Volume 8, Issue 1, Spring 2017
Robert M. Doran
A Reconstruction of Bernard Lonergan’s 1947-48 Course on Grace, Part 2
Reconstruction by Robert M. Doran, working from notes taken by Frederick Crowe and William Stewart
As noted at the end of part 1 of this reconstruction, Lonergan moved on quite early in the course from commenting on Charles Boyer’s text "Tractatus de Gratia Divina". Boyer had moved next to a treatment of the necessity of grace. Lonergan indicated that it is better to treat first the question, Just what precisely is grace? He answers this question in the form of nineteen propositions consisting almost entirely of a presentation of biblical doctrine on the point, with abundant references and quotations and attempts to respond to Reformation positions. Other propositions follow these nineteen, with the total eventually coming to fifty-four, but these further propositions represent efforts at a systematic understanding of the biblical doctrine. These systematic propositions are preceded by a lengthy treatment in English of “primitive notions.” The treatment of these notions, lengthy as it is, culminates in the methodological principle of contingent predication, which seems to be the principal purpose of this interruption. This is perhaps Lonergan’s most extensive treatment of the reasoning behind his understanding of the position on contingent predication or extrinsic denomination.