The Personalism of John Henry Newman

The Personalism of John Henry Newman

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    The Personalism of John Henry Newman
    Book Description:

    In The Personalism of John Henry Newman, Crosby shows the reader how Newman finds the life-giving religious knowledge that he seeks. He explores the "heart" in Newman and explains what Newman was saying when he chose as his cardinal's motto, cor ad cor loquitur (heart speaks to heart). He explains what Newman means in saying that religious truth is transmitted not by argument but by "personal influence."

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2690-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xv-xxviii)

    At the end of his study of John Henry Newman as philosopher, Edward Sillem gives an overall assessment of Newman among the philosophers, and he concludes by saying something very significant: “As far as philosophy is concerned he was no Augustine, Aquinas nor Scotus in stature. His real work lay in other fields.But he stands at the threshold of the new age as a Christian Socrates, the pioneer of a new philosophy of the individual Person and Personal Life.”¹ In this book I want to draw out this personalist originality of Newman. I want to present and interpret, perhaps...

  6. 1 Theocentric Religion
    (pp. 1-32)

    For the reason given in the Introduction, I begin my study of Newman’s personalism with a chapter on a side of his mind and personality that seems in a sense antithetical to personalism. I call this the theocentrism of Newman, and I proceed to explore the different aspects of it.

    As I said, when I first encountered Newman I was drawn to him mainly by his affirmation of what he called “the dogmatical principle,” or what he called in the negative his anti-liberalism. Here is an inspired statement of the dogmatical principle:

    That there is a truth then; that there...

  7. 2 Imagination and Intellect
    (pp. 33-65)

    Newman’s religious situation was not unlike that of Kierkegaard in Denmark: he lived in a country in which Christianity, though established as the law of the land, was losing power over the lives of Christians. In one of his best-known Anglican sermons, “Unreal Words,” Newman masterfully characterizes the religious barrenness of the established church; he does this by describing the kind of religious talk that is common among English Christians. Kierkegaard would have said that Newman was describing the way people talk in “Christendom.” Newman speaks of

    the mode in which people speak of the shortness and vanity of life,...

  8. 3 “Heart Speaks to Heart”
    (pp. 66-87)

    Well known is the motto that Newman formulated for himself as cardinal and placed in his cardinal’s coat of arms:cor ad cor loquitur. With this motto Newman seems to say that he has always wanted to speak from the heart, and has always wanted to reach the hearts of those whom he addressed. We should understand the talk of “heart” as forming a contrast with the mind or intellect. Newman means that he does not want to speak only out of his intellect and does not want to address people only intellectually. Of course, the author of theGrammar...

  9. 4 Personal Influence
    (pp. 88-110)

    In the course of explaining the origins of the Oxford Movement, Newman complains in hisApologiaof his friend, William Palmer, an ally in the movement: “Nor had he any insight into the force of personal influence and congeniality of thought in carrying out a religious theory.” For Palmer the “beau idealin ecclesiastical action was a board of safe, sound, sensible men.” But Newman was of the opinion that “living movements do not come of committees.” And he said, “I, on the other hand, had out of my own head begun the Tracts; and these, as representing the antagonist...

  10. 5 “You Must Consent to Think”
    (pp. 111-150)

    We have by now gotten acquainted with various facets of Newman’s personalism. In chapter 2 we examined the experiential concreteness of Newman’s thought, and why he is thereby particularly attuned to the personal. In chapter 3 we examined interpersonal encounter as expressed in his motto, “heart speaks to heart,” and we brought to light the personalist import of the connatural knowledge by which he is connected with others. And in chapter 4 we found another dimension of his thought on intersubjectivity; we found something eminently personalist in his account of how religious truth is transmitted by personal influence. Now we...

  11. 6 “An Infinite Abyss of Existence”
    (pp. 151-185)

    There is a depersonalizing way of viewing our place in society and in the cosmos that comes very naturally to us. I refer to the way we are easily awed by the immensity of our social world—there are after all over seven billion of us alive on the earth at present—and by the immensity of the cosmos. We feel ourselves to be mere specks in these vast totalities. Each of us is only one seven-billionth of humanity, and each is an even smaller fractional part of the cosmos. There is also temporal immensity; it too annihilates our sense...

  12. 7 “The Creative Principle of Religion”
    (pp. 186-218)

    Our question in this final chapter is: what is, for Newman, the primordial knowledge of God that engenders an awakened religious existence? And in particular we ask: what is distinctly personalist about Newman’s conception of our primordial religious knowledge?

    Let us first consider what this primordial knowledge isnot. Christians have sometimes tried to explain it in terms of proofs and demonstrations. They have said that we can reason from the finite world to God as the cause and ground and governor of the world. Four of the five ways to God offered by St. Thomas Aquinas are of this...

  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-224)
  14. Index
    (pp. 225-227)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 228-228)