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Theology and the Dialectics of History

Theology and the Dialectics of History

Copyright Date: 1990
Pages: 7320
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    Theology and the Dialectics of History
    Book Description:

    In this challenging work Robert M. Doran explores the basis of systematic theology in consciousness, and goes on to consider the practical role of such theology in establishing and fostering communities with an authentic way of life. This way of life would counteract the distortions and deformations of humanity that are exemplified by both late capitalism and Marxism.

    Theology positions and interpretations today, argues Doran, must be stated in the categories of a theory of history. The first part of the book outlines the horizon required for such categories. The second,, third, and fourth parts incrementally derive the categories expressing a theory of history in terms of the reciprocal relations among subjects, cultures, and social structures. The final part, on hermeneutics, oresents an argument for the pertinence of what has preceded for interpreting the words and deeds of others.

    Doran draws extensively on the thought of Bernard Lonergan, and the work develops Lonergan's methodological insights. It issues a call to persona; genuineness and authenticity, informed by religious, moral, intellectual, affective, and psychic 'conversions,' by 'interior' differentiation of one's consciousness, and by Christian faith, on the parts of theologians who aspire to arrest effectively the course of cultural decline.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8260-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    Bernard Lonergan never tired of repeating in his late methodological writings that we live in a new age of theology.¹ It is an age that requires a fairly wholesale transposition and reorientation of the entire discipline, both for reasons internal to theology and because of the ecclesial, academic, and sociocultural dimensions of the situation that a contemporary theology must address and of the situation that such a theology must evoke,² If we live in a new age of theology, it is because something new is happening, must happen, in these dimensions of the human world, because thisnovumis precarious,...


    • 1 Bernard Lonergan’s Notion of the Subject
      (pp. 19-41)

      A presentation of the basic elements in Bernard Lonergan’s notion of the human subject will be the starting point of this attempt to derive categories to be employed in systematic theology. It will also be the position to which the present work will constantly appeal for confirmation and verification. The notion of the subject constitutes both the central and the foundational position in Lonergan’s work and achievement. From the position on the subject all else derives: proximately and quite directly, positions on being and objectivity, then on meaning and value, and on philosophical and theological method; more derivatively a metaphysics,...

    • 2 The Notion of Psychic Conversion
      (pp. 42-63)

      In this chapter I will rely on Lonergan’s position on the subject to ground the articulation of some of the basic elements in a notion of psychic conversion that I have developed in an attempt to relate Lonergan’s work to depth psychology. There is a need to submit to self-appropriation another dimension of our interiority besides the intentionality that Lonergan enables us to mediate through self-reflection. Lonergan’s intentionality analysis clarifies a great deal of what it is to be a flourishing and authentic human person, but the notion of psychic conversion is needed as a complement to his thought on...

    • 3 The Notion of Dialectic
      (pp. 64-92)

      In this chapter we turn again to Lonergan’s work, but this time to ground the notion of dialectic that will be employed in this book.¹

      In my work on psychic conversion, I have been concerned with two successive and complementary movements of thought. In the first place, the science of depth psychology can be reoriented on the basis of Lonergan’s intentionality analysis. In the second place, Lonergan’s intentionality analysis can be complemented by this reoriented depth psychology. The basic argument regarding the reorientation of depth psychology was presented in the last chapter. There we also indicated the manner in which...

    • 4 The Integral Scale of Values
      (pp. 93-107)

      We move now to a discussion of the integral scale of values. It represents the next major set of categories for the understanding of history in light of which we would understand church and theological doctrines.

      The scale of values determines the relations among the dialectics of the subject, culture, and community. The dialectic of the subject is located at the fourth level of the scale of values, that of personal value. But personal value is intrinsically defined in relation to the divine source of personal integrity, on the one hand, and to the cultural matrix and the social structures...

    • 5 The Community of the Servant of God
      (pp. 108-136)

      The ‘present ever new,’ Edward Schillebeeckx reminds us, is always one of the ‘factors that determine how we put into words the substance or content of belief in Jesus as the Christ.’ But the situation plays such a role in Christian proclamation and theology only because Christianity has some genuineuniversalsignificance that enables it to transcend every concrete historical definition of its essence, even as it always embodies this universal significance in specific and varying historical forms. ‘Christianity only stays alive and real if each successive period, from out of its relationship to Jesus Christ, declares anew for Jesus...


