Aspectus dynamicus horizontis
Archival Number: A569
Author: Lonergan, B.
12 handwritten pp. Dynamism of horizon, systematic intelligence and exigence. Dated May 10. From spring 1963 course De Methodo Theologiae.
56900D0L060 May 10
Horizons are intrinsically dynamic. The subject is constituted as the originary pole by questions: experiencing, inquiring, reflecting, deliberating. Questions are put in three ways: they occur spontaneously, they are expressed explicitly, and they are expressed scientifically (where reasons for the question are assigned).
The reasons are reduced to the following: there is the problem of coherence, the problem of understanding by analogy with what we know naturally and by the connection of the mysteries with one another and with our last end, and there is the problem of fact, which is put in many ways. [RD: Note that this material is repeated in section 3 of the first chapter of De Deo trino: Pars systematic (1964), a part that is quite new in comparison with the earlier Divinarum personarum (1957, 1959). See The Triune God: Systematics 21. The present notes may be the source of the material found there. It is the earliest mention I have found yet.]
The notion of systematic understanding: (1) the questions are connected, (2) wisdom dictates the order of the solution, (3) understanding grasps the principle of the solution, (4) knowledge (science) has to do with conclusions, (5) there is the concept of a formal system, and (6) there is technical terminology.
The Commentary on the Sentences, the minor collections of questions (De veritate, De potentia, De malo, De virtutibus, Quodlibeta); the major collections of questions (the Summa theologiae).
System: separated from the problem of coherence, the explanation of the sources is deduced: Summa contra Gentiles.
The fate of a system: theology and the life of the church
Differentiation of consciousness: (1) the subject is different (Thales and the milkmaid), (2) the apprehension of the world is different (3) the concepts are different, (4) the language is different, (5) the problems are different, the intelligible solutions are different, (6) the social community and culture (in the anthropological sense) are different, popular vs. academic.
The Christian life: bible, Fathers, Councils, liturgy, Roman breviary, lives of the saints. The theological life: the questions of assimilation, baptism, Greco-Arabic culture.
Distinguish: differentiation of consciousness and separation of cultures. Differentiation of consciousness: religion enters, assumes its place, in the world of theology. Separation: theology is removed from the universities and taught in seminaries, the cleric has his own culture, the lay person develops a different culture. The cleric is not understood by the lay person and the lay person is not understood by the cleric. To defend differentiation is not ipso facto to defend separation. [The name of Alonzo Schökl is mentioned.]
The fate of system in the field of theology itself. It grows: through extension: system regarding Trinity, Incarnation, grace, sacraments, church; it grows through organization: common principles, philosophy is not some particular discipline but is the reflection and expression of the mind itself, of reason itself. The covariation of rational psychology, epistemology, ontology, natural theology is the same as that of authenticity, religion, philosophy, theology.
It not only grows but also is perfected, through the more complete understanding of principles, whether from the culture of Greek science or from the analogy of material nature.
The fate of the system: [RD: Note that this material on the fate of the system is also included in section 3 of chapter 1 of De Deo trino, Pars systematica (now The Triune God: Systematics 26-29.]
The system can be completely rejected. (1) What ‘to understand’ means is not grasped. (2) The problem of understanding is eliminated. Problems are either problems of coherence or of fact. (3) Systematic understanding is thought to be a new doctrine connected to philosophical dogmas. (4) The systematic understanding of scripture, the Fathers, the councils, the better teachers is thought rather to be a rejection of these sources. Augustine is said to mean something Augustine never thought. This can happen in a simplistic medieval sense as in Roger Marston, or in a modern and historical manner. (5) One goes back to the problem of coherence and speaks about absolute necessities and absolute possibilities, or one goes back to popular culture. Then one proceeds to the question of fact.
The fate of system
With poor understanding: (1) the understanding of the principle is not increased but decreased; (2) conclusions solve problems imperfectly; (3) there arises a new generation of problems, not simply from the fonts of revelation, the Fathers, the councils but from these along with a poorly understood system; (4) there follow a new order for the less wise, new principles for those who understand less, and new conclusions for the less scientific; (5) there follow, not once but over and over, (a) a multiplication of interpretations and schools, (b) disputations, (c) the imposition of uniformity from outside, (4) the sociology of knowledge. DTC [RD: BL may be referring to Congar’s articles ‘Théologie’].
