Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2020.

Degree Name

Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)


Thomas Cattoi


The question of method in theology has become the locus of contemporary intercultural and cross-cultural theological investigations. For any theological system to claim credulity in the public opinion of theological discourse it must demonstrate credible methodological processes inherent in its epistemological process to affirm the validity of its knowledge claims. It is method in theology which is among the criteria used to evaluate the theological integrity of an epistemic system. This paper, therefore, endeavors to explain the existence of method(s) not only in discursive and formal theologies but also in the theologies of ordinary people and communities alike. The paper demonstrates this affirmation by way of bringing Lonergan’s method in theology into conversation with African Bantu theology by contending that there is an inextricable link between epistemology and theology. Doctrines in theology are first and foremost subjects of revelation which are processed through a particular method. Hence, both Bernard Lonergan’s method and Bantu cultural theological anthropology become legitimate sources of theological knowledge production.

Although both epistemic systems affirm the primacy of the consciousness of experience as the first starting point of theology they nevertheless differ in regard to function of theology and the operative process it uses to affirm its statement of faith. Whereas Lonergan’s is individuated and highly speculative Bantu theology is relational, communitarian and overtly functional. Further, Lonergan’s system contends that God can be objectively known by way of authentic subjectivity. Bantu theology, in contrast, posits that God can be known and experienced through participation in the vital force of life.

In summary, this thesis contends that in the enterprise of theology there exists a multiplicity of epistemic systems and methodologies which serve specific purposes for a given theological enterprise. It is the foregoing that constitutes the scope, purpose and results of this study.

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