Bernard Lonergan's Philosophy of Religion

From Philosophy of God to Philosophy of Religious Studies

By Jim Kanaris

Subjects: Christianity
Paperback : 9780791454664, 212 pages, August 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454657, 212 pages, August 2002

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Table of contents


1. The Kehre of Philosophy of God, and Theology

Making Room for Religious Experience
Deliberately Bracketing Religious Experience

2. The Philosophical Aspect of the Concept of Experience

The Readers Experience in Insight
The General 'and Specific Notions of Experience in Insight
Self-Appropriating the General Structure of Experience


The Technical Aspect of Self-Appropriation and the Problem of the Relation of Concept to Experience; or, Lonergan, Kant, and Hegel
The Existential Aspect of Self-Appropriation


3. Religious Experience, Reflection, and Philosophy of God

Religious Experience in pre-Insight Literature


A Necessary Diversion: The Nature-Grace Distinction
The Ascendency of Love


Religious Experience in pre-Method Literature
Religious Experience: Emergence of the Expanded Viewpoint

4. From Philosophy of God to Philosophy of Religion

The Model of Religion: The Point of Departure
Lonergan's Philosophy of Religion


What Is It? What Does It Do?



Explicates the philosophy of religion emerging from the work of Bernard Lonergan, the esteemed theologian who reinvigorated Catholic thought in the twentieth century.


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.

Jim Kanaris is Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion and Theology at McGill University and Concordia University.


"This extremely impressive piece of scholarship displays a mastery of both Lonergan's writings and the existing literature in the field. The author has correctly identified a major lacuna in Lonergan scholarship, has offered a complex and sophisticated account to fill that gap, has supported his interpretation carefully with textual evidence, and has provided an account of the stages of the genesis of Lonergan's mature philosophy of religion. In addition, he has brought Lonergan's thought on this topic into encounter with major figures from the past and the present. " — Patrick H. Byrne, coeditor of Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan: Macroeconomic Dynamics: An Essay in Circulation Analysis