Insights and disclosures: a study of the philosophical theology of Bernard Lonergan and Ian Ramsey

Heading, David John (2019) Insights and disclosures: a study of the philosophical theology of Bernard Lonergan and Ian Ramsey. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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The thesis compares and contrasts some aspects of the philosophical theology of Canadian Jesuit Bernard Lonergan (1904 - 1984) and Anglican Bishop Ian Ramsey (1915 - 1972). We ask whether the views of two theologians from very different backgrounds can be compatible. Lonergan and Ramsey both thought that modern science was a key resource for examining how intentional cognitive activity in humans is undertaken and hence science and scientific method give a strong indication of how we think and talk about God, theology and theological method.

We therefore start with the authors’ views of science and scientific method, noting similarities alongside a crucial difference: Ramsey emphasises the scientific use of models, while Lonergan emphasises the precision of mathematics. We then argue that their descriptions of cognitive processes are similar, albeit with some differences. The differences in the views of models are emphasised in our comparison of their understandings of language and meaning. We suggest that while the views are different they are compatible and we propose a hybrid model for religious language based on an integration and synthesis of both authors’ views.

The discussion draws together around theological method. Lonergan proposed several methods in his work and we discuss two. Ramsey did not describe an explicit method, but a consistent approach can be found in his theological writings. These methods are then compared with the authors’ theological writings in a case study, the atonement. We argue that Lonergan follows neither of his methods and that both he and Ramsey have a flexible approach to the process of doing theology. The discussions of theological method, supplemented by earlier considerations of models and method are used to suggest a hybrid theological method. This generalises Lonergan’s method, includes Ramsey’s process and yields a model whereby we can discuss how theology is done.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 27352
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 13 Aug 2019 07:43
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2021 03:04

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