Saturday, 4 July 2009

Heidegger and Lonergan

Heidegger and Lonergan: that is a work that remains to be done. But there are tantalizing openings: the theorem of knowing as identity, and the 'overcoming' of the subject-object split; understanding as pati, and the decentering of the subject; and so on. I guess some of these themes were mentioned in my article on Fred Lawrence. It is certainly Fred who has opened up these pathways for me.

Nelson Falcao was just telling me that the second chapter of his dissertation on Thomas Stephens' Khrista Purana was largely dependent on Heidegger's understanding of understanding. Francis de Sa is, of course, a Heidegger and Gadamer and Pannikar enthusiast. Johnson Puthenpurackal used to say that Panikkar is not original, which I gather is a way of saying that he has drawn much of his original insights from Heidegger and Gadamer: remember logos and mythos, the Spirit bearing witness as the 'third' speaking in us and inspite of us, and so on. But a rather fascinating 'inculturation', I must say. I find both Heidegger and Pannikkar fascinating in a way that Gadamer and Lonergan are simply not. Lonergan gives precious little foothold to the imagination, which is his bane. He cuts the umbilical cord tying man to the maternal imagination with a vengeance that most of his readers have still to forgive.

And of course I cannot help remembering De Smet's story of how Panikkar had sent him the manuscript of the first edition of The Unknown Christ. De Smet had taken time out and sent back 30 pages of Indological corrections, none of which were incorporated into the published text.... I think I have a copy of those corrections. It would be a fascinating study. That says nothing about the originality and the apport of an author such as Pannikkar, of course. One does not have to be an interpres fidelis in order to make a contribution or a mark. One puts things into one's pot, and one speaks in oratione recta; without footnotes, as it were.

Or else, one allows Being to speak through. So I said to Nelson this evening: perhaps the Khrista Purana emerged like that through the instrumentality of Thomas Stephens. Perhaps it just flowed out, from his deep familiarity with his own tradition, with the Hindu puranic tradition, and certainly from a deep communion with God....

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