Von Balthasar’s Theo-aesthetics Applied to Religious Education
In this paper, I will be applying the concept of Theo-aesthetics, as developed by the Swiss Catholic Theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, to the practice of Catholic Religious Education in schools. I will begin by introducing Hans Us von Balthasar’s theological concept of Theo-aesthetics, and by providing a short overview of what it was that von Balthasar intended to achieve in writing his Theo-aesthetics. I will then argue that the concept of Theo-aesthetics is a fitting model for doing RE, and I will offer reasons why I believe that applying the concept of Theo-aesthetics to RE is beneficial. Having done that, I will give an overview of the work that has been done so far in the field of Hans Urs von Balthasar and catechetics. Consequently, I will tease out some implications that emerge from applying Balthasar’s Theo-aesthetics to RE. In the process, I will argue that the concept of Theo-aesthetics sheds light on what actually goes on during the teaching and learning process which takes place during Religious Education that it provides some crucial principles for prioritizing certain texts and themes which ought to be incorporated within the course content, and that it offers some constructive pedagogical methods that could gainfully be applied in the RE classroom. Finally, I will make some practical recommendations applicable to the school context.
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