The Eucharistic Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Doctoral Dissertation


This dissertation examines, synthesizes, and develops Hans Urs von Balthasar’s various writings on the Eucharist in order to demonstrate that he has a coherent and comprehensive eucharistic theology. It does so primarily by tracing how the Eucharist plays an essential role throughout his theological project. Thus, inasmuch as his understanding of the Eucharist per se is analyzed and set in relief, this dissertation shows how Balthasar’s understanding of the Eucharist variously affects the other main theological topics that he treats. After a small introductory chapter that provides a roadmap to Balthasar’s main sacramental texts, the first main chapter demonstrates how he portrays the Eucharist as intrinsically related to both Christology and Trinitarian theology. Questions raised here include Balthasar’s rendering the Eucharist as a form of kenosis, his proposal for Christ’s resurrected body as “eucharistically ubiquitous,” and his notion of an intra-Trinitarian Eucharist. The second chapter focuses on the Holy Spirit and the Church’s cooperation with Christ’s eucharistic gift of self. A major theme here is Balthasar’s proposal for an existential sacramental theology. The third chapter explores how Balthasar’s theological aesthetics do, and do not, lend themselves to an aesthetic analysis of the liturgical rites. This chapter also puts Balthasar’s “liturgical theology” in dialogue with contemporary phenomenological approaches. The fourth and final main chapter deals with various issues related to the intersection of eucharistic theology and eschatology, such as Balthasar’s conception of a sacramental time, the tension between what he calls “liturgy and slaughter,” and the status of the communio sanctorum in the eschaton. The dissertation as a whole aims to show that Balthasar’s sacramental theology is firmly situated within the Catholic tradition while also being radically innovative with regard to his sources.


Attribute NameValues
Author Jonathan Martin Ciraulo
Contributor John Betz, Committee Member
Contributor Peter Casarella, Committee Member
Contributor Cyril O'Regan, Research Director
Contributor David Fagerberg, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Theology
Degree Name PhD
Defense Date
  • 2018-05-31

Submission Date 2018-06-22
  • Balthasar

  • Eschatology

  • Christology

  • Eucharist

  • Ecclesiology

  • Trinity

  • Sacramental Theology

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
Catalog Record


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.