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FOREWORD. IANKER IN the Apologia, Newman states that he had already recog­ nized the principle of doctrinal development in his first book, The Arians ofthe Fourth Century (1833). Certainly, in the early years of the Tractarian Movement there is more than one explicit reference to the development ofdoc­ trine. Thus, in a private letter of1834, Newman writes that "the greater part of the theological and ecclesiastical sys­ tem, which is implicitly contained in the writings and acts of the Apostles ... was developed at various times accord­ ing to circumstances."' And in one of the Tracts for the Times of the same year, he says that the "articles of faith" which "are necessary to secure the Church's purity, accord­ ing to the rise of successive heresies and error," were "all hidden, as it were, in the Church's bosom from the first, and brought out into form according to the occasion."2 Again, in the Apologia, he points out that in an article published in 1836 he had clearly acknowledged the Roman Catholic an­ swer to objections that the Church of Rome "has departed from Primitive Christianity," namely, that such apparent departures may be seen as "developments of gospel truth" which are also to be found in Anglicanism, since "the An­ glican system itself is not found complete in those early centuries."3 But it was not until the last of his Oxford University Ser­ mons, "The Theory of Developments in Religious Doc­ trine," preached in 1843, that Newman turned his full at- xviii FOREWORD tention to the problem of doctrinal development. It was by no means simply a question of academic interest. Rather, for Newman, it was, as far as his continuingmembership in the Church ofEngland was concerned, literally a matter of life and death. The Tractarian claim for the Anglican Church was that it possessed the "note" of "Apostolicity," that is, that it only taught the doctrines of the original Ap­ ostolic Church, as opposed to the Roman Catholic Church, which clearly possessed the "note" of "Catholicity" or uni­ versality, but which also appeared to have added a number of dogmas (such as Transubstantiation) to the Christian faith. What, however, ifthese "new" doctrines were in fact, as Roman Catholics claimed, authentic developments from, rather than additions to, primitive Christianity? In the summer of 1839 Newman had suffered a severe shock while studying the Monophysite heresy of the fifth century: he thought his "stronghold was Antiquity,"• but suddenly the argument from "Apostolicity" seemed to be threatened by the picture presented by history, which ap­ peared to suggest that it was Rome not Canterbury which enjoyed the "note" of "Apostolicity" as well as that of "Catholicity." There were other blows to come during the six ensuing years that ended in Newman's leaving the Church of England and joining the Roman Catholic Church. But in the end the issue narrowed down to the question of the development of doctrine: Were specifically Roman Catholic doctrines illegitimate accretions and addi­ tions, or were they authentic developments from scriptural and apostolic doctrines? Why were those doctrines, which Anglicans shared with Roman Catholics but which were sometimes less clearly to be found in Scripture and the Fa­ thers, not also accretions and additions? Newman's idea in his Lectures on the Prophetical Office (1837) of a "Prophetical Tradition" existing within the Church had allowed in principle for developments taking place as a normal occurrence; but in his 1843 sermon he FOREWORD xix went even further, saying that developments were not sim­ ply explanations of doctrines already formulated but fur­ ther doctrines implied by and arising out of these original dogmas. In this lengthy sermon, the most brilliant of the Univer­ sity Sermons and one of the most original and penetrating ofhis writings, Newman applies to the problem ofdoctrinal development a key epistemological distinction he had al­ ready made in one of the earlier University Sermons on the difference between "Implicit and Explicit Reason." The dif­ ferentiation is crucial to his whole idea of the development of doctrine. Thus he insists in "The Theory of Develop­ ments in Religious Doctrine" that, "naturally as the in­ ward idea of divine truth . . . passes into explicit form by the activity of our reflective powers, still such an actual de­ lineation is not essential to its genuineness and perfec­ tion," so that a "peasant may have such a true impression, yet be unable to give any intelligible account ofit." Indeed, the "impression made upon the mind need not even...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780268158088
Related ISBN
9780268009212
MARC Record
OCLC
1017613061
Pages
480
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Language
English
Open Access
No
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