Lonergan on theology

[Theology] has become largely an empirical science … It has become empirical in the sense that Scripture and Tradition now supply not premises, but data. The data has to be viewed in its historical perspective … this shift … has come to stay.

— Bernard Lonergan, Theology in its New Context, 1974; quoted by Neil Ormerod in Method, Meaning, and Revelation: The Meaning and Function of Revelation in Bernard Lonergan’s Method in Theology, p3.

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2 Responses to Lonergan on theology

  1. Audrey Rogers says:

    Would that this judgment were true! See
    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1300417.htm
    These comments I cite from the Pope’s theologian seem to reveal either a lack of familiarity or a dismissal of the modern biblical scholarship – what of the entire Pauline corpus and his women ‘co-apostles’?
    Rahner bemoaned the tendency of systematic theologians to ‘cherry-pick’ scriptural quotations to bolster their personal doctrinal pronouncements, while effectively ignoring context or relevant biblical scholarship. (he was equally hard on biblical scholars! an equal opportunity but loving critic).

    • I’m less troubled by the dismissal of Paul’s women co-apostles — which can be affected by translation issues — than by the excessively rigid gender binary invoked in an attempt to explain why Jesus picked only men as apostles. Even if one dismisses the notion of socially-constructed gender and accepts sex and gender as synonymous, differences between men and women are statistical, not absolute. Absolute claims that “men are more X” and “women are more Y” are simply and observably not true.

      (I suppose I should have said “men are more Y, women are more X there, shouldn’t I. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

      Regarding the cherrypicking of Bible verses: I was startled a few years ago by a conversation with a Protestant (don’t remember what tradition, maybe evangelical?) who was convinced that systematic theology was passe. When I asked him why, it emerged that in his tradition, systematic theology had been invariably practiced by selecting Bible verses and arranging them so that they supported a theological edifice. I was suitably horrified and assured him that I didn’t mean anything like that! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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