Method and Conversion in Catholic Studies


in The Catholic Studies Reader

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234103
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240906 | DOI:

Series: Catholic Practice in North America

Method and Conversion in Catholic Studies

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Can one be a Catholic and nonetheless do exigent historical and scientific work on Catholicism? More broadly, can one be religious and still do scientific work in the field of religious studies? Does commitment to a particular religion interfere with objectivity? Can one be objective about one's own religion, one's own Catholicism, about another's religion? There are all kinds of issues in Catholic Studies and various “sets” of issues. This chapter shows that the quest for a distinctly “Catholic Studies” method was anticipated in the groundbreaking work of the Canadian Jesuit Bernard Lonergan, particularly in his magisterial 1957 work Insight: A Study of Human Understanding, and in Method in Theology (1972). In this latter work, Lonergan called for “integrating studies,” interdisciplinary works that linked theology with the “human sciences,” a project of special relevance for contemporary Catholic Studies. In line with Lonergan's fundamental emphases, this chapter highlights the importance of intellectual conversion or epistemological awareness in Catholic Studies.

Keywords: Catholic Studies; Catholicism; religious studies; objectivity; Bernard Lonergan; integrating studies; theology; human sciences; intellectual conversion; epistemological awareness

Chapter.  7609 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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