Students of Catholic theology are often presented with a choice between Thomas Aquinas and Hans Urs von Balthasar as the best masters to follow. What starts as a genial rivalry can sometimes morph into a less well-tempered competition.
Since Aquinas is the classic theologian of the Latin tradition, readers and devotees of Balthasar can hardly repudiate Thomas. But Thomists are under no comparable obligation to develop a sympathy for Balthasar. This study by a highly-respected Dominican theologian seeks to show the many debts of Balthasar to Aquinas, as well as the points where Balthasar departs from Thomas, or goes beyond him.
Father Nichols concludes that, while constituting an original form of Catholic thought, Balthasarianism may be regarded as a synthesis of the influences of St. Thomas and his Franciscan contemporary, St. Bonaventure. Balthasar for Thomists also serves as a general introduction to Balthasar for those unacquainted with his profound and wide-ranging theology.