"A Note on Scholasticism"
in
The Desires of the Human Heart:
An Introduction to the Theology of Bernard Lonergan
edited by Vernon Gregson
Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press, 1988
pp.144-150

OPENING PARAGRAPHS


 
 
Lonergan's Latin works have left a puzzle to posterity. The puzzle is not just that they were written in Latin, a language now not nearly so widely known and practically nowhere now used for speaking, teaching, or writing.  That fact strikes the imagination, but it is not the real obstacle to those works being widely known and used today.  After all, Bultmann and Barth wrote all their theology in German, but they have had an enormous impact on American and English religious thought.
    Nor is the problem merely one of a specialized terminology or even jargon.  Heidegger's works are filled with both,but they have been successfully translated and are widely read in a multiply-hyphenated English version.
    The real problem is  that Lonergan's Latin works are written in at least two foreign languages simultaneously: in Latin and in the language of Scholasticism.  Scholasticism is not just another set of specialized terms and jargon.  Terms can be defined, point for point, and added to existing languages.  But Scholasticism, as much and more than any foreign language, represents a completely different thought-world.  Those who merely render its ancient terms out of Latin into English find themselves more and more met by stares of amazement, incomprehension, boredom.  Putting Scholastic Latin into scholastic English is to make only one of the two translations needed.A complete two-track translation of Lonergan has not yet been attempted and will certainly prove harder than one would expect.