- Shorter Papers. Volume 20 of the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan
General editor Robert M. Doran acknowledges that the papers in this recent volume of the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan may seem to have been assembled because they 'could not be placed anywhere else' in this exhaustive collection. However, he goes on to give a rationale for the grouping of these writings as they 'provide a privileged access to [End Page 403] [Lonergan's] mind and to the person behind it precisely in some of his most personal qualities: his development, his religious commitment, his fairness to other authors, his loyalty and gratitude to some of his students.' A reading of the text supports this rationale.
This volume includes primarily informal and popular writings, short book notes and book reviews. The publication of these papers reflects the thorough comprehensiveness of the multi-volume Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan. The numerous, meticulous, and expansive footnotes provided by the editors not only shed light on the given paper and volume, but to the wider context of Lonergan's life and thought - in their substantial references to his entire body of work and to other pertinent information.
The volume is divided into five parts. Part 1 contains five articles written by Lonergan, the Heythrop College student, between 1926 and 1930. This is the densest section of the collection but gives insight into the mind of a young Lonergan as well as the philosophical culture in which he was so clearly familiar and comfortable.
Part 2 contains articles that appeared in Canadian journals such as the Montreal Beacon, Canadian Register, Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart, and Loyola College Review between 1931 and 1953. Of particular interest are two articles that reveal his lifelong interest in economics: 'Saving Certificates and Catholic Action' and 'The Queen's Canadian Fund.'
The third part comprises reviews published in periodicals and academic journals such as Theological Studies from 1935 to 1952. Part 4 consists exclusively of book reviews published in Gergorianum from 1953 to 1964 while Lonergan was professor in Rome. These reviews reflect Lonergan's generosity and fairness to authors as well as his ability to critique firmly. His critique is often measured against his own developing cognitional theory, epistemology, and metaphysics. The variety of books reviewed reveals Lonergan's familiarity with European philosophy and theology, especially French and German works.
The final section of this volume contains a few of Lonergan's talks and a series of three interesting responses to papers given by such notable thinkers as Langdon Gilkey, Charles Curran, George Lindbeck, and Lonergan interpreters such as Matthew Lamb and David Tracy at the International Lonergan Congress in 1970. This section also contains several forewords Lonergan wrote to books by his students. Some interesting correspondence that appeared in the Canadian Register regarding Lonergan's position on D. von Hildebrand's work (published in part 3) is appended to the volume.
This volume will certainly be of value to Lonergan scholars, not only for the articles that span the development of his thought from his student days until after the publication of Method in Theology, but equally for the superb explanatory notes. In addition, the volume is of particular interest because of the personal, informal style and accessible language found in many of [End Page 404] the papers, which is atypical of much of Lonergan's other published works. Interestingly, the many reviews function as a survey of the theological literature and debates in the academy in the period immediately prior to Vatican Council II. The present volume may also be of interest to historians for Lonergan's analysis of Canadian social, political, and economic issues in the post-Second World War period.
Darren Dias, Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto