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In this second volume on the metaphysical traditions of the West, von Balthasar presents a series of studies of representative mystics, theologians, philosophers and poets and explores the three main streams of metaphysics which have developed since the 'catastrophe' of Nominalism.
The way of self-abandonment to the divine glory is traced through figures like Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, Ignatius, de Sales; the attempt to relocate theology in a recovery of antiquity's sense of being and beauty through figures like Nicholas of Cusa, Holderlin, Goethe, Heidegger; the metaphysics of spirit through Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Idealists. The strengths and weaknesses of these ways are relentlessly exposed.
The volume ends with the search for the Christian contribution to metaphysics.