The Method of Theology 10:2
Sku: 32000A0E060
Archival Number: CD/mp3 320
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English
Decade: 1960

CD/mp3 320, second part of tenth lecture in the 1962 Institute 'The Method of Theology.' Sponsored by an anonymous donor. The second lecture on history begins with a discussion of perspectivism. There are new perspectives that arise in history as a result of subsequent events and subsequent understanding. This can result either in a relativism or in a perspectivism that acknowledges the truth of the many perspectives and affirms the possibility of the many perspectives being joined together into a single fuller view. There are different ways in which history is done and different types of results that are arrived at. First, there is common historical research, the field on which universal agreement is easy, irrespective of religious, national, or other backgrounds of historians. Next, there is the historical essay, where common sense is mediated by special qualifications. Third, there is the mutual dependence of history and science, especially human science. Fourth, there is the problem of history and philosophy. Insofar as one has arrived at self-appropriation, one knows the potentialities of others and can reconstruct them. One has an element that is highly indeterminate, that stands in need of further determinations, but one's study of historical data is a matter of reaching those further determinations. Using one's self-knowledge as something that is common to all, that admits endless variation and oppositions, provides the upper blade of method. What one knows through self-appropriation is relevant to understanding the people who are written about by the historian. It is relevant to understanding the historians that do the writing. It is relevant to understanding the critics of historians. It adds the normative element that is implicit in such notions as horizon, authenticity, and conversion. The next topic is the relationship between a tradition and the writing of history. Existentially the historian stands in a real relation to the tradition to which he belongs. Either he is carrying on that tradition and doing so creatively, or the opposite. The historian may be mediating the tradition of the past, keeping it alive, passing it on, or trying to destroy it and put a new one in its place. Again, the historian may be bringing about the inauthenticity of that tradition, carrying it on professedly but not really understanding it and, consequently, unconsciously corrupting it. Or one may reduce the tradition to triviality by limiting oneself to common historical research. The historian's work involves existential decisions. But the act of will may be simply the consequence of intelligent and rational views, and insofar as it is, it is not the introduction of something arbitrary. Next there is the issue of history and religion. Toynbee was of the view that the fundamental issue in the history is religion. Lonergan simply raises the question, and concludes with a comment on the theological mediation of history and the relation of authentic religion to historical progress and decline.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran

Audio restoration by Greg Lauzon


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