Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman

Article excerpt

PHILIP BOYCE, ED. Mary: The Virgin Mary in the Life and Writings of John Henry Newman. Leominster, Herefordshire, England, and Grand Rapids Michigan: Gracewing and Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2001 (Originally published in Italian in 1999 as Maria: Pagine scelte). Pp. vii + 439, bibliography, indices. $28.00.

Philip Boyce has gathered a collection of John Henry Newman's sermons, letters, and poetical writings which reflect his love and devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Boyce begins by offering a biographical sketch of Newman's life. He comments that Newman generally polarized opinions with regard to his life and his work. Few people were indifferent to him. Much continues to be written on Newman and the influence he had not only in his day, but also that which he continues to have on this day and age.

A guiding principle of Newman's that Boyce recognizes with regard to his Mariology is that of development. It was clear to him that all things must grow and develop. Ideas and truths evolve much as living things-staying true to their roots but always sending out shoots as evidence of new life. His idea of development along with other fundamental notions of his thought were ahead of his time. He on more than one occasion was criticized for his views and was the victim of suspicion and persecution. Nonetheless, Newman held fast to his quest for the truth no matter where it would take him.

Boyce comments that it would seem unlikely to find devotion to Our Lady in such a staunch Anglican, especially one that viewed the Pope as the Antichrist and Catholic practices as eclipsing the honor due to Christ. But he did have a true devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Boyce points out that the key to understanding Newman's Anglican thought surrounding the Virgin involves Mary's parallel role to Eve in the history of salvation. …

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