So who is Bernard J. F. Lonergan? Just possibly the most important orthodox philosopher-theologian of the century in the Anglo-American Christian world. And March 31-April 3 may mark the time when the rest of the world began to know it.

During those four days, seventy-seven high-powered intellectuals gathered in St. Leo, Florida, to analyze and criticize the thought of the 65-year-old Canadian Jesuit—a former faculty member of the Gregorian University in Rome, and one of only three English-speaking members of the new Pontifical Theological Commission.

Up to now, Lonergan’s reputation has largely been limited to top Catholic academic circles and has rested on one masterpiece, Insight, a study of human understanding. The work attempts to provide a methodological framework for epistemology in all disciplines.He will lecture on theological method at Boston College June 14–26.

Protestant stars attending included theologians Langdon Gilkey and Schubert Ogden (University of Chicago); Thomas J. J. (“death of God”) Altizer; New Testament scholar James M. Robinson (Claremont); and Lutheran theologian Carl Braaten. Major Catholic figures included Scripture scholars John L. McKenzie (Notre Dame) and Quentin Quesnell (Marquette); British bishop Christopher Butler; Charles Curran (Catholic University); Charles Davis (English theologian and noted defector from the church); Kenneth Rexrath (a founding father of the beatnik philosopher-poet); Leslie Dewart (University of Toronto); theologians John Dunne and David Burrell (Notre Dame); and Michael Novak (State University of New York, Old Westbury).

A few who admitted to knowing little of Lonergan were also around, including Senator Eugene McCarthy and distinguished English philosopher and Catholic ...

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