Who is Bernard Lonergan?
Bernard J. F. Lonergan, S.J. (b.1904, Buckingham, Qc. d.1984, Pickering, On.) was a Canadian philosopher and theologian whose life’s work addresses some of the most fundamental questions in ethics, economics, philosophy, theology, and methodology in the natural and human sciences. During his lifetime, he taught at several universities around the globe: Regis College, University of Toronto; Harvard University; Boston College; and Gregorian University in Rome. The depth of his work received considerable acclaim from his peers and he was “considered by many intellectuals to be the finest philosophic thinker of the twentieth century” (Time Magazine, 1971). Scholars worldwide have so recognised the importance of his work that they have founded centres around the world dedicated to developing and applying his thought.
Newsweek, in a review of Lonergan’s Insight remarked that “with that boldness characteristic of genius, [he] has set out to do for the twentieth century what even Aquinas could not do for the thirteenth: provide an ‘understanding of understanding’ that can illuminate not only the broad outlines of all accumulated knowledge but also reveal an ‘invariant pattern’ for further developments in human understanding.”
By the time of his death, he had received seventeen honorary doctorates, and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the British Academy. His work stands, first and foremost, as a profound invitation to discover a dynamic process at work in ourselves: one that changes our questions, our assumptions, the way we imagine and understand, and the way we care for our world.