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NEWMAN STUDIES JOURNAL 98 would answer “infallibility.” If God has given Christianity a revelation, God has to maintain it free from corrupting error. I do not see any other pathway operating in Newman’s thinking. To the important questions Aquino raises, my constructive suggestion is that the Newman-influenced answers are likely more ecclesiological than epistemological in character. I thank Aquino for pushing us to construe such matters epistemically, as Newmanians,but I am not sanguine that those public measures of informed judgment exist that will bridge Christian groups rationally, at least groups as disparate as my Roman Catholicism and my brother-in-law’s Jehovahism. Appreciative nods go to The Catholic University of America Press. Thank you for footnotes rather than endnotes. And further thanks for the smaller page sizes. They helped with keeping focused on Aquino’s always cogent but often abstract lines of argument. Edward Jeremy Miller Gwynedd-Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, PA BOOK REVIEWS ORESTES A. BROWNSON: AMERICAN RELIGIOUS WEATHERVANE BY PATRICK W. CAREY Orestes Brownson, American Religious Weathervane. By Patrick W. Carey. Grand Rapids, MI:William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004. Pages: xx + 428. Paper, $28.00, ISBN 0-8028-4300-X. For nearly a century, Eerdmans has been the foremost publisher of religious books in the United States. Until fairly recently its lists—including scholarly works in theology,ethics,and scriptural studies as well as more popular books for children and adults—reflected its largely Protestant clientele. This circumstance has changed dramatically, and I played a minor role in the process. A decade or so ago, I was invited by Eerdmans to write a biography of John Courtney Murray. The book was to be a contribution to the publisher’s“Library of Religious Biography.” It was flattering indeed to be thus contacted by so distinguished a house, but I had to decline, on the prudent grounds that I knew little about the eminent Jesuit scholar,whose views had had a profound effect upon the deliberations about religious freedom at the Second Vatican Council. I was reluctant,however,to refuse out of hand,because I knew that the series of biographies up till then had included only Anglo-American Protestants— George Whitefield, Aimee Semple McPherson, and, more surprisingly, Thomas Jefferson, among others. That a Catholic should now be added to this roster seemed like a providential breakthrough of sorts. So I proposed, somewhat impertinently, to prepare a study of a 17th-century savant and mystic who was neither Anglo nor Protestant. The editors at Eerdmans agreed, and the result was my Blaise Pascal: Reasons of the Heart (1997). There followed Lawrence S. Cunningham’s Thomas 99 Merton and the Monastic Vision (1999), and now Patrick Carey’s magisterial life of the mercurial Orestes Augustus Brownson. Whether or not due to the collapse of the old Catholic publishing houses (Bruce, Sheed and Ward, Herder), the fact is that a Catholic reader looking for significant new titles can do no better than peruse the pages of the latest Eerdmans catalogue—a small but significant ecumenical milestone. That Brownson deserves a place in a “Library of Religious Biography” there can be no doubt. But Professor Carey’s subtitle should be borne in mind: he was indeed an intellectual and political weathervane. No American intellectual of the 19th century found himself on more sides of more issues than did Brownson. Born on a Vermont farm in 1803,he passed through a tumultuous childhood and adolescence— his father died when Orestes was six, and he and his four siblings were scattered out among relatives and family friends. This was the time of the second GreatAwakening, when American Protestantism was passing through a period of vital renewal reminiscent of the days of Jonathan Edwards. The sense of revival, however, did not lead to any confessional uniformity. The various traditional denominations thrived, and new ones emerged,all of them,while competing with each other,imbued with a tense conviction of the need for personal conversion. Orestes’s non-practicing Congregationalist foster parents were probably not surprised when the boy,aged 13,experienced such a conversion at a Methodist camp meeting. But this event was only the beginning of a dizzying whirlwind of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 98-100
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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