Theologians and economists attempt to make sense of global financial crisis

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

27 May 2009: A group of theologians and economists based at Australian Catholic University (ACU) have been awarded a grant of $US 30,000 for a transdisciplinary enquiry into the current economic and financial crisis – using the work of Bernard Lonergan.

The grant was awarded by the Metanexus Institute, which is funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Co-chair of the group, Professor Paul Oslington, said Lonergan was a Canadian Jesuit and regarded by many as one of the greatest philosophical and theological minds of the twentieth century.

“He was unusual among theologians in having a strong background in mathematics and economics, and building sophisticated macroeconomic models in an attempt to make sense of the Great Depression of the 1930s,” he said.

“Later in the 1970s, Lonergan returned to economics, seeing it as the key to understanding contemporary culture. “

Through a program of workshops, public lectures, visiting scholars and networking activities, the group will develop Lonergan’s transdisciplinary approach and open a dialogue between theology and economics.”

The group, of which ACU Professor Neil Ormerod is also a co-chair, includes accountants, philosophers and intellectual historians as well as theologians and economists.