Lonergan and Pannenberg's Methodologies: A Critical Examination

By Orji, Cyril | Theological Studies, September 2009 | Go to article overview

Lonergan and Pannenberg's Methodologies: A Critical Examination


Orji, Cyril, Theological Studies


ROBERT DORAN'S MUCH DISCUSSED What Is Systematic Theology? has stimulated a renewed interest in systematics. (1) Building on an earlier work in which he developed the notion of psychic conversion as a theological outcome of Lonergan's intentionality analysis, (2) Doran treats the nature of systematic theology, raises some critical methodological questions, and through these sets the objectives and grounds of systematic theology. In this work--in the tradition of George Lindbeck's and Alister McGrath's (3) classics--Doran essentially agrees with Lonergan about the nature and function of systematic theology. Although he insists that Lonergan's distinct emphases be preserved, Doran sees a need to refine Lonergan's explication of systematics and suggests several ways of developing that understanding, (4) arguing that the development is "required by the very dynamic exigencies that gave rise in the first place to [Lonergan's] developed account of theological method." (5)

Doran brings Lonergan into conversation with Wolfhart Pannenberg by contrasting Lonergan's emphasis with Pannenberg's methodological procedures in his multivolume Systematic Theology. (6) Doran does not develop the kind of result a conversation between Lonergan and Pannenberg would yield because, for him, Pannenberg is not doing what Lonergan does in systematics (the seventh of his functional specialities). (7) However, the conversation between Lonergan and Pannenberg could be fruitfully explored around their mutual concern with what Maurice Blondel long ago described as "the relation of dogma and history, and of the critical method and the necessary authority of doctrinal formulae." (8) Dogmas are, for Pannenberg, "eschatological" and "provisional." (9) He also speaks of dogmatic statements and the theses of Christian doctrine as "hypotheses" because systematic theology, in his view, attempts to develop models about the world, humanity, and history as they are grounded in God. (10) By contrast, for Lonergan and his method, which is rooted in modern science, systematic theology is "to be taken as a model. By a model is not meant something to be copied or imitated. By a model is not meant a description of reality or a hypothesis about reality. It is simply an intelligible, interlocking set of terms and relations that it may be well to have about when it comes to describing reality or to forming hypotheses." (11)

My aim here is to show that the methodological approaches of Lonergan and Pannenberg are potentially complementary, once it is acknowledged that Pannenberg's work is closer to what Lonergan means by "doctrines" rather than by "systematics." Still, there are differences in cognitional theory that need to be addressed: the criterion of truth, realism versus idealism, proof or argument (Pannenberg) versus conversion (Lonergan) as ground of theological doctrines. Thus I will show how a clarification of methods proper to systematic theology advances an understanding of the mysteries of faith by comparing the seventh of Lonergan's functional specialties, systematics, with Pannenberg's Systematic Theology, volume 1. I will work with this hypothesis; although the two systematicians present a more nuanced and elaborate position in chapters prior and subsequent to the ones under examination (in addition to a more elaborated position in their later works), Lonergan in systematics and Pannenberg in Systematic Theology, volume 1, say essentially what they want to say about systematic theology. This hypothesis is supported in part by Pannenberg's clear statement that the methodology of the individual chapters of his trilogy varies according to the topic pursued. (12) His general starting point is the theoretical enterprise of logic and the authority of Scripture. Lonergan, on the other hand, began with the same science as mediated to him through his study of Aquinas and medieval Scholasticism, but effected a shift from logic to method by the time he worked out the functional specialties. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Lonergan and Pannenberg's Methodologies: A Critical Examination
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.