Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford, between AD 1826 and 1843

Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford, between AD 1826 and 1843

Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford, between AD 1826 and 1843

Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford, between AD 1826 and 1843

Synopsis

Newman himself called the Oxford University Sermons, first published in 1843, 'the best, not the most perfect, book I have done'. He added, 'I mean there is more to develop in it'. Indeed, the book is a precursor of all his major later works, including especially the Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine and the Grammar of Assent. Dealing with the relationship of faith and reason, the fifteen sermons represent Newman's resolution of the conflict between heart and head that so troubled believers, non-believers, and agnostics of the nineteenth century, Their controversial nature also makes them one of the primary documents of the Oxford Movement. This new edition provides an introduction to the sermons, a definitive text with textual variants, extensive annotation, and appendices containing previously unpublished material.

Excerpt

This edition is in tribute to the memory and legacy of two great Newmanists, Father Charles Stephen Dessain and Gerard Tracey, both of whom regarded the Oxford University Sermons as the key to Newman’s thought. They agreed with Newman’s own assessment of the book when, shortly after the first edition had been published, he described it to a friend as ‘the best, not the most perfect, book I have done. I mean there is more to develop in it …. ’

Although the title of the 1872 edition was Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford between ad 1826 and 1843, the work is commonly referred to as the Oxford University Sermons (from the title on the spine of all editions) and will be so treated in this edition. the text of this edition is based on the 1890 impression of the ‘New Edition’ published in the uniform edition. Minor printing errors have been silently corrected. the 1890 impression is the last to have possibly been corrected by Newman. It is identical to the printings of 1872, 1880, 1884, and 1887, except for minor printing errors. the Textual Appendix lists all the variant readings of the first edition of 1843. the second edition of 1844 is identical to that of the previous year, with one exception. a copy of the second edition, preserved at the Birmingham Oratory, contains numerous annotations and corrections in Newman’s hand, probably made in 1847, when Newman was in Rome; they are recorded in the Editors’ Notes. Appendix D deals with manuscripts, editions, and translations of the seventeen University sermons Newman preached at Oxford, only fifteen of which found their way into the third edition.

All unpublished sources are quoted with the permission of the Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory, who over the years have generously and hospitably granted me access to their library and archives.

I am greatly indebted to friends and former teachers, especially the late David DeLaura, the late A. Dwight Culler, Father Matthew Bradley, Father Ian Ker, and Brother Frank McGrath, fms, for years of inspiration and help. Special thanks are due to Father Ker and Dr McGrath.

* Letter of 3 February 1843 to J. R. Hope (L.D. ix.221).

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