Meaning and History in Systematic Theology: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Doran, SJ

Meaning and History in Systematic Theology: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Doran, SJ

Meaning and History in Systematic Theology: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Doran, SJ

Meaning and History in Systematic Theology: Essays in Honor of Robert M. Doran, SJ


This Festschrift is written in honor of theologian and philosopher Robert Doran, one of the most creative and important Lonergan scholars working today. His magnum opus, Theology and the Dialectics of History (1990), integrated his reworking of depth psychology into a theory of history that serves as a foundation not only for systematic theology, but also for interdisciplinary collaboration. It relies on Lonergan’s seminal contribution to the reversal of the post-Enlightenment crisis of meaning, that is, his emphasis on the subject’s intelligent and responsible self-appropriation as the foundation of epistemology, metaphysics, and human collaboration. Doran’s achievement is a profound development of this work, and it provides fecund ground that enables Lonergan’s legacy to make itself felt across the humanities, the human sciences, and beyond.

The range of contributions contained in this volume points to the immense significance of Doran’s work, and they cover topics as varied as communication studies, critical-history, depth psychology, pastoral theology, philosophy, religious diversity, and systematic theology. These different concentrations ensure that this collection of essays is of use to readers who are curious about the relevance of Lonergan’s critical-realism to a breadth of scholarly disciplines. It is also of acute interest to established scholars who are well aware of the merits of Doran’s contributions to Lonergan Studies, and who wish to gain an understanding of the directions in which his work is being both employed and developed.


Bernard Lonergan states in the Epilogue of Insight that he spent years reaching up to the mind of Aquinas and it was the reaching that changed him profoundly. Robert M. Doran, SJ spent over the last 40 years of his life reaching up to the mind of Lonergan. To say that the reaching has changed him may not adequately capture the influence that Lonergan has had, not only on Doran’s own life, but on the colleagues who have benefitted from the bounty of Doran’s labors.

Robert Michael Doran was born in the Bronx on June 20, 1939. His family moved to Milwaukee in 1948 and resided in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. He entered the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus in August 16, 1956. His intellectual formation in the Society took place at St. Louis University and culminated in his doctoral studies at Marquette University, which he completed in 1975. His dissertation was published as Subject and Psyche: Ricoeur, Jung, and the Search for Foundations (1977). He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1969 and took his Final Vows as a Jesuit on April 16, 1982. After spending several initial years teaching at Marquette University and Creighton University, he spent the bulk of his professional career (1979–2006) at Regis College, Toronto. During the last five years of his time in Toronto, he served as Executive Director of the Lonergan Research Institute, which he had co-founded with Frederick E. Crowe in 1985. In 2006, he returned to Marquette University in order to take up the distinguished Emmett Doerr Chair in Systematic Theology, which he currently occupies. He continues his research, writing, and editing in Milwaukee but travels widely to various conferences.

In terms of Doran’s intellectual career, it is possible to identify three major movements: 1.) the appropriation of Lonergan’s thought to depth psychology, 2.) the attempt to integrate history into theology and 3.) the attempt to begin a collaborative comprehensive systematic theology for our time.

1 Bernard Lonergan, Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, CWL 3, ed. F. E. Crowe and R. M. Doran (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), 769.

2 See bibliography below for complete references specific to his books.

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