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  • Writer's pictureProfiles in Catholicism

The Oxford Handbook of John Henry Newman

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

by Frederick D. Aquino and Benjamin J. King, eds. Reviewed by Daniel Brown St. Philip Neri Parish, Portland, Oregon

In the future serious Newman scholars will have to be familiar with this volume as well as Ian Ker’s earlier The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman (2009). The editors planned a thoroughly extensive, carefully crafted study of the background, personal and academic influences, the themes of his output and his lasting significance. He was at home as an Anglican and as a Roman Catholic, but never fully trusted in either church, perhaps because of his kinship with 4th century Christians. During his lifetime he stirred controversy and attracted devoted adherents and stern opponents, sometimes bitter ones. Today, too, there are adulatory advocates and dismissive critics ready to weaponize his words and deeds for their own cause. Even revisionist historians get heard and judged here, sometimes scolding them to expand their vision. After all, Newman encouraged an “enlargement of mind, a connected view and a philosophical habit of mind.” Throughout, the reader meets Newman, quintessentially English, the man of letters, the historian, philosopher, theologian and pastor. The greatest benefit is that the volume prepares and encourages the reader to read Newman himself.


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