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The Quest for God and the Good Life

Mark T. Miller

Publication Year: 2013

Throughout this introductory text, progress, decline, and redemption constitute a systematic framework for examining the central terms of Catholic theology, as well as key notions in Lonergan's theology. The book provides a firm foundation for students of Lonergan as well as anyone interested in understanding Catholic theology and applying it to ministry, education, and other fields.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

Like all good things for which one person takes credit, this book has been a team effort. When I reflect on the many people without whom I could not have completed this work, I am tempted to thank the communion of saints, living and dead, united with God. ...

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pp. ix-xvi

My favorite chapter of Bernard Lonergan’s Method in Theology begins with this wonderful line: “The facts of good and evil, of progress and decline, raise questions about the character of our universe.”1 ...

Part 1. Progress: Nature as Good

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1. The Natural World

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pp. 3-24

Deeply troubled by the Great Depression, two world wars, and modernity’s challenges to religion, Bernard Lonergan attempted to do for our age what Thomas Aquinas did for his—that is, to integrate the best of secular and sacred teaching in order to further the ongoing Catholic tradition of using both faith and reason ...

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2. Insight and the Self-Correcting Process of Learning

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pp. 25-44

The previous chapter considered Lonergan’s understanding of the cosmos as a self-transcending, hierarchical order governed by emergent probability. Human beings are part of this cosmos. We have emerged from the creative world process of emergent probability. ...

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3. Transcendental Method: The Larger Picture of Self-Transcendence

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pp. 45-72

As we learned from the cosmological context of Lonergan’s anthropology, the world is ordered into a dynamic, interdependent hierarchy. Lower levels of recurrent schemes set the conditions for the more or less probable emergence and survival of higher recurrent schemes. ...

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4. The Cooperating Human Community

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pp. 73-98

In the preceding chapter we considered the larger picture of Lonergan’s account of anthropology—his transcendental method. We discussed how an unrestricted desire for ultimate truth and goodness drives the human person through multiple operations on four levels of conscious intentionality. ...

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Part 2. Decline: Nature as Fallen

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pp. 99-102

The utopian idea that progress in human affairs is automatic and unbroken was perhaps the biggest mistake made by early modern proponents of progress, according to Bernard Lonergan.1 In his view these theorists failed to account for slowdowns and breakdowns, particularly those caused by sin and evil. ...

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5. Sin and Evil

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pp. 103-115

In the very first chapter of the very first book in the Bible, nature is proclaimed to be worthy of celebrating. All of its parts, the light and the dark, the sky and the sea, the plants and the animals are all created “good.” As a whole, it is “very good.” Human beings are further privileged to be made “in the image and likeness of God.”1 ...

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6. Bias

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pp. 116-129

Sin and evil are categories traditional to Catholic theology, even if Lonergan’s analysis of them is his own. Bias, an inauthentic orientation caused by and causal of inauthentic actions, decisions, judgments, ideas, and experiences, is a concept more original to Lonergan. ...

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7. Decline

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pp. 130-140

The extent of aberration is variable. “The greater it is, the more rapidly it will distort the process of cumulative change and bring to birth a host of social and cultural problems.”2 Such is decline. ...

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Part 3. Redemption: Nature Raised into Supernature

Everyday life can be problematic. Whether simple or difficult, the challenges we face raise questions. At some point our questioning of life leads to what Lonergan calls “ultimate questions.” Such questions seek insight into the meaning of life, the reason things are the way they are, ...

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8. Grace

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pp. 143-148

The theology of grace is both simple and complex. Not just any gift from God is a gift of grace. All that humanity has and is has been given by God. Grace, however, is an extraordinary gift. It is God’s gift to creation, which goes beyond the natural goodness of creation. ...

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9. Religious, Moral, and Intellectual Conversion

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pp. 149-175

As mentioned in chapter 4 within the section, “The Human Good,” Lonergan defines conversion in terms of horizontal and vertical liberty. Horizontal liberty allows a person to make relatively minor choices from a range of options within a fixed boundary or “horizon.” ...

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10. A Redemptive Community

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pp. 176-202

Typically, in Insight Lonergan credits progress to human intelligence as driven by the “detached and disinterested desire to know.” Surprisingly, however, he sometimes in this same work credits liberty. Rather than view this as an irreconcilable inconsistency, I would argue that liberty and intelligence are complementary. ...


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pp. 203-210


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pp. 211-223

Production Notes

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p. 241-241

E-ISBN-13: 9780813221403
E-ISBN-10: 0813221404
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813221397
Print-ISBN-10: 0813221390

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1