The problem of fact
The old Protestants: De gratia, De sacramentis, De ecclesia: medieval development.
Rationalists: no positive religion, return to common principles.
Liberals: living religion is positive religion, the value of religion without dogmas, without true propositions.
Atheists: religion is alienation, a projection of human excellence into the sky. Human value is acknowledged.
Historians, historical knowledge: Concerning the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith, the value of the fonts; concerning the gospels, the New Testament, and the Hellenism of the councils; concerning dogmas and systematic theology; concerning the fonts and systematic theology.
Historical responsibility: systematic theology and Christian culture; Christian culture and secularized culture.
Once the problem of fact has been posed: (1) a transition from questions to be determined to theses to be determined [deduced?] from theological loci; (2) theological understanding is transmuted into theological reason; before, connected problems led to systematic solutions; after, systematic solutions create a proof of facts; (3) systematic solutions do not prove facts unless they are contained in the fonts; to find systematic solutions in the fonts is anachronism; Paul and John are read as if they were disciples of St Thomas; Thomas is read as if he were a disciple of John of St Thomas! Systematic solutions arise in time and develop in time, db 1800, 2314.
Dogmatic definitions are not in the fonts. That is archaism. ‘The same truth in the same sense’ db 1800, 2314; but in what way the same sense and the same truth: the dogmatic and hermeneutic problem.
Historicism: K. Heussi, Die Krisis des Historismus Tübingen 1932.
Historicism: a historical and historiographical conception commonly accepted around the beginning of the twentieth century. Four characteristics: (1) there remain organic thinking (systematic) and evolutionism ( genetic); (2) the one thing is excluded is that there exists an objective structure of facts independently of every philosophical operation, which the historian discerns and narrates; (3) the second barely changes [?] (history does not determine anything about deeper questions. Harnack, Wesen des Christentums) unless not received at the margin of historical knowledge. (4) today there is more attention paid to the history of ideas and of doctrines.
(1) whether there exists an objective structure of facts
(2) whether the objective structure of facts is narrated, intended, in the sources
(3) whether the historian discerns and narrates some objective structure of facts.
Connected with the inerrancy of the Bible: can biblical authors narrate an objective structure of facts? Is this presupposed by those who argue against modern exegesis?
The historical problem under the psychological, gnoseological, epistemological aspect.
Historical relativism, given the victory of historicism in Heussi’s sense:
(1) history is not yet finished; given past developments, great light is thrown onto earlier events; Rostostzeff; so too with future developments; (2) history is materia prima: it consists of data; the data themselves have meaning, whether superficial or full and concrete; and depending on the different cultures, nations, religions, educations of historian,s the superficial sense is preserved in different ways, and the full sense is understood in different ways; (3) history can be right, but whether it is true is not scientifically resolved. E. Rothacker.
The existential victory of historicism, relativism:
(1) the field of objective scientific inquiry is for those matters on which everyone is in agreement
(2) myth in a popular form, Weltanschauung, and in an erudite form, in systems
(3) demythologization, existential interpretation, reduced to the orientation of the subject
(4) interior personal response: existenziell, faith
Function of Catholic biblical, archeological, patristic, liturgical, sociological, historical [studies]
Does it uniquely contribute to proving and understanding Catholic truth? Is it an essential auxiliary discipline? Does it directly contribute to Christian culture and the life of the Church? Or indirectly, so that it is present to the theologian as a medium, or so that better known analogies are present to the theologian? (Carrier concerning Congar). Or indirectly, mediating between secularized cuture and theological knowledge, to take away the schism of laicism and secularism. Is biblical study etc. Catholic because it is continually occupied with adding to the proofs of faith, or because it accepts a method from the theologian which through dialectic automatically baptizes what is human? [RD: seems like a collection of fairly insignificant problems that Lonergan moved beyond quickly, ni fallor.]