Before Truth

Lonergan, Aquinas, and the Problem of Wisdom

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Jeremy D. Wilkins
  • Washington, DC: 
    Catholic University of America Press
    , September
     2018.
     418 pages.
     $65.00.
     Hardcover.
    ISBN
    9780813231471.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Joseph K. Gordon forthcoming.

Description

It's frequently said that we live in a "post-truth" age. That obviously can't be true, but it does name a real problem on our hands. Getting things right is hard, especially if they're complicated. It takes preparation, diligence, and honesty. Wisdom, according to Thomas Aquinas, is the quality of right judgment. This book is about the problem of becoming wise, the problem "before truth." It is about that problem particularly as it comes up for religious, philosophical, and theological truth claims.

Before Truth: Lonergan, Aquinas, and the Problem of Wisdom proposes that Bernard Lonergan's approach to these problems can help us become wise. One of the special problems facing Christian believers today is our awareness of how much our tradition has developed. This development has occurred along a path shot through with contingencies. Theologians have to be able to articulate how and why doctrines, institutions, and practices that have developed—and are still developing—should nevertheless be worthy of our assent and devotion.

What is happening when doctrine is developing? How do we relate the truth of the New Testament to the dogmas formulated by the Councils? In what sense is a theological theory "true"? Can we still do metaphysics—the science of "being as being"—even though we do not know all of being? How can we distinguish true and false developments in our religious tradition, in philosophy, or in theology? On what basis should we accept Jesus Christ as the supreme teacher of wisdom? 

Part One explores Lonergan's apprenticeship to Thomas Aquinas, and the influence of that apprenticeship on Lonergan, his distinctive approach to philosophy and the method of theology. Part Two shows how Lonergan tried to implement his ideas by taking soundings in his theology. Jeremy Wilkins looks at his analysis of the development of Trinitarian doctrine, his appreciation for Thomas Aquinas's theory of the Trinity, and his account of the human wisdom of Christ, the supreme teacher.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Jeremy D. Wilkins is Associate Professor of Theology at Boston College and Editor of two volumes of Bernard Lonergan's collected works.

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