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Lonergan, Bernard

Lonergan, Bernard (1904–84). Christian theologian of central importance in the development of transcendental Thomism (see NEOTHOMISM) into new and daring territory. Born in Canada, he became a Jesuit in 1922. He was ordained priest in 1936, and taught in both Canada and Rome. His major work is Insight: A Study of Human Understanding (1957), a detailed study of the conditions and levels of human understanding. Nothing could be more erroneous than the positivist assumption that ‘knowing consists in simply taking a look’. In contrast, he argues that ‘Insight’ is in-sight, seeing into the observed object to discern it in various ways. There is thus created a relation between ‘intelligent grasp and reasonable affirmation’, which constantly pulls the intelligent mind to the realm of transcendent being. His approach was elaborated in Method in Theology (1972).

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