NEWMAN AND HIS WORLD by Christopher Hollis


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History has a strange way of turning its conservative heroes into liberal ones in much the same manner it affects the opposite (and more common) transformation. Cardinal Newman, whose extraordinary longevity spanned almost the entire nineteenth century, is a case in point. He began as a Protestant reformer, instituting the Oxford Movement and the so-called Tracls for the Times, a series of papers on theological and liturgical subjects opposing Latitudinarianism and seeking a return to much of the ritual the Church of England dispensed with at the beginning of the Reformation. Later, in the most famous and dramatic conversion of his age, Newman entered the Catholic Church, was ordained as a priest in 1846 and was made a cardinal in 1879. The purpose of Christopher Hollis' excellent study is not only to establish Newman's relevance today, but also demonstrate how the man's great works, Grammar of Assent, The Idea of a University, and the Apologia, are the primary intellectual fodder behind the recent Second Vatican Council. In doing so Hollis accents the progressive or prophetic side of Newman, a side which was never, particularly clear while he lived and caused considerable controversy in both domains, re the Protestant Kingsley and the Catholic Manning. Although Newman's portrait here is rather dry and colorless, his beliefs and career are always amply and quite shrewdly appraised.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1967
Publisher: Doubleday