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Oratory School, was published in 2005. Recently his The Making of Men: Idea and Reality of Newman’s University in Oxford and Dublin has appeared (2014). John T. Ford’s recent article, ‘‘John Henry Newman: Conversion as Inference,’’ Newman Studies (Spring 2013), also comes to mind. The author’s thesis about the reduction of reason to scientific reason is an accurate one that explains in part the impoverishment of 20th-century university education. At times the ideas presented sound repetitive, but the current state of affairs bears repeating the thesis, and the author does so from different perspectives . In addition to the clear explanation of the thesis and arguments in its favor, Rupert makes a very good contribution to the subject with her treatment in chapter 5 of Newman’s harmony between intellect and prayer: reason and holiness. Both are necessary for the cultivation of the soul and for Christian humanism. John Henry Newman on the Nature of the Mind is a very good addition to the study of Newman’s epistemology from a literary point of view. Written in elegant prose, it is both enjoyable and accessible to most readers and of special interest to professors of religious literature and Newman scholars. Through her exposition the author invites the reader to appreciate the role of imagination in religious thinking and to pursue knowledge through a reading of the classics. She concludes with an invitation to the reader to exert in Newman’s footsteps a moral and spiritual personal influence on others. Rev. Juan R. Vélez Author of Passion for Truth, the Life of John Henry Newman Mary McCartin Wearn (ed.). Nineteenth-Century American Women Write Religion: Lived Theologies and Literature. Farnham, UK and Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2014. Pp. x + 190. $104.95. ISBN 97847210429 (hbk). This edited collection presents a rich and cohesive body of essays on the ways in which 19th-century North American religious thought impacted on, and was impacted by, female experience. The individual essays range across a variety of literary forms, genres, and authorial backgrounds, and are both accessible and scholarly, each carefully positioning the texts under focus within relevant social, literary, and theological contexts. Yet this is an unusually coherent collection which as a whole makes a distinctive contribution to general understandings of how religion functioned in women’s lives and writings during this period. Some clear themes emerge: religion’s empowering potential for women’s subjectivity and public role, despite the generally patriarchal tenor of religious culture; and women’s achievements in emphasizing religion’s social and material implications. Wearn’s strong introduction sets out the book’s overall ‘‘argument,’’ which aims to correct the common view that 19th-century women’s religion predominantly domesticated and sentimentalized the spiritual (e.g. Ann Douglas’s seminal 1977 Book Reviews 217 book The Feminization of American Culture), and to challenge secular feminist assumptions that religion was inherently disempowering to female selfhood. Wearn argues instead that women found in religion certain forms of empowerment (a claim that is well established in relation to British writers of the period by scholars such as Christine Krueger, Ruth Jenkins, and Julie Melnyk, but has not been made so forcefully in relation to North American writers). She also redresses the emphasis on faith as feeling in works by Douglas et al., arguing instead that women used both ‘‘heart and head’’ in spiritual matters, and were deeply concerned with faith’s practical and social impact. Wearn is keen to complicate the image of a homogenized religious culture, inviting recognition of the variety of women’s religious experiences and their political implications. The latter point is demonstrated by the volume’s inclusion of writers from a variety of denominational, educational, and racial backgrounds and, while the majority of the essays address Protestant traditions, some attention is given to Swedenborgian and Mormon writers. Wearn’s introduction is a persuasive positioning piece, and her emphasis on empowerment, reform, and intellectual engagement clearly helps to revise the image of women’s religion in the 19th century. The 10 essays bear out these themes, falling into three groups: three focus on women’s use of spiritual autobiography/memoir; four address the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2056-5666
Print ISSN
0148-3331
Pages
pp. 217-220
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-04
Open Access
No
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