    • 6 Theological Foundations and Psychic Self-appropriation
      (pp. 139-176)

      In this part of the book we will attempt to indicate in greater detail how the intentionality analysis of Lonergan both grounds the possibility of a process of psychic self-appropriation and is complemented by this process. We will argue as well that this process figures in the establishment in interiorly differentiated consciousness of the integral dialectic of the subject. We are attempting, then, to complement Lonergan’s notion of self-appropriation with a distinctly psychic component. Thus in chapter 7 we will treat the dialectic of the subject; in chapter 8 we will locate the psychic dimensions of distorted and integral dialectics...

    • 7 The Dialectic of the Subject
      (pp. 177-210)

      The collaboration that would meet the longer cycle of decline at its roots – including the intellectual collaboration to which theology belongs¹ – is not self-grounding. We turn to the question of its proximate grounds in the integral dialectics of subjects, and to the question of the more remote grounds of personal integrity itself in grace. Integrity in general is a matter of personal and religious values. These are the source of fidelity, including intellectual fidelity, to the integral scale of values and to the integral dialectics that constitute that scale. The immanent intelligibility of the integral dialectics of community...

    • 8 The Psyche and Integral Interiority
      (pp. 211-253)

      The last chapter spoke of the basic dialectic of the subject. The two interrelated poles in this dialectic are neural demands for conscious integration and the conscious orientation of the dramatic subject, which exercises either a constructive or repressive censorship over these neural demands. That conscious orientation has intentional or spiritual and psychic components, and either of these can be affected by bias. The biases are responsible for the repressive censorship. Because of bias one is not free to allow experience to occur for its own sake, nor to employ dramatic and artistic criteria in admitting and shaping the materials...

    • 9 Reorienting Depth Psychology
      (pp. 254-294)

      In preceding chapters I have suggested a way to understand the psyche’s role among the principal structural constituents of interiorly differentiated consciousness. I have made the option to assume a number of factors already established in the work of Bernard Lonergan rather than try to repeat his arguments in detail. My own contribution to a foundational horizon consists in the integration with Lonergan’s work of a science of depth psychology that has been reoriented on the basis of Lonergan’s disengagement of the constitution of authentic intentionality. I will continue to amplify this development in the present chapter. The heuristic outline...

    • 10 A Clarification by Contrast
      (pp. 295-352)

      In this chapter I will contrast my position more fully with that which I think is operative in Jungian psychology. From this discussion I hope there will emerge greater clarification on the basic notion of psychic conversion and on the potential it contains for making a distinct contribution to interiorly differentiated consciousness. I have arrived at this position, not by thinking through in a vacuum the implications of Lonergan’s work, but by extensive reflection on Jungian thought from the standpoint of intentionality analysis. I have learned much from Jung, and have already shown how some of his emphases can be...


    • 11 Cosmopolis and the Dialectic of Community
      (pp. 355-386)

      Theology is an intellectual ministry to the church, evoking the church as servant of God in the world. But it is also a dimension of the church’s ministry in the situation itself, and so in the ‘world’ conceived as a theological reality and understood in theological terms. In both capacities, as servant of the church and as a dimension of the church’s servanthood before God in the world, living theology, which is coincident with the Christian thinker growing to the reflective and self-appropriating stature of ‘the subject in Christ Jesus,’¹ will itself be marked by the sign of the servant,...

    • 12 Infrastructure and Superstructure
      (pp. 387-417)

      In the present chapter we will make a fundamental application of our position on the scale of values and the elements of society.

      The notion of the scale of values provides one of the principal sources of the categories through which the systematic meaning of our theology will be expressed. When joined with the analogy of dialectic, it offers a heuristic structure for the understanding of historical events and historical process in general. Through the notion of the scale of values, we will be able to relate to one another the three dialectics of community, the subject, and culture, and...

