In both Theo-Drama IV and Mysterium Paschale, Balthasar suggests that the descensus existentially separates the divine hypostases of Father and Son. He also repeatedly argues that his position is faithful to the Great Tradition. While there has been much debate about Balthasar's view of the descensus, this debate has focused mostly on the issues of universalism and penal substitution, leaving the issue of trinitarian relations either to the side or without an analysis of its historical precedent. This article attempts to address this lacuna by asking whether Balthasar's view of the descensus is in fact supported by the Great Tradition, with a specific focus on second-century texts. After surveying the apostolic fathers, second-century Jewish and Christian traditions (e.g. the New Testament apocrypha), second-century apologists and Melito's Peri Pascha, the article concludes that Balthasar's position does not find historical support in the second century. His view may be in line with the Great Tradition elsewhere, but it is not grounded in this seminal century of Christian doctrinal reflection.