Archival Number: A551
Author: Lonergan, B.
5 handwritten schematic pp. Transpositions, dialectic, fundamental terms. Dated March 15, from spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.
Database and descriptions © Copyright 2017 by Robert M. Doran
55100D0L060 March 15 1963
Major criticism already enters into the theological field. Ai, Bi, Eijk, Fij; Fi = Eijk as f(A, B, Eijk), Fj = f(Ai, Bi, Eijk, Fij.
E.g., the history of dogmas from the process from the New Testament to Nicea:
the ancient process: traditional aspects Ai and writings, tendencies, schools Bi
the modern process: from Petavius to Daniélou, Orbe, etc.
Eijk writes a new history of the process, choosing, selecting, perfecting; judging the ideas in Eijk from Ai, Bi.
Fi is contained in that Eijk.
Fj notes the same problem in Eijk, which exceeds the method: data, descriptive stage, explanatory stage (comparative, complexive, genetic). (1) the problem of transposition or of basic terms; (2) the problem of dialectic. These problems are connected with criticism.
Regarding transposition or fundamental (basic) terms: There exists a multiplicity: Judea-Christians, Gnostics, Apologists, Heretics, refutation of heretics. Petavius and all moderns: Daniélou, Orbe/Bultmann, Jonas.
What is it that enables these very diverse figures to be considered together, whether one is reduced to another or some are reduced to one? Cf. Measuring as comparison without a standard and with a standard. (1) It happens tacitly, without any explanation or justification. (2) such a process is implicitly criticized, in Descamps. (3) the explicit consideration of this question is necessary for history and especially for Catholic dogmatics. db 2314: the most noble task of the theologian. If the same thing can be found in Nicea, Ephesus, Chalcedon, Trent, Vatican i as in the sources, then there is required the possibility of this identification being clearly and exactly apprehended.
The explanatory stage: comparison – similars à connection, dissimilars à genetic and dialectic
(1) Dialectic has to do with irreducible opposites which do not enter into one connection, and which do not pertain to the genesis or development of one connection. (2) These opposites are so far from being eliminated that, once they have been overcome in one form, they return in another. We hear about philosophia perennis, but there is not one philosophic perennis. There is perenial empiricism, idealism, realism. We hear about one Lord, one faith, one baptism, but there are perennial heretics as well. (3) This opposition, even if it manifested in contradictory propositions, still more deply is rooted in existential orientation itself. This is the reason it is perennial; this explains why it is found in the past process concerning which the history is written and in the histories themselves; this is why it is found between authors, tendencies, schools, but also within the same author, the same tendency, the same school. (4) It is found within the field of the data, of description, comparison, connections, genesis. And in the subject to whom the data are given, the subject who describes and explains. But it cannot be adequately investigated by an empirical or descriptive or explanatory method. It remains beyond the horizon of methodical consideration, since it deals not with the predicaments as such, but with the transcendentals that are present in every predicament. It has to do with the openness of the mind, with being,with the true,with the good. (5) And so it pertains not only to Bi and Eijk and Fij but equally to Ai. Christ is the sign of contradiction: greater love over against hate, much fruit over against murder, ‘that they might have life’ over against death. On the law of transformation, see De Verbo Incarnato, thesis 17. (6) It removes questions from the field of growing intelligence (description, explanation) to the field of judgment. It does not make a formal judgment: I must decide about my own existence. But it illuminates the act of judgment and reduces opposites to their principles.
Concerning fundamental terms:
(1) There is no single connection of fundamental terms. Rather there are as many opposed connections as there are oppositions, opposed positions, in dialectic. The fundamental terms are antithetical: the same word with radically opposed meanings.
(2) The terms, the opposed meanings, are not only in the logical or conceptual order, but this order is an expression of a fundamental existential orientation. The issue is more existential than it is conceptual. Consciousness transcends expression of itself. Breton, the possibility of exactly formulating first principles [RD: See Lonergan’s review of Edmond Barbotin, Jean Trouillard, Roger Verneaux, Dominque Dubarle, Stanislas Breton, Le crise de la raison dans la pensée contemporaine in Gregorianum 44 (1963) 372-73; reissued in CWL 20, Shorter Papers.]
(3) The transcendentals insofar as they are preconceptual, insofar as they determine the dramatic-practical life, the theoretic life, the interior life, insofar as they are manifested in various ways and in various cultural stages.
(4) The potential: from these historical data there comes