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85 REVIEW ESSAY: A COMPANION FOR NEWMAN STUDIES rEviEw ESSay: a COmpaNiON fOr NEwmaN STudiES The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman. Edited by Ian Ker and Terrence Merrigan. Cambridge Companions to Religion. Cambridge University Press, 2010. Pages: xvii + 280. Paper: ISBN 978–0–521–69272–4. $30.99/£17.99. Hardback: ISBN 978–0–521–87186–0. $90.00/£45.00. This collection of thirteen essays opens with Sheridan Gilley’s overview of Newman’s “life and writings,” which provides an historical backdrop to the more detailed discussion of the theological themes treated in the subsequent chapters. A few of Gilley’s interpretations, however, are questionable: first, in regard to ecumenism, although Newman may not have been “the supreme reconciler” (13), he did show himself willing to enter into ecumenical dialogue in an era when partisanship and polemics were much more common than ecumenical friendships— such as those that Newman as Roman Catholic maintained with a number of his Anglican colleagues;unfortunately,while ecumenism is mentioned in passing,it is not among the major topics of this volume. Second, it seems overly generous to Cardinal Manning to state that he supported the efforts of the Duke of Norfolk to obtain the cardinalate for Newman (23); Manning’s support seems to have come only after he realized that Newman’s appointment was inevitable. Third, describing Newman’s Grammar of Assent (1870) as his“last major independent work”(26) seems to ignore the ecclesiological significance of his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk (1875).1 The first thematic essay, written by Brian Daley, points out that Newman’s study of “The Church Fathers” was motivated by his desire to present “a fresh and lively picture of early Christianity, one that would totally engage both the heart and the mind of sympathetic readers” (34); however, Newman’s patristic studies presented him with a problem:“How can one see in the early Church a model for contemporary Christianity,if the classical dogmas acknowledged by modern Christians are often still obscure or even missing in the more ‘primitive’ Patristic works of the second and third centuries?” (34–35); ironically, “other doctrines which Anglicans and other Reformation Churches rejected, as not forming part of the Apostolic teaching. . . are. . . commonly affirmed by the Church of the first four centuries in both East and West” (37). Not only did Newman discover “the reality of historical development in the Church by reading the Fathers” (38), reading the Fathers eventually led him into the Roman Catholic Church. The first theological theme treated in this collection is appropriately “revelation”—the heart of every theology. Terrence Merrigan’s insightful essay begins by treating the relationship between revelation and“natural religion.” Playing off the 1 A couple of minor mistakes need correction: Charles Kingsley’s infamous slur appeared in the January 1864 (not the December 1863) issue of Macmillan’s Magazine—which Newman received at the end of December 1863 (21); in addition to the “thirty-one volumes” of Newman’s Letters and Diaries (26), a supplementary thirty-second volume has been published. Cartesian adage—cogito ergo sum (“I think, therefore I am”)—Merrigan depicts Newman as arguing—conscientiam habeo, ergo sum (“I have a conscience, therefore I am”)—a position that eventually led Newman to argue in his Grammar of Assent (Chapter 5, § 1) that “in the experience of conscience the subject apprehends not only itself, but itself as subject in relation to God” (49)—thus: conscientiam habeo, ergo Deus est (“I have a conscience, therefore God exists”). This link between conscience and God effectively “explains Newman’s oft-cited remark that, for him, there were ‘two and two only absolute and luminously selfevident beings, myself and my Creator’” (50). Accordingly, the “naturally religious person is,as it were,‘on the lookout for God’”(55). For Newman of course,the locus of revelation is Christianity, which provides “a definite message from God” (56) that is “communicated through human signs, words, and events” (57). On the one hand, this message needs to be codified in dogmatic statements;on the other hand,in order to preserve the integrity of the message, an official codifier—“a supreme authority ruling and reconciling individual judgments by...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 85-90
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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