GOD AND MYSELF by Hilda Graef


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At first glance, it seems paradoxical that, along with the relaxation of traditional moral restrictions, there is today a resurgence of interest in and respect for Newman who was, by modern lights, a severe moralist. The fact of the matter is, however, that Newman was far ahead of his time in that he recognized and published the fact that doctrine, and therefore moral standards, to a large extent reflected--and moreover should reflect--the social, emotional and intellectual needs of their time. Hence, there is a basic sympathy between the Victorian divine and the modern proponent of ""situation ethics."" One aspect of Newman's thought on which hardly anything has been written, however, is that of his spirituality--i.e., the practical applications of his speculative theological thought. This new book by Miss Graef corrects that omission in large part by this ""spiritual biography"" of Newman, drawn from sources scattered through the many volumes of Newman's sermons, educational and philosophical works, diaries, notes, etc., which delineates a spiritual life based, on one hand, on the evidence of conscience, and, on the other, on the acceptance of converging probabilities. Unfortunately, Miss Graef's style is not the equal either of her erudition or of the complexity of her subject, and her book is studded with non-sequiturs, personal interjections, ambiguities, and rhetorical pecularities. The overall effect, despite the stimulating nature of the subject, is one of unrelieved dullness, of didacticism, and of heavy-handed, although quite unintentional, pedantry.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1967
Publisher: Hawthorn