Discourse and Context: An Interdisciplinary Study of John Henry Newman

Discourse and Context: An Interdisciplinary Study of John Henry Newman

Discourse and Context: An Interdisciplinary Study of John Henry Newman

Discourse and Context: An Interdisciplinary Study of John Henry Newman

Synopsis

John Henry Newman (1801- 1890) had a remarkable influence upon his age. The variety of discourse in his works reflects the many contexts in which he engaged in dialogue, ranging from secular and religious controversies to the speculative realm of philosophical thought. Despite an insular temperament and retiring personality, Newman in fact inspired radical nineteenth-century intellectual inquiry.

This collection arises from papers presented during the three-day Newman Centenary Conference at Saint Louis University. In it, the contributors enter a critical dialogue with Newman's writings from the perspectives of literature and history, rhetoric and education, and philosophy and theology to offer a scholarly appraisal of Newman's creativity and genius.

The fundamental interaction between discourse and context that pervades Newman's many works provides the thread that weaves this collection together. There are five major divisions in the book. In part 1, the essays on Newman's individuality portray the highly personal and controversial dimensions of his thought. The essays in part 2, on Newman's approach to understanding, reveal a keen sense of the historical nature of practical reason. In part 3, essays on Newman's view of education evaluate his celebration of free inquiry and sensitivity to culture. Newman's insistence upon personal commitment to apprehend historical reality, both secular and religious, spurs the essays in part 4 to assess his religious epistemology and theological method. The essays in part 5 investigate the ways in which the subsequent interpretation of Newman's thought warrants a legitimate diversity that mirrors a variety of historical contexts.

The essays contained in this volume reflect the increasing richness of literature on Newman studies while constructively expanding the boundaries of interdisciplinary scholarship. As a result, they provide diverse horizons for engaging Newman's insights through the use of contemporary scholarship. The cluster of issues they discuss portrays the enduring prominence of Newman today.

The contributors and their articles to this volume include Gerard Magill, "The Intellectual Ethos of John Henry Newman"; Edward E. Kelly, "Identity and Discourse: A Study in Newman's Individualism"; Kenneth L. Parker, "Newman's Individualistic Use of the Caroline Divines in the Via Media";Mary Katherine Tillman, "Economies of Reason: Newman and the Phronesis Tradition"; Walter Jost, "Philosophic Rhetoric: Newman and Heidegger"; Alan J. Crowley, "Theory of Discourse: Newman and Ricoeur"; James C. Livingston, "Christianity and Culture in Newman's Idea of a University"; Edward Jeremy Miller, "Newman's Idea of a University: Is It Viable Today?"; M. Jamie Ferreira, "The Grammar of the Heart: Newman on Faith and Imagination"; Gerard Magill, "The Living Mind: Newman on Assent and Dissent"; C. J. T. Talar, "Receiving Newman's Development of Christian Doctrine ";Lawrence Barmann, "Theological Inquiry in an Authoritarian Church: Newman and Modernism."

Excerpt

As a university scholar and a religious minister in nineteenth-century Britain, John Henry Newman (1801-90) had a remarkable influence upon his age. His intellectual ethos pervaded the interdisciplinary interests of his writings and elicited widespread recognition in secular and religious circles alike. The intellectual achievement and the broad spectrum of his works are evident from the considerable number that have become classics: the Oxford University Sermons(1826-43) in theology; the Dublin university discourses (1852) in his Idea of a University (1873) in education; the Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864), his spiritual autobiography, in literature; and the Grammar of Assent (1870) in philosophy. Appointed a Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, in 1822, Newman quickly established himself as a creative and an original writer. As an Anglican, his influence was extensive, especially in his charismatic leadership of the Oxford Movement in the 1830s, which produced the Tracts that generated a diversity of religious inquiries in Victorian England. After his conversion to Catholicism in 1845, his reputation became widespread, especially by his opposingrationalism in his philosophy of liberal education as rector of the new university in Dublin (1854-58) and by his upholding the legitimacy of faith as a reasonable and a nuanced commitment in his epistemology of belief (1870).

Today scholars in many disciplines continue a critical dialogue with Newman's thought. The present collection arises from papers presented during the three-day Newman Centenary Conference at Saint Louis University in fall 1990. This selection of essays examines the contribution of Newman's writings from an interdisciplinary perspective. The specialties of literature and history, theory of rhetoric and education, and philosophy and theology provide diverse horizons for engaging Newman's insights with contemporary scholarship. An amazing array of intellectual giants . . .

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