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Philip Rule’s Coleridge and Newman:The Centrality of Conscience crystallizes as an unusual and refreshing discourse, really an extended essay. It is a little book with a big message. The argument,which developed over forty years of teaching and writing, as Rule tells us, has the courage of its eccentricities. It is highly compressed, all the incidentals having fallen away, laying out, through the juxtaposition of great texts by Coleridge and Newman,a rich series of interrelated insights derived from the NEWMAN STUDIES JOURNAL 106 of the usual form) and in the amplified endnotes. Jaki makes some important emphases on Newman’s concern for facts and the bold outlines of the faith as a limiting factor in understanding the development of doctrine. There is, however, much that is disturbing in Jaki’s presentation. Persons of great learning and love for the church are described as myopic, lopsided, fuzzy, shallow, or tendentious. Jaki himself is delighted that Newman in The Via Media includes the Curia as authoritative (lxxxiii),but fails to balance this with his statement in the“Letter to the Duke of Norfolk” (Difficulties of Anglicans, II, 297–298) about the "malarial fog" in the swamps below the rock of Peter in Rome. Likewise Jaki’s attitude toward non-Catholic Christians is very disturbing. He speaks of “Christian” denominations (his quotes) and of mere Anglicans. Demeaning comments question motives, and gratuitous facts about personal lives are inserted. Further, he fails to limit himself to what Newman actually said and rather imperially assures the reader on many occasions of what Newman would have said. Jaki’s tone is very different from the usual gracious treatment of his opponents (e.g., Pusey and Gladstone) by Newman himself and his generosity of spirit. The book is marked with numerous printing errors, serious misspelling of personal names,and errors in dates. There are also factual errors. SamuelWilberforce was never bishop of Exeter. Moreover, Bishop Samuel Phillpotts of Exeter did not institute the infamous G. C. Gorham into his parish after the Privy Council Judgment: the Dean of Arches did so after Phillpotts refused! Given Newman’s penchant for revising and perfecting his work, most readers will probably continue to prefer the text of the 1878 third edition of the Essay on Development, available in the 1979 version of the University of Notre Dame Press. Introductions which assist readers in understanding the primary source will continue to be far more helpful in understanding Newman than this one. J. Raymond Lord Owensboro, KY Coleridge and Newman: The Centrality of Conscience. By Philip C. Rule, S.J. Studies in Religion and Literature 8. New York: Fordham University Press, 2004. Pages x + 182. Hardcover, $55.00. ISBN 0823223159. COLERIDGE AND NEWMAN: THE CENTRALITY OF CONSCIENCE BY PHILIP C. RULE, S.J. BOOK REVIEW 107 foundational importance of conscience in their thinking. The argument is made that conscience, or moral self-consciousness, is the unifying thread in both writers and gives a powerful centrality to their work, belying the common claims, even by the writers themselves, of a lack of system in their thinking. Coleridge’s canon is famous for being inchoate, in appearance at least, and much of Newman’s is “occasional writing”in the sense that he wrote“to calls.” However, by severely limiting his focus, Rule is able to show us consistency of vision in both writers and a parallelism of purpose that is surprising and thought-provoking when Coleridge’s views of “reflection,”the“philosophical mind,”and,ultimately,“spiritual religion”are examined in relation to Newman’s concepts of “conscience” and the “illative sense.” Using a “structural approach” that emphasizes continuity and development of the idea of conscience, Rule has little concern for well-worn lines of argument such as Thomas McFarland’s claim,amusingly rebutted in the introduction,that Coleridge can only be understood within a broad philosophical tradition. Likewise, Rule has little interest in further inconclusive speculations on Coleridge’s precise influence on Newman, which he assumes is considerable, given the latter’s enigmatic references to his great predecessor. Rule’s argument is limited but not confining, because his chief methodological tool is the cognitional theory of Bernard Lonergan,which he uses...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 106-110
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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