Interpretation: An Elementary Forum

An Invitation from Phil McShane

This forum has a quite definite focus: our common difficulty in understanding and having a shot at applying Lonergan’s invitation—in section 3 of Insight chapter 17—to invent a new way of doing interpretation.

The invitation here is not for advanced suggestions, but for difficulties of beginners. So, we may start with shockingly simple questions, e.g., about a selective pedagogical reading of some or all of pages 585-617 of Insight. We might ask about, and discuss, easy ways into some sections or pages or sentences.

Is this asking important? I do not wish to enlarge on this here, but let me note that the problem emerges at the bottom of the first page (3) of Method in Theology. When we normally attempt interpretation, we do so in this style of “academic disciplines.” What might the right way be, a way that Lonergan writes of on page 4 as “difficult and laborious”?  Could we not have a shot, together, at slowly finding out?

Some of you may find useful a reading of some or all of the twenty-two Interpretation essays that I wrote recently, but that is not a prerequisite.

Of course, I am available outside the forum—philipmcshane@shaw.ca—for questions about all this, but sharing our puzzling is important if we are to find our way forward as a community wishing to bring Lonergan’s great work to bear on changing history.