The Lonergan Reader
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28

U of T Press

LWS Front Page


6

interests.'(9) In addition to his normal responsibilities, Lonergan found time to continue his private studies. He devoted his free time to reading St Augustine and Plato's early dialogues. He was especially influenced by Plato's Doctrine of Ideas, by J.A. Stewart. Lonergan reflected in 1973, 'From Stewart I learned that Plato was a methodologist, that his ideas were what the scientist seeks to discover.'(10) After his study of Plato, he proceeded to read St Thomas's Summa, and he 'began to suspect that St Thomas was not nearly as bad as he was painted.'(11) He was also influenced by Christopher Dawson's The Age of the Gods, which introduced him to the anthropological, as distinct from the classicist, notion of culture.

In 1933, Lonergan was heartened by his superior's decision to send him to the Gregorian University in Rome for his formal theological studies. His letters at the time reflect his love of Italy and its people: 'Am still breathless with enthusiasm for Rome ... Italians the soul of naturalness.'(12) In the first years of his theological studies, Lonergan was increasingly exposed to the thought of St Thomas, yet his primary concern was with issues in the philosophy of culture and history and politico-economic theory. He read both Hegel and Marx during the thirties, and the former had a lasting impact on his thought. His writings of this period reveal his deep concern with historical development and the socio-economic condition. His paper 'Pantôn Anakephalaiôsis' ('The Restoration of All Things'), dated 1935, explores the issue of human solidarity across time. Lonergan was to remark in his epilogue to Insight that he had spent 'years reaching up to the mind of Aquinas,' but it would be a mistake to assume that he was originally a Thomist.(13) 'My philosophical development was from Newman to Augustine, from Augustine to Plato, and then I was introduced to Thomism through a Greek, Stephanos Stephanou, who had his philosophic formation under Maréchal. It was in talking to him that I came first to understand St Thomas, and see that there was something there.'(14)

On July 25, 1936, Lonergan was ordained to the priesthood in Rome. He finished his basic theology in 1937 and spent the following year in To Page 7


9. Cited by Crowe in Lonergan, 17.

10. Bernard Lonergan, 'Insight Revisited,' A Second Collection, 264.

11. Cited by Crowe in Lonergan, 40.

12. Ibid., 20.

13. Insight, 769.

14. Understanding and Being, 350.