Thursday, 16 September 2010

Lonergan is not 'sexy'

Extremely interesting remark by McMahon in his article on Radical Orthodoxy and Lonergan: "Lonergan's project is not 'sexy'." ["Theology and the Redemptive Mission of the Church: A Catholic Response to Milbank's Challenge." Heythrop Journal 51/5 (2010) 788.]

He goes on: "His writing is precise and seldom given over to rhetorical flourish or the playfulness found in much RO writing." [788.]

I think this remark is remarkable in the way it captures an essential difference between Lonergan and much other, extremely attractive, writing: Heidegger, for example (but not Gadamer), and now certainly Milbank, Pickstock and company.

In fact, what Milbank says about Aquinas in comparison to Heidegger might well be applied to Lonergan in comparison to Milbank and his companions: "Some thinkers, like Heidegger, appear on the surface to be obscure and deep, but on analysis are revealed as offering all too clear and readily statable positions. But as Rudi te Velde very well intimates, with Aquinas the opposite pertains. Only superficially is he clear, but on analysis one discovers that he does not a t all offer us a decently confined ‘Anglo-Saxon’ lucidity....” [John Milbank and Catherine Pickstock, Truth in Aquinas (London and New York: Routledge, 2001) 20.]

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