13; the task of 'rounding off' consisted of writing seven more chapters by the next summer.
Lonergan returned to Rome and was professor of theology at the
Gregorian from 1953 to 1965. During this period he worked on the
thorny issue of the starting point and method of theology and the
issue of the analytic and the synthetic approaches in theological
studies. He took up the question of the role of history in
theological method in light of the nineteenth-century German
Historical School. At the Gregorian he taught graduate courses on
theological method, and two undergraduate courses alternately for
ten years, one on the Trinity and the other on the Incarnate Word.
His lectures were delivered in Latin to large audiences of students
from around the world: 'They were about six hundred and fifty
strong and between them, not individually but distributively, they
seemed to read everything. It was quite a challenge.'(17) To meet this
challenge Lonergan read the works of those thinkers currently in
vogue, primarily the existential phenomenologists. He remarked of
this time: 'I was moving into the European atmosphere in which
phenomenology was dominant.'(18) His series of lectures on
existentialism, delivered at Boston College in 1957, exhibit his
familiarity with Husserl, Heidegger, and the existentialists, and
his high regard at that time for the work of Karl Jaspers. After
1954, Lonergan traveled to North America every summer to give
institutes and lectures on his book Insight and on issues related
to method in theology. Some highlights of this very productive
period are his lectures on Insight, given at Saint Mary's
University, Halifax, in 1958; his 'Philosophy of Education'
lectures given in Cincinnati in 1959; and two major Latin treatises
written in Rome, De Deo Trino (1957, 1961, 1964) and De
Verbum Incarnato (1960, 1961, 1964).
In 1965, Lonergan returned to Canada for a sabbatical but had to undergo an operation for lung cancer. His recuperation took months. But that same year Lonergan made his breakthrough in theological method, which resulted in his model of eight functional specialties. He remained in Toronto as research professor at Regis College and devoted the next five years to developing this fundamental conception of theological method. The fruit of this creative effort, Method in Theology was completed in 1971 and published in 1972. Lonergan gave a To Page 9
17. Ibid., 276.
18. Caring, 105.