Gerhard Nebel on Beauty and the Reformation
December 19, 2008
A sobering judgment from Gerhard Nebel, a Protestant theologian much-admired by Hans Urs von Balthasar:
“Anyone who is concerned with the world in all its range, with forms and proportions, with man’s heroism, with morality, with the splendor of forms, with the exploration of the sphere of myth, will feel repelled by Protestantism. Luther destroyed the rich treasury of myth, and replaced it with an arid, official Institute. Anyone enamored of beauty will shiver in the barn of the Reformation, just as Winckelmann did, and feel the pull of Rome.”
Nebel, Das Ereignis des Schönen (Stuttgart, 1953), p. 188. Quoted in Hans Urs von Balthasar, Explorations in Theology, I: The Word Made Flesh (Ignatius, 1989), p. 121.
Note: Tracey Rowland inaccurately attributes this quote to von Balthasar in Ratzinger’s Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI (Oxford, 2008), p. 133.