No Bloodless Myth
A Guide Through Balthasar's Dramatics
Cover illustration: Christ as the Man
of Sorrows. Medieval painting showing through the later painted black-letter text from Cramner's Bible of 1539.
Reproduced courtesy of The Priory Church of St Mary and the Holy Cross, Binham, Norfolk, England. Photograph by
Ronald A Chapman.
1 Transition from Aesthetics 3
2 Rationale for Dramatics 11
3 The Theatre of the World 21
Persons In The Drama: Man In God
4 A Spectacular Development? 49
5 The Two Freedoms 61
6 Dramatic Anthropology 81
Persons In The Drama: The Person in Christ
7 The Agency of Christ 95
8 The Feminine Counterpart 107
9 Roll-call 119
10 Scene of Action 139
11 The Human Predicament 145
12 The Saving Deed 157
13 Fruitful Consequences 173
The Last Act
14 Preamble to the Last Act 185
15 Expecting the End 201
16 Final Scenario 219
17 Homecoming 229
18 Retrospective 241
Select Bibliography 249
Index of Subjects 251
Index of Names 265
By blood we live, the hot, the cold,
To ravage and redeem the world:
There is no bloodless myth will hold.
Geoffrey Hill, Genesis
In No Bloodless Myth (I am once again
indebted for a title to Geoffrey Hill), I continue the exploration of Balthasar's great trilogy by considering
his sustained (five volume) meditation on the relation between Christianity and the theatre - seen not for its
own sake, fascinating though the subject is, but as a parable for the drama of redemption
itself.  Other writers this century had spotted the theological suggestiveness of drama as an art form. But no
one has exploited the rich veins of ore to be found there on this colossal - industrial! - scale.
Theo-Drama is a wonderfully rich and rewarding work.
And once again, my aim is to render it more productive for the Church by providing the reader with a guide which
will let them see the wood in the trees.
A word on translation. The Anglophone public is fortunate to have Theodramatik in a translation which is, frankly, a masterpiece. Graham Harrison's English version of the final volume only became available when I had finished this
work. I have substituted his translations for my own in the great majority of cases. Where, occasionally, I have
preferred my version, the page references to the Ignatius Press edition are given also.
Aidan Nichols, OP
Memorial day of Blessed Dominic
of the Mother of God, 1998
1. H. U. von Balthasar, Theodramatik (Einsiedeln 1973-1983).
2. Idem., Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory (San
First published 2000
ISBN 0 567 08702 6
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Extracts from "No Bloodless Myth" reproduced with the kind permission of the publisher.
Copyright ©; T & T Clark Ltd, 2000
Version: 6th February 2008