Saturday, 5 August 2017

Method in Theology

If one looks at sites like Amazon for Method in Theology, one might likely find that they are low in stock. Of course, that is often the case with such sites (and I'm not above the cynical thought that these "only one left in stock" notices are just a ploy to get you to order now rather than wait). But in this case, they are meaningful. As some readers of this blog no doubt are already aware, later this year Method in Theology will be reissued in a new edition. This long-awaited new edition will constitute a significant moment in the history of Lonergan studies. In 1985, the year after Lonergan's passing, the Lonergan Research Institute in Toronto was founded, with a mission to preserve, promote, develop, and implement the work of Bernard Lonergan. With that mission in mind, the Institute undertook the herculean task of editing and publishing the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan (CWL). The aim of the CWL was to publish definitive editions of all of Lonergan's published and (at that time) unpublished work. In some cases this required that his Latin writings, produced while teaching at the Gregorian, be translated into English, and both the original and the translation made available. When complete in (hopefully) 2020, the series will contain twenty-five volumes, of which Method will be the twenty-third to be published (although actually volume 14 in the series). The CWL edition of Insight (also known as the 5th edition) appeared relatively early, in 1992. But a decision was made that Method in Theology--Lonergan's best-known work, alongside Insight--should be scheduled for a later date. A slightly altered printing of the existing second edition of Method appeared in 1990: Lonergan's preface was moved from page ix to x, and an errata was added on p. 406. But the CWL edition of Method in Theology constitutes a far more extensive revision, which not only incorporates such errata into the body of the text but will add appendices that will help readers to more fully grasp what Lonergan is doing in this work.

This new edition is currently at the press, and should be available this fall (I've heard October as a more precise date, but I'm not entirely sure how accurate that is). This has had a slightly chilling effect on my own work, insofar as I am avoiding any citation of Method in any of my writing until I can cite the new edition. But that's all right. There are far worse problems in life than waiting for a new and improved version of what one is working upon.

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