In this paper, Professor Powell argues that the thinking of Bernard Lonergan in light of the natural law insights of St. Thomas Aquinas, Ali Ezzati and Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na'im provides a framework for Christian-Muslim dialogue. Lonergan's transcendental method moves from the individual subject to universal insights rather than presuming to deduce universals a priori, without regard for history, culture and individual experience. Professor Powell asserts that the most fruitful starting place for meaningful dialogue is to address questions of human rights and social justice using natural law theory, rather than focusing on theological concerns. If Muslims and Christians mutually acknowledge and defend basic human dignity as a consequence of commonly held natural law conclusions, reconciliation and the formation of solidarity become more likely. His proposal to use natural law as a framework for Christian-Muslim dialogue is made within the Thomistic tradition; however, he accepts some postmodern intuitions. Thus, his theoretical approach tends to be more like that of Bernard Lonergan or Steven D. Smith than that of John Finnis. Professor Powell’s concern for rights and procedure make me sympathetic to the work of Ronald Dworkin and Lon Fuller, respectively, particularly with regard to praxis.
Toward Reconciliation in the Middle East: A Framework for Christian-Muslim Dialogue Using Natural Law Tradition, 2 LOY. U. CHI. INT’L L. REV. 1