"Pinning Down the Meaning"
Lonergan Workshop Volume 7
edited by Fred Lawrence
Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988
pp. 295-311



    Lonergan's chapter on Interpretation in Method in Theology concludes with some modest suggestions for exegetes.  He indicates a possible project for exegetes to put their hand to: to help people find elements of meaning in their own lives and relate these to ancient modes of meaning. If exegetes took the suggestion, their achievements would be better known and appreciated and theology as a whole would benefit enormously.  "Might I suggest," he adds, "that the section on Stages of Meaning in Chapter Three offers a beginning?"
    The dean of American exegetes, John L. McKenzie, in a review of Method, replied, with his own renowned modesty, somewhat as follows: "Might I suggest that before passing out so much advice to practitioners of another discipline, one spend a little more time finding out what they actually are doing?  My whole life has been spent in helping people find elements in their own experience which they could relate to ancient modes of meaning, and I have considerable reason for thinking that those efforts have frequently succeeded."
    Has something been overlooked?  Did McKenzie not get what Lonergan was proposing? Or did Lonergan not know the kind of work McKenzie and other exegetes had been doing all their lives?  Perhaps a little of both.  Let us look more closely at the 'possible project' Lonergan is proposing.