Archival Number: A567
Author: Lonergan, B.
6 handwritten pp. Dated May 7. (See previous, Methodus = determinare horizontem.) From spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.
56700D0L060 May 7
The horizon is determined: the horizon of Christians, of theological authors, of historians, of critics.
It is determined descriptively: who, what, when, how, why, where.
It is determined in an explanatory fashion: comparative (same and different), synthetic (organically connected or not), genetic (developing or static), dialectical (position or counterposition).
From this it is clear that the horizon is determined relatively according to psychological, social, and cultural development, and absolutely according to intellectual, moral, and religious conversion.
Method involves an a priori, which resides in questions and is ad utrumque.
It involves facts, since it responds to questions by judging facts. Facts are not the same as data. Human knowledge is composed.
It involves critical judgment: positions and counterpositions.
Although method of itself has to do with human science, still because it includes transcendental horizon, intellectual, moral, and religious conversion, automatically it is a matter of theology. Still theology discovers in the concrete both psychological, social, and cultural development, and intellectual, moral, and religious conversion, and these are not lived and expressed separately. Theology discovers them in such a way that it appears clearly that what happens in psychological, social, and cultural development is like a garment, and is relative, but what happens in accord with conversion is what wears the garment, and is absolute.
Because it attends to the transcendental horizon, it attends not only to religious conversion conceived in some vague manner but to intellectual, moral, and religious conversion and their co-variations vis-à-vis one another.
(1) It is automatically theology, and in a comprehensive way.
(2) This method is radically opposed to any positivism, whether theoretical or practical. Theoretical: there is no valid consideration of the entire field, of the concrete field, of everything; there is no possible architectonic science. It admits of method but not transcendental method. Practical: only those questions are to be considered on which all agree. No question is scientific that touches on transcendental matters. Cf. the British Royal Society.
We proceed differently:
(1) transcendental consideration enters into our very method;
(2) it enters ‘ad utrumque’; [or the ‘ad utrumque’ enters (into our method)];
(3) the diverse views of investigators are explained by their horizons;
(4) diverse methods are explained in terms of authentic and inauthentic horizon.
Method is such as to exhibit unity in differences, continuity in development. There is a problem of categories and a problem of transposition.
In every subject and every object there are found (1) an originary pole: experiencing, inquiring, reflecting, deliberating, which develops psychologically, socially, culturally, under influence – but by assimilation and accommodation (Piaget), otherwise verbalism, extrinsicism, conformism, inauthenticity; (2) an existential pole that is authentic or inauthentic in accord with intellectual, moral, and religious conversion; (3) a field, whether implicit or explicit, which is not created from nothing, but which passes from being conscious to being known when it occurs explicitly.
This unity and continuity are grounded in the transcendental element; if it is removed, all that remains are the relative differences of psychological, social, and cultural development.
Then there emerge those ultimate and irreducible things like Hebraism, Greekism, Gnosticism, Hellenisms, dogmatism, Scholasticism, none of which is truly understood; these are concluded from many fields; there is nothing but human beings and documents.
There also emerge absurd demands. (1) fidelity to divine revelation is to Judaize, to put on the Hebraic mentality, which seems to make the New Testament a contradiction; (2) the transition from the New Testament to the councils is judged to be impossible; the transition from an implicit to an explicit objective field; (3) the living church is overlooked, assimilating the new and transforming it in a Christian way.
Because the transcendental is included, there is included a radical critique. The biblical conceptions are one thing, but modern conceptions of biblical conceptions are something else. The latter are divided according to modern horizons, but the biblical conceptions themselves are not.
Bultmann: soma is my body as an object; honest, scientific, but, in my view, erroneous. Those who overlook their horizons either do not know this, and are less scientific, or know it, and are less honest.
An objection: It is impossible for experts in positive data to attend to such things. Response: in modern physics there are experiments and mathematicians. In like fashion, investigators can do their work in such a way as, while they themselves do not discern what is really the variety, they offer the material to a transcendental critique.