Hermeneutics and Systematic Theology
Sku: 45600D0EL60
Archival Number: A456 V53
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English, Latin
Decade: 1960
Open 45600D0EL60.pdf

6 pp. treating in part divergences and reconciliation of hermeneutics and systematic theology. Context might be part of 'problematic altera' in 1962 course 'De methodo theologiae.' This remains to be determined.

The document has some importance with regard to L's emerging view of the relation of hermeneutics and systematics.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran


Transcription by Robert M. Doran, August 27, 2011 [not complete -- some words are not clear]

45600DTEL60 / A 456 [treats, at least in part, the relation of hermeneutics and systematics]


A A true statement


    (1) meets a question in its own context

    (2) also is relevant to answering questions in other contexts


    (1) because any true statement can be resolved into Q&A: 2+2=4; Do 2+2=4? Yes

    (2) because truth is transcendent, absolute, unconditioned [vs ?]

          what once is true, never can be contradicted without error


B Hermeneutics is concerned to clarify, understand, the original question and its context.

    Systematic theology employs original answers to meet later questions that arise in later contexts.

    Systematic theology depends on hermeneutics for the existence, precise content [context?] of the original answers [vs extrinsicism]

    only per accidens does hermeneutics depend on [systematic] theology for the interpretation of the original question and context, i.e., when the later answers aliunde are known to be true and ?tive: e.g., ‘aqua’[?] in John 3:5 is not figurative

    Systematic theology does not depend on hermeneutics for the existence and legitimacy of later contexts and later questions.

            [In margin:] Range of legitimate later contexts and questions varies with concept of theology; other ranges ? in preaching; [these marginal comments probably refer to α and β below]

    α if [systematic] theology is ratio per fidem illustrata, if its object is God and not human apprehensions of God, if scripture is only its medium, as creatures are only medium in natural knowledge of God;

    β if theology is not distinct subject with distinct principle and distinct object; e.g., fides per rationem adiuta: what is called theology is just a fixture of faith and philosophy


[page 2]


C Theological and hermeneutical contexts and procedures diverge.

    α Hermeneutic circle: understand whole by parts, parts by whole; intentional order

    β Expansion of the circle: any whole (short of total history, Last Day) is relative; it can be placed in larger whole and re-interpretation begins; e.g., John ante & post Qumrān

    γ Hermeneutics does not aim at [avoiding?] the expanding circle; it does not aim to cut questions short, to understand substantially, to leave unexplained details remain perpetually unexplained; fons veritatis revelatae numquam exhauriantur db 2314

    Theology does aim at [avoiding?] the expanding circle. Kierkegaard – Postcript – db 2314 [margin:] cf. ?? scientist - ?? judgment – just how much cannot be changed

    à [some?] texts in minimal meaning unavoidable in any future interpretation of that text: Logos in prologue = X = erat in principio …

    [margin:] convergentia of minimal meanings

    à from many texts as diversified as possible

    Christ – theophan?, totalis hominis[?], conceptus[?]

            not avoided as long as whole NT not eliminated

            à ready to change argument

    Theology proceeds cumulatively on its own basis with its own questions.

            Christ à man & God à one person and two natures à one subject and two consciousnesses

            Holy Spirit à proceeds from Son

         the later the question in the theological process, the more ? the scriptural argument


[page 3]


D The divergence of hermeneutics and systematic theology is reconciled in positive theology


α Hermeneutica romantica et Historismus

   α' Hermenetica romantica vs classicismus

            sensus proprius et translatus                                        Hellenisierung

            genera litteraria uti ???                                                ancien régime

            verum aeternum vs temporalia et contingentia           Aufklärung


       romantici: classicismus non est nisi cultura quaedam particularis; eius normae, regulae, idealia sunt valoris relativi; non sufficiunt ad genus humanum, historiam humanam, litteraturam humanam intelligendum, explicandum, dirigendum.


       in specie, datur series, spectrum, modorum cogitandi, loquendi, a ?, mythi per poiemata, orationes ?? in tract. scientificos – Denkformen

       quorum classicismus est quaedam quasi Entmythologisierung

            sensus translatus est sensus proprius in formis experiendi, cogitandi, loquendi, in quibus dominantur imaginatio, symbola, affectus

            habent logicam suam et aliam, neque Aristotelicam supponunt

                        cognoscunt sequuntur


Interpretatio operis est intelligentia auctoris operantis, scribentis

            ita non solum mentalitatem, modum concipiendi

                 sed etiam imagines, symbola, affectus                   penetrat

            ut quasi ipsum opus cum auctore reproducere possit

            ut cur auctor hoc vel illud tali modo dixerit perspiciat

            et quia ‘cur’ cognoscit, melius opus intelligit quam ipse auctor


[page 4]


At quamvis cur intelligat, melius intelligat, hoc tamen est in genere non erklären sed verstehen

            pertinet ad genus intelligendi quod habuerunt Ath[enians] de fort[itude], temp[erance], etc.

                        non ad genus intelligendi quod desiderat Soc[rates]

            pertinet ad orientationem intellectus qui est pars quaedam hominis neque operatur nisi ut pars – puella

            non ad orientationem in qua intellectus propter se solum operatur et caetera hominis vel sibi subordinat vel intra parentheses claudit – Thales

            addiscitur non per experientiam quasi abstractam et idealem quae a quolibet repeti potest,  uti in scientiis naturalibus

            sed per experientiam vitae quae nos docet tum non omnia intellexisse tum quid ulterius addiscendum est

            quae quidem experientia aliud alteri docet pro necessitatibus et utilitatibus suis neque eadem in multis ?


Quare interpretatio operis supponit commune Weltanschauung, consistit in congeniale quoddam Einfühlen

            eo facilius fit quo opus ad nostrum civilizationem, culturam, temperamentum accedit

            eo difficilius, quinnimo in limite impossibilis fit interpretatio vera, quo magis differunt auctor et interpres in civiliz. cult. temperamento


[page 5]


Ipsae denique Weltanschuungen sunt multa

            pendent ex experientia vitae

                          ex intelligentia vitae 

            sed etiam ex voluntatibus, electionibus, mobilibus psychicis, determinismis [?], externo geographico, technico, oeconomico, politico, sociali, historico

            quare neque datur neque dari potest quaedam Weltanschauung absoluti valoris

            In der Geschictlichkeit der Existenz hängen Verstehen und Entscheiden zusammen. Ebeling, in RGG3 


[page 6]


Hermeneutica exsistentialis

            Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, II cap V

            Ebeling, Bultmann, Fuchs



1 Urphänomen is understanding not another person, not his words, but per verba rem (die Sache)


2 Condition is not Einfühlen Mitvollzug but a common interest in the ‘thing’: one does not require another’s mentality, feelings, etc.; one does enlarge one’s own horizon to include another point of view; psychological process another is unverifiable hypothesis except as manifested by text: question author answered, question he thought he was answering


            enlarging one’s own horizon is self-correcting process of learning

                        it occurs via Verstehen

                        but it is subject to die Wendung zur Idee


            Romantics correct re Denkformen

                        evolution of language, of literatures, of ideas, in objective process


3 Positive theology is historia doctrinalis sacra: stadia in VT, NT, PP apostol, apologet, GK, Lat., Schol.