Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Newman and the Alexandrian Fathers: Shaping Doctrine in Nineteenth-Century England

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Newman and the Alexandrian Fathers: Shaping Doctrine in Nineteenth-Century England

Article excerpt

Newman and the Alexandrian Fathers: Shaping Doctrine in Nineteenth-Century England. By Benjamin John King. [Changing Paradigms in Historical and Systematic Theology] (New York: Oxford University Press. 2009- Pp- xvii, 289. $100.00. ISBN 978-0-199-54813-2.)

Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman's enthusiasm for the Fathers of the Alexandrian Church is well known, but in-depth study has been lacking in this area. Benjamin John King now has rectified this omission, examining Newman's relationship with the Alexandrian Fathers in painstaking detail.

He presents Newman's understanding of these Fathers as passing through various phases. He explores first Newman's composition of Arians of the Fourth Century in the early 1830s, then examines the patristic background to Newman's sermons on Christ during the rest of that decade. He moves to expounding Newman's views on the Trinity between 1840 and 1858. He concludes by considering what Newman had to say when he returned to these matters in later life, from 1864 to 1881 . King not only pays close attention to Newman's approach and use of his patristic sources but also weaves in the way the work of other writers can be detected in what he says, especially the Anglican scholarship of George Bull, William Cave, and Ralph Cudworth. It is evident from the stages in Newman's writings that he has identified that he has moved far beyond any simple consideration of an Anglican Newman and a Catholic Newman.

He illustrates Newman's movement from a static to a more dynamic view of the formulation of doctrines and indicates shifts in his sympathies, notably with regard to Origen. He also argues that, when Newman was in Rome to prepare for Catholic priesthood, his Latin treatises written there reflect a position more in tune with Roman Scholasticism. …

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