A Supernatural Nowhere: How Radical Orthodoxy and Lonergan Studies have Failed to Get Along<br />(And Why they Should)

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Jonathan Robert Heaps


For more than two decades, John Milbank has criticized the work of Bernard Lonergan for being an example of neo-Kantian transcendental Thomism. For a little less than two decades, a senior Lonergan scholar, Neil Ormerod, has criticized Milbank for being a conceptualist and an anti-realist. Both of these criticisms miss the mark. Moreover, they are emblematic of a missed opportunity for dialogue between two theological projects that have a shared commitment to finding the supernatural within the movement of history and culture. By taking a close look at a passage from Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory on the natural—supernatural distinction in light of Ormerod’s recent publication on the same topic, this essay aims to indicate how seemingly opposed manners of speaking (which can be so terminologically allergenic to one another) can, with some exegetical effort, be shown to express quite concordant positions. Moreover, it aims to suggest some of the topics on which these positions can be developed to the mutual betterment of both projects.

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Author Biography

Jonathan Robert Heaps, Marquette University

Theology - PhD Student

STM - Theology (Boston University)

MA - Philosophy (Boston College)