Movement, Method of theology, Stages, Methods
Sku: 46400D0E060
Archival Number: A464 V63
Author: Lonergan, B.
Language(s): English
Decade: 1960
Open 46400D0E060.pdf

Movement, Method of theology, Stages, Methods. Context to be determined. Batch V, file 6, item 3. 7 pp. originally stapled, schematic, handwritten. It is difficult to say what context these notes (starting with 463) belong to. We are beyond the notes for the 'problematic altera' of the 1962 course 'De methodo theologiae,' which ended at 462. These notes do not seem connected to the other two courses 'De methodo theologiae' (spring and fall 1963). They may very well be notes written in proximate connection with the breakthrough in February 1965 to functional specialization -- the next file, Batch V, file 7, contains precisely that breakthrough. But in the present item there is also a connection back to 'De intellectu et methodo,' with mention of the problems of foundation and chasm.

Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran



Revised transcription by R. Doran 3 Sept 2010



Symbol – Living                                             Not categories but principles

Language – Common Sense                                       for understanding

Logic – Science


I analysis, value, limitations of each

II Transitions – implicit à explicit

            genetic             educational-critical

            dialectical        historical

III Study         in the movement the differences

                        insight into that

                        is where intelligibility lies

IV Understand movement

            à explanation

            à proofs

            à refutations

    understanding yields not just one set of concepts, relations

                                      but any variation for any purpose[?]


[page 2]


Method & Theology


(1) Method has been a main determinant

            (a) in the modern situation, world

            (b) in modern science

            (c) in modern philosophy

            (d) in some Catholic Theology

(2) Method has invaded theology itself

            (a) sources – Biblical criticism

                                  Patristic study               dogmatic development

                                  Councils                        ‘proof’


            (b) problems: moral, pastoral, ascetical, mystical, liturgy

                                    missiology, kerygmatic, ?

                                    personalist, existentialist

            (c) theology has ceased to be (i) queen of the sciences

                                                            (ii) queen in her own house

            (d) theology has to enter into the game of method

(3) Problem of (i) foundations, of criteria

                        (ii) historicity (logic has no clocks)

                        (iii) chasm

                        (iv) else with too little and too late – take initiative


[page 3]


Method           such an explicit strategy (First Stage)


A: (a) is the work of practical intellect – creative inventive prescriptive

            yet it guides theoretical activity prescribes procedures, sets up criteria, shows the way to truth

     (b) becomes more precise exact with regard to its

            suppositions    as it develops from practice

            implications                                    practical results

     (c) is most easily worked out in a particular field

                                    extended by analogy to other fields

     (d) is most easily understood judged evaluated in the light of results


B: (a) it needs general acceptance by the learned class

                                                       by educators

     (b) it needs to be formulated in terms [of?]         |

                                                   in contrast with      |  accepted notions

     (c) it has to meet objections

                        solve difficulties         arising from other fields

            and it has to do so [prematurely?] (A B)


     (d) it so becomes involved in the dialectic of philosophies

                                                            divisions on religion

                                                            problems of state, society, technology, economics

     (e) its ? basis is slender as yet; ?? have to be enormous

            [marginal:] Advance, development of science

                                corrects not only initial understanding

                                  but much more the IDEOLOGICAL COMPONENT


C: (a) in the measure that it is successful,

            extension by analogy (A?) becomes excessive

     (b) the sciences themselves become involved in difficulties        

            that arise simply from their mistaken methodological notions

     (c) the problems of method move from the scientific, practical order

            to the philosophic, theoretical order

     (d) philosophy cannot deal with such views on the basis of what was implicit in common sense in BC 500


[page 4]


Method           (Second Stage)


1 Today we can assess the creative power of intellect

            we are not where Galileo Francis Bacon etc. stood

            we can judge from results       | Possibility of Method in a New Mode

                                                              i.e. not just an a priori in conflict

                                                                        with theology and religion


2 Today we are under a necessity of method in New Mode

            (a) it dominates modern science

            (b) it has provided a basic motif

                                                      a recurring theme  in modern philosophy

            (c) it has transformed the modern world

                        given it its form

                        created its problems

            (d) it has invaded theology

                        (i) history: whole question of origins, development

                                                link between revelation and theology

                                                justification of dogma, theology

                        (ii) chasm: Zersplitterung: Moral, Pastoral, Ascetical & Mystical

                                                            Liturgy, Missiology

                        (iii) foundations: is there any principle, criterion, to force agreement

            (e) set of treatises: thesis, status, adversaries, notes, proofs, SScr, PP, TT, P? Theol, objections[?]


[page 5]




            (1) easy to justify once results attained

                        by themselves, before the results,

                                    supremely convincing to the insight of genius

                                    supremely unconvincing to plain common sense

            (2) conflicts

                        (a) with accepted science (M. Planck)

                        (b) with philosophy – involves an activity                              of mind




                                                            raises epistemological problem

                                                            heads into philosophy

                             (a') reality cut down to size of the method

                                    Galileo – primary & secondary qualities

                                    Descartes - ??

                             (b') human reality cut down to size of methods of natural science

                             (c') divine revelation cut down to size of methods of human science



what the method

really involved

purification via


            quantum mechanics

good philosophic




                        (c) conflicts with religion

                                    (1) astronomy

                                    (2) geology

                                    (3) archeology

                                    (4) biology

                                    (5) history

                                    (6) state & church

                                    (7) social questions


[page 6]


            B Malinowski: intelligent and reasonable in practical sphere

            K Jaspers: breakdown of collectivist situation

                             emergence of individualism, philosophies, 800-200

            Ar Method: logos epaktikos – universal definition

                        reveals what is implicit in C.S.

                                                              in intelligence involved in linguistic

                                                                                                       grammatical categories

            in lumine intellectus agentis est omnis scientia nobis originaliter indita


                        but it does not reveal what conscious intelligence

                        can accomplish – it does not give us a concrete grasp

                        of contemporary physics, chemistry, biology, psychology,

                        human science

                                    similarly, it does not reveal its own relation to what is to come

                                    as it does not reveal what is to come

                                    so it does not suffice to bring it about

                        but needs an explicit strategy

                                        a plan of operations

                                        the formulation not only of an ? ideal

                                                but also of practical procedure, technique, criteria


[page 7]


Methods are a basic characteristic of modern science, philosophy, civilization

               and could not but influence profoundly modern religion, theology

            Galileo (a) ‘geometrization of nature’

                                    not words but sharply defined concepts and necessary relations

                        (b) subjectivity of secondary qualities

                        (c) conflict with Aristotelians


            Newton (a) E Cassirer ‘Philosophie der Aufklärung’

                               analysis – a property of matter – gravity

                               verified laws – laws of motion/gravitation

                               system – not geometry but analogy of geometry

                          (b) Aufklärung

                                    analogy of Newtonian science

                                                in psychology