The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman. Volume VII: Editing theBritish Critic, January 1839-December 1840ed. by Gerard Tracey (review)
- The Catholic Historical Review
- The Catholic University of America Press
- Volume 85, Number 1, January 1999
- pp. 83-85
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BOOK REVIEWS83 non-defensive posture in order continually to nourish the Catholic tradition, in which doctrine was to be seen as a living organism. Drey and his pupils were determined to maintain the living unity and the integrity of Catholic doctrine, while they tried simultaneously to illustrate how tradition was related to revelation and how both have historically unfolded to meet the needs of mutable cultures. The Tübingen School began to establish the Catholic foundation for ecumenical thought, which has flourished in the twentieth century, by insisting that revelation through the Bible and Tradition has historically been comprehended and has provided each generation with the nourishment needed for its own reflections. In the light ofVatican Council II and the subsequent decades of discussion, Drey's stress on revelation, located in the Bible and Tradition, has helped theologians nuance even current thinking about the relationships among religion, revelation, and the Church. Drey's and his pupils' works should encourage contemporary theologians to engage their culture with the same spirit of adventure as that displayed by the Tübingen School. Donald J. Dietrich Boston College The Letters and Diaries ofJohn Henry Newman. Volume VII: Editing the British Critic, January 1839-December 1840. Edited by Gerard Tracey. (NewYork: Clarendon Press, Oxford University Press. 1995. Pp. xxvi, 550. $95.00.) This latest volume of John Henry Newman's Letters and Diaries, for the years 1839 and 1840, sees Newman at the very height of his powers as an Oxford High Churchman and redefiner of the Anglican Via Media, and as leader of the Tractarian crusade to recatholicize the Church of England. The volume also contains the first evidence of his unsettlement, which led to his conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1845. The reader's first impression, however, is of the sheer volume of the literary productions by which Newman was known to the world outside Oxford. Between 1838 and 1840, he was editor of die British Critic,for which he wrote ten substantial articles and a good deal more besides. Other essays in the journal, like John Keble's review of the young Gladstone's first book on Church and State, are still ofimportance to historians. The modern editor will wryly recognize Newman's difficulties with dilatory and reluctant contributors: "if you were Editor of a Review," he wrote to Henry Woodgate, "and had to extemporize four or five sheets on a sudden,you would feel for me. I was writing last week till my hand ached again." Newman also republished his earlier patristic essays as The Church ofthe Fathers , brought out the fourth and fifth volumes of the Parochial Sermons, and wrote four of the University sermons later published in 1843- He oversaw the translations of the Catena Aurea of St. Thomas and of Fleury's Ecclesiastical 84BOOK REVIEWS History undertaken by his younger followers. He was involved in the publication of the two final volumes of Froude's Remains, in the Library of the Fathers , and in the projected Library ofAnglo-Catholic Theology. He translated the Greek devotions of Lancelot Andrewes, which appeared as Tract 88. His own private study advanced through the acts of the Council of Chalcedon and the Monophysite controversy. We are reminded that underlying everything that Newman did or wrote was this steady, continuing program of his study of the Fathers,begun in 1828 and climaxing in his translations of St. Athanasius. There are also references to his never-completed edition of the works of St. Dionysius of Alexandria. And at the end of 1840, he began to write Tract 90, from which further controversy would come. This great endeavor in these years, a superlative combination of scholarship, homiletic, and journalism, was also sustained through the large body of letters published here, which are evidence for both the stormy passage of the Oxford Movement and the elements in its dissolution. This is the undercurrent of the numerous episodes, both grave and gay, in which Newman and his friends tried their political strength or were denounced for Popery: from the endeavor to embarrass them by erecting a memorial to the Protestant martyrs in Oxford, to the controversy over the eccentricJohn Morris, who from Newman's pulpit, infuriated the...