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NEWMAN STUDIES JOURNAL ____________________________________________________________________ BOOK REVIEW Le temps découvert. Développement et durée chez Newman et Bergson. By Grégory Solari. Paris. Les Éditions du Cerf, 2014. Pages: 204. Softcover, 24 euros, ISBV 9782 -204-10084-7 CHARLES TALAR ____________________________________________________________________ In the course of his long philosophical itinerary Henri Bergson (1859 – 1941) conducted a sustained analysis of the nature and role of reason. A comparatively neglected philosophical figure today, in his own time he was the premier intellectual spokesman of his era, especially after the publication of Creative Evolution (1907), the book which established his world reputation. Bergson was aware of Newman’s work. In 1907 he observed to Jacques Chevalier that Newman’s thought was more timely than it had ever been. However, it is difficult to state with any precision the nature and extent of Bergson’s knowledge of that thought. His mastery of English was such that he was capable of reading Newman without relying on translations, but there is no explicit reference to his having done so. In 1914 his nephew, Floris Delattre, sent him a bilingual anthology of Newman texts that Delattre had published, but there is no substantive discussion of it, or even indication that Bergson had read it. True, a number of French figures who were notably influenced by/active propagators of the “nouvelle philosophie” of Bergson—Chevalier, Edouard Le Roy, Jean Guitton—all were manifestly interested in Newman (a 1926 lecture by Chevalier on “Newman and the Notion of Development” forms an appendix to this volume). But any discussions they may have had with Bergson regarding Newman must remain in the realm of speculation. Solari’s study, then, is not an attempt to trace lines of influence of Newman’s thought upon that of Bergson. Nor is it a classic comparative study of the two thinkers. Rather, S. argues for a “connaturality” between Newman and Bergson, evident in affinities between the notional and the real that reside at the core of Newman’s thought, and those of intuition and intelligence central to Bergson’s. Such fundamental affinities enable S. to draw upon Bergson’s analysis of time to explore the temporal dimension of the Essay on Development in ways that remain unthought by Newman, whose primary concerns there were historical and theological. ___________________________________ Charles Talar is Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston Texas. 112 BOOK REVIEW Reciprocally, S. is able to argue for an undeveloped potential in Bergson’s philosophy, latent but discernible, that, with the aid of Newman’s appreciation of the connection between doctrines and life, can actualize that potential. In an introduction S. lays the foundations for his contention of affinity between the two men and proposes that the notion of development that Newman disengaged from his study of history resembles that of “duration” which Bergson intuited from his study of Zeno’s paradoxes. Ch. 1 begins the task of “clarifying the Newmanian notion of development in light of Bergsonian duration” (39), raising focal concerns in the Essay and making suggestive connections with those of Bergson and the Bergsonians mentioned earlier, who developed his thought in France. Chapter 2 develops those connections. For example, Bergson had challenged the habitual way of regarding time as a series of successive states that represented it as a linear narrative of past, present, and future. An immediate consciousness of time as duration reconfigures it as a continuous flow, a temporal synthesis analogous to a melody. With Newman, “if there is real change between a non-defined belief and a defined belief, the latter must be thought of not as a passage from one state to another, but as the moment in a continuous process, or again as its condition of visibility, as time is the condition of the expression of duration” (98). While in Ch. 2 Bergsonian duration is used to bring clarification to certain difficulties posed by Newman’s development, in Ch. 3 Newman’s appreciation of dogma is drawn upon to correct Bergson’s. Bergson approached dogma from the outside, and thus its conceptual aspect was paramount. Early on, in his 1816 conversion, Newman recognized dogma at the interior of religion, in intimate connection with...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2153-6945
Print ISSN
1547-9080
Pages
pp. 112-114
Launched on MUSE
2020-01-22
Open Access
No
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