution for this hour (for the simple reason that it is history, and not the present day); and since history does not know, we are free to look at the Gospel and its simple solution (p. 27).Here's another that I forgot to mention, on the same general theme:
To honor the tradition does not excuse one from the obligation of beginning everything from the the beginning each time, not with Augustine or Thomas or Newman, but with Christ (p. 34).Well, it depends upon who the "one" is, and upon what he's doing. And I'm certainly not suggesting that there is any other adequate grounding for theological enterprise than Christ himself. But to suggest that we must not rely upon the tradition that has been founded upon him for millennia seems ridiculous. For a theologian doing some comprehensive work - sure. But not everybody, and not everything, everytime. I note that the work in which von Balthasar writes this is just 103 pages, and covers a fair amount of ground. I certainly don't see him starting from the beginning "each time," then. And it's simply crazy even to suggest, in a book aimed at a broad audience (I'm not sure how this could be reckoned to be aimed at a scholarly audience) that emphasizes the overwhelming importance of the laity and the fact that we are obliged by the explosion of knowledge in our day to trust the work that others do - in such a book it's just crazy to also say that we have to skip relying on the tradition.
Do we not have an explosion of theological and biblical knowledge in our day? Are we not equally obliged to trust the experts's work in these fields just as in physics or chemistry? And who better to trust, then, than Augustine, Thomas, Newman and other greats in the Church's history - those whose work has been approved for centuries? I have no idea why I'd want to ignore them, but von Balthasar's assertion alone is nowhere near convincing. It makes no sense whatsoever to reinvent the wheel: especially not for the laity.