    • 13 Theology, the Church, and Liberation
      (pp. 418-439)

      In the next part of the book we will speak of theology’s task of evoking a new set of cultural meanings and values as public determinants of a global political, economic, and technological order in dialectic with a crosscultural dramatic intersubjectivity. This discussion can be set in place, first, by resuming our earlier discussion regarding theology’s responsibility to the ministry of the church, and then by commenting on the relationship of our position to the concerns and objectives of the theology of liberation.

      Earlier we insisted that theology’s responsibility for constitutive meaning is proximately exercised in relation not to culture...

    • 14 Theology as Praxis
      (pp. 440-470)

      As we have seen, the discussion of psychic conversion has been concerned with two successive and complementary movements of thought. The science of depth psychology can be reoriented on the basis of Lonergan’s intentionality analysis. But Lonergan’s intentionality analysis can also be complemented by this reoriented depth psychology. The first concern was treated inchoately in chapter 2 and more fully in the second part of the book, where a reoriented notion of the psyche was shown to be possible on the basis of the existentially self-constitutive affirmations of intellectual, moral, and religious self-appropriation. The reorientation of depth psychology that psychic...


    • 15 Transforming the Anthropological Principle
      (pp. 473-499)

      ‘A theology mediates between a cultural matrix and the significance and role of a religion within that matrix’ (M:xi). Among the fruits of that mediation would be the establishment and strengthening of culture itself as the higher synthesis of the contrary poles internally constitutive of the dialectic of community.

      Now the structure of dialectic is in itself a pure form: it is a heuristic structure for understanding some of the principal components of any historical situation. But it stands in need of specification if the responsibilities of a contemporary theology that would mediate in direct discourse from the present into...

    • 16 Theology and the Dialectic of Culture
      (pp. 500-526)

      The global reach and scope of the infrastructural dialectic that provides theology with its contemporary situation is a matter not only of the interdependence of nations at the level of social values, but directly of culture as well, that is, of the meanings and values that inform the social order and shape any sustained exercise of civic responsibility. Yet the cultural values that could inform a global social order are still in a process of emergence. The future of humanity depends on this emergence. And the process is only in its beginning stages.

      A contemporary Christian systematic theology speaking in...

    • 17 World-cultural Consciousness
      (pp. 527-558)

      We have been seeking to understand the transcultural and so universally human elements constitutive of the search for direction in the movement of life. These elements of universal humanity are the foundations at the level of personal value for the generation of the cultural values of a world-cultural community. Because we are seeking to discover these elements in the realm of human interiority, our discovery is as well a promotion of interiorly differentiated consciousness both in ourselves and in all who accept our analysis; and through this discovery and promotion it is an evocation of the universal community of humankind...


    • 18 Elements of Lonergan’s Hermeneutics
      (pp. 561-591)

      The terms and relations bearing on the constitution of dialectic, on the scale of values, and on the spirituality of the servant church, are a function of interiorly and religiously differentiated consciousness. But such consciousness provides ‘just the added foundation needed to move from the indirect discourse that sets forth the convictions and opinions of others to the direct discourse that states what is so’ (M:267). It does not provide the whole foundation even of the theological functional specialties concerned with direct discourse, for these specialties, as chapters 5 and 17 began to illustrate in at least a summary fashion,...

    • 19 The Ontology of Meaning
      (pp. 592-629)

      I propose now to interpret chapter 17 ofInsighton a new level. It is an effort to present the broad outlines of ‘all there is to be understood’ (I:xxviii) when what one wants to understand is the history of meaning, when what one is after is an explanatory understanding of meanings in their genetic and dialectical relations to one another; and so it provides the structure of a historical ontology of meaning. I will indicate and explore some of the principal resources inInsightfor developing an ontology of meaning, a metaphysics of the being of meaning. A thorough...

    • 20 Psychic Conversion and Hermeneutics
      (pp. 630-680)

      In this chapter we locate psychic conversion as foundational of methodical interpretation, history, and dialectic. First we will state in summary fashion our basic position. Then we will investigate in greater detail the relation of hermeneutics and foundations, and clarify the psychological component both of foundations in general and more specifically of the foundations of the specialties that constitute the hermeneutical phase of theology. Our question in this second part will be, first, how the added foundation of direct discourse is related to the hermeneutical foundation of the same discourse, and second, what is the place of the psychological component...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 681-720)
  11. Index
    (pp. 721-732)