Category Archives: John Henry Newman

Hegel and the Development of Doctrine

In the 1807 “Preface” to the Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel writes, “The more conventional opinion…does not comprehend the diversity of philosophical systems as the progressive unfolding of truth, but rather sees in it simple disagreements. The bud disappears in the bursting-forth of … Continue reading

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On Achieving Disagreement

In After Strange Gods, Eliot takes a leaf from Newman’s book: “In our time, controversy seems to me, on really fundamental matters, to be futile. It can only usefully be practised where there is common understanding. It requires common assumptions; and … Continue reading

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Chesterton on Newman and the Oxford Movement

“Newman took down the iron sword of dogma to parry a blow not yet delivered, that was coming from the club of Darwin. For this reason no one can understand tradition, or even history, who has not some tenderness for … Continue reading

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Kantian Newman

In chapter five of his Apologia, Newman writes, If I looked into a mirror, and did not see my face, I should have the sort of feeling which actually comes upon me, when I look into this living busy world, and … Continue reading

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Infallibility and the Sensus Fidelium

After Vatican I, Newman suggests that a condition, in the order of knowing, for the reception of a magisterial dogmatic definition — conciliar in this case, but applying equally to papal ex cathedra definitions — is the reception of that definition by the faithful: … Continue reading

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Newman on Faith and Reason

(What follows is an analysis of Newman’s account of faith and reason in a selection of his Oxford University Sermons, presented at a seminar on Newman with Fr. Ian Ker, at Merton College, Oxford University, July 13, 2015.) The Oxford University … Continue reading

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Newman takes down Bentham and Kant

“Conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by … Continue reading

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A Theory of Translation

Newman offers this obiter dictum regarding translation in his 15th Oxford University Sermon: Language is a sort of analysis of thought, and, since ideas are infinite, and infinitely combined, and infinitely modified, whereas language is a method definite and limited, and confined to … Continue reading

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Justification by Justification by Faith

In his Lectures on the Doctrine of Justification, Newman complains that, in practice, the Protestant doctrine of justification sola fide results in “substitut[ing] faith for Christ” (Genius of Newman, 188). That is, when the test of your salvation is your subjective awareness of … Continue reading

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The Dispensation of Paganism

That’s Newman’s expression for “the dealings of God with those to whom He did not vouchsafe a written revelation” (from Arians of the Fourth Century, in The Genius of Newman, 178). Newman finds a type of this dispensation “in the history of Balaam … Continue reading

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