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Bernard Lonergan's Philosophy of Religion

From Philosophy of God to Philosophy of Religious Studies

Jim Kanaris

Publication Year: 2002

Jim Kanaris provides a comprehensive understanding of esteemed theologian Bernard Lonergan’s philosophy of religion and a crucial means of identifying precisely the points of contact between Lonergan’s thoughts on God and religion and the issues presently discussed by philosophers of religion. Defining Lonergan’s philosophy of religion presents a challenge because he does not use the term as it is generally understood. Rather, Lonergan addresses these issues under the guise of philosophy of God or natural theology, understands the role of religious experience idiosyncratically, and allows this concept to play various roles in his thought. The dynamics of these various components, their interrelationships, and their function from early to late development are fleshed out in this work. Kanaris finds Lonergan’s philosophy of religion developing at that period when he attributes a new importance to the influence of religious experience. What this means for Lonergan’s controversial proof of God’s existence, the role of Lonergan’s concept of consciousness, and the specifically religious dimension of the notion of experience are explored, along with the emergence of what is technically philosophy of religion.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

I am indebted to so many people who have contributed in one way or another to this book either in its development, its subject matter or in my personal or professional development. Just as one's work is never one's own, one's person is never one's own work. I must begin by thanking...

Abbreviations for Works by Lonergan

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pp. xi

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pp. 1-8

Bernard Lonergan (1904-1984) is a thinker many should read but never manage to do so. That he wrote large technical books is doubtless a factor. Scholars are industrious people. If they are going to labor over a work filled with technicalities, it better be...

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Chapter One The Kehre of Philosophy of God, and Theology

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pp. 9-22

Like every good philosopher Lonergan never tires of exploiting the meaning of terms for his own purposes, to be his "ittle self" as he once remarked (PRP:126). The term "philosophy...

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Chapter Two The Philosophical Aspect of the Concept of Experience

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pp. 23-60

Up to now I have been analyzing religious experience in Lonerg "philosophy of God in a general way, providing the necessary background for understanding the shift he effects in the early 1970s. Among our more important finds is what that shift does not...

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Chapter Three Religious Experience, Reflection, and Philosophy of God

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pp. 61-100

In chapter 1, we encountered a tension in Lonergan that would finally give way to a reorientation in his thinking about religious experience. The orientation is one regarding the fundamental role in philosophical questions about the existence of God. I developed...

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Chapter 4 From Philosophy of God to Philosophy of Religion

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pp. 101-146

The verdict about Lonergan's attitude toward his early philosophy of God has to be mixed. The situation is yet again complex. Whatever may be said about it, it is relatively clear that he never thought his 1970s reorientation rendered superfluous the engaging of...

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pp. 147-150

We have given form to elements of a structure that may be described as Lonergan's philosophy of religion. Complications quickly arose as our task slowly developed...


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pp. 151-178


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pp. 179-192


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pp. 193-200

E-ISBN-13: 9780791488140
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791454657
Print-ISBN-10: 0791454657

Page Count: 212
Illustrations: 6 figures
Publication Year: 2002