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Hans Urs von Balthasar's philosophical anthropology is the premise not only of his religious epistemology, but also of his whole theological enterprise. The importance of his anthropology to the rest of his theology is often overlooked, because its fundamentals are set out in an early work to which little critical attention has been given: Das Betrachtende Gebet– a work which emphasizes the “necessity of prayer”. According to von Balthasar, in praying, one encounters God, and it is through this encounter that one can attain authentic personal identity and genuine fulfilment. In short, what this early work indicates is a conception of humanity as homo orans.