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NEWMAN STUDIES JOURNAL 104 Stanley L. Jaki, longtime professor at Seton Hall University, has had a distinguished career in science and religion. This prolific writer in recent years has also published books on Newman and has reissued several of Newman’s works through a publishing house,Real View Books,which he himself established. Among these is the 1845 edition of An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine with a very long introductory essay and amplified endnotes. Jaki ironically chose this edition rather than Newman’s drastically revised 1878 definitive edition, which he notes “made a Catholic book even more Catholic” (lxxiii). The significance of Newman’s Development is well known to Newman scholars, as is its place in his spiritual pilgrimage. The notions of organic (rather than syllogistic) development from the original apostolic deposit, the relationship between implicit and explicit doctrine,the nature of intuitive knowledge,the church as the living organ and authenticator of doctrinal development, the famous seven notes (“tests” in the 1845 edition) of authentic development, growth and development as signs of life, and the identity between the apostolic church and the contemporary Roman Catholic Church are all major points in this work. Students of Newman’s life and work also know the difficulty with which he worked through the manuscript, laying down his pen just shortly before his reception into the Roman Catholic Church and his offering to withdraw the book after his conversion. Jaki personally believes that the successful completion of the work was directly due to Newman’s having begun to wear the miraculous medal in August 1845,“one of the greatest marvels of theological history,”and“that final help from heaven”(xxviii-xxix). This review is not an analysis of Newman’s work but of Jaki’s foreword and introductory essay. He presents what he calls the “gist” of Development with an emphasis on the facticity of the Christian religion and of “bold outlines” of gathered facts. There is a survey of Anglican criticism and Catholic reactions at the time of the original publication, followed by a section on“Newman on the Development,”which Jaki says distinguishes his work from other introductions and secondary literature (xi). He concludes with a long analysis of the treatment of Development by Catholic scholars, a section entitled“From Bossuet to Newman, from Newman to Congar,”and “The Development’s Newman”—essentially Jaki’s interpretation. Jaki’s comments on Anglican critics of the 1845 edition point to the rapidity of their publication,which he says betrayed a deep apprehension (xxix). He singles out the works of William Palmer, F. D. Maurice, and James B. Mozley (brother-in-law of Newman’s sisters). Catholic responses include an enthusiastic one in the Dublin Review and a strongly negative one by Orestes Brownson. Jaki also suggests that An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine [1845] by John Henry Newman. With an Introductory Essay and Notes by Stanley L. Jaki. Pinckney, MI: Real View Books, 2003. Pages cxviii + 433. Paper, $24.00. ISBN 1892548321. AN ESSAY ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE BY STANLEY L. JAKI, ED. BOOK REVIEW 105 Newman’s essay had been anticipated by an 1839 sermon of Bishop Nicholas Wiseman, probably unknown to Newman (xlv). In his discussion of Newman’s own views of his book, Jaki uses a number of Newman’s letters to people needing help in understanding it,suggesting that they see the essay as a whole, begin with antecedent probabilities, and focus on the facts which underlay his hypothesis. He also gives attention to Newman’s insistence in his discussion with Giovanni Perrone in Rome that development meant more than syllogistic reasoning (lvii). In a letter to Lord Acton,Newman gave a striking example of doctrinal development going from implicit to explicit reasoning, noting that if St. Polycarp were asked whether the Blessed Virgin was immaculately conceived, he would“after some reflection and clarification of terms”have answered“yes”(lx). Jaki also includes a letter in which Newman admitted that the mysterious workings of the mind of the church did not unfold logically what was contained in the original deposit of faith,so that there was the possibility of errors of reasoning...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 104-106
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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