John D. DADOSKY, Editor, Meaning and History in Systematic Theology: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Doran, SJ. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Marquette University Press, 2009. 518 pages. $39.99 (hard cover). ISBN 0-87462-745-1.
Reviewed by Gregory BRACHO, Lourdes College, Sylvania, OH 43560

This is a valuable Festschrift on the industrious work of Robert M. Doran on Bernard Lonergan. This Festschrift offers a number of papers expanding the Lonergan scale of values of vital, social, cultural, personal, and religious and how they develop and impact the furthering of systematics in recent years. Nearly all the papers contained in this Festschrift follow a pattern of posing a philosophical problem, how early theologians attempted to address the problems and finally how Lonergan studied the problem, analyzed the systematics of the theologians, problems with their results and then proposed a better solution to the problem. Patrick Byrne opens with a meticulous and essential presentation on Lonergan’s scale and how it improved those of Scheler and Von Hildebrand. Rohan Curnow takes those values and applies them to the work of Liberation Theology. John Dadosky speculates the possibility of a fourth stage of meaning which Lonergan did not fully develop but hinted about it in his “Prolegomena to the Study of the Emerging Religious Consciousness of our Time.” Dias presents a unifying vision for the religious diversity present in the world in recommending conversation and understanding in the historical developments of each religion. Flanagan explores Lonergan’s understanding of art as medium to engage the knower and known in conversation. Flanagan comments carefully how Lonergan saw art as a medium in which both the knower and known dialogue. Hefling discusses the value of Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo as well as its deficiencies for modern Christology, thanks to his use of his X, Y, Z analysis. Hughson engages Doran’s “Communications” and how Lonergan’s systematics are employed in that development with the help of Lonergan’s “Method in Theology.” Jacobs-Vandegeer clarifies the meaning of transposition, which “Lonergan acknowledged as crucial for the renewal of Catholic intellectual life” (191). Horizons of perspective and meaning and how they are transposed are also studied and examined. LaChance explains how Lonergan used the method of praxis to expand the meaning of value as notion, judgment and effective and constitutive meaning. Audio engineer Greg Lauzon presents a musical alternative by comparing the emergence of musical instruments and traditions with Lonergan’s work, though I suggest consulting an audio engineer to enjoy this savory paper.

Frederick Lawrence contributed the longest paper in this Festschrift, a rich presentation spanning from Schleiermacher to Bultmann, Heideger, Gadamer, and Raymund Schwager attempting to bridge theological interests with human struggles. Marsh explains Lonergan’s understanding and use of self-appropriation, arguing that it is vital for understanding the world and for living well and explaining how one can use it to better the world. McShane, like Dadosky, invites the reader to consider a fourth stage of meaning in Longergan’s scale, though Lonergan himself never fully developed it in his massive writings. Melchin fuses Lonergan’s views and recommendations to mediation in conflict through the use of mediation thanks in part to René Girard’s research. Mongeau discusses the use of rhetoric, arguing that rhetoric must be faithful in carrying a moral message for society. Monsour explores Lonergan’s "De Gratia Sanctificante” and unearths some of the insights Lonergan worked on but never completed. Monsour investigates and delicately explains the various levels of “Gratia Unionis” and “Esse Secundarium Incarnationis” and how Lonergan brought these themes into harmony with Aquinas.

Morelli carefully clarifies Lonergan’ thoughts by demonstrating Lonergan’s similarity to Hegel while remaining true to Aquinas and avoiding the pitfalls of Kant. Ormerod’s paper on conversing Taylor, Lonergan and Doran brings to light the secularization of the world, how Taylor attempts to approach it and how Lonergan brings it into sharper focus with his scale of values. As background for this essay, I strongly recommend Shute’s “Let us be Practical!” for those wanting to better understand Lonergan’s drive for a practical approach to the philosophical and socio-economic crises plaguing so many world markets. Crowe describes Lonergan’s intellectual quest as “From start to finish of his career Lonergan was oriented and guided by a deep-lying pastoral concern” (466.) Whelan demonstrates the treasure, practicality and universal application of Doran’s and Lonergan’s work in “Culture Building in Kenya” and provides a real life application and success of Doran’s appropriate heuristic structure, concluding, “It works!” (508.)

Some of the contributors do not distinguish whether they are discussing Lonergan, Doran, Dadosky or the author in their papers. I would have liked to have seen some pictures from Whelan’s work in Kenya either in the book or as a weblink like he provided on page 493.

This Festschrift is so demanding in its philosophical, historical and artistic understanding that I would recommend it to advanced philosophy/theology students, Lonergan scholars and those seeking to better understand the insights Lonergan developed throughout his career. This difficulty is somewhat alleviated by the extensive footnotes, helpful weblinks, and adequate index.

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