Apologia Pro Vita Sua
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Apologia Pro Vita Sua

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  388 ratings  ·  40 reviews
The present edition stresses the literary, humanistic, and religious power of the Apologia, Newman's personal development, and the progress of the Oxford Movement. Students will be able to place the Apologia in its proper intellectual context by examining it alongside other important documents from the Newman-Kingsley controversy included in this volume: correspondence: Ki...more
Published July 17th 1968 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1864)
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Pater Edmund

John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua is generally considered not only a great work of theology, but also one of the great classics of English literature. Often compared to Augustine’s Confessions, one of the first reviews (included in this Norton Critical Edition) goes so far as to call it “a far deeper revelation, and a far greater moral achievement” than even the Confessions. Even the Bloomsbury critic Lytton Strachey, who was not only vociferously opposed to Newman’s theology, but was al

The word that came to mind while reading Apologia was: plodding. And that's okay. Newman's account of the seismic shift in his thinking that led eventually to reception into the Roman Catholic Church is not a fast read, nor a particularly enjoyable read. It is Newman as a Catholic, re-tracing the steps that brought him into the Catholic fold from the embrace of his mother English church. It is also a defense so he is addressing specific questions and concerns that might not at first be evident t...more
I was surprised by this book. Often it is mentioned as one of the great classics of spirituality; often it is compared to Augustine's Confessions.

But it is not a spiritual work in that sense. It is not intended to edify. It is, simply, a record of Newman's changing beliefs which led by a fairly direct route to Catholicism. It is a justification of his conversion as intellectually honest. It is not apologetic, as he is not primarily concerned with giving arguments, and those which appear are inc...more
Though it can seem tedious at times, this is a work worth persevering through. It is entirely contemporary to modern difficulties with faith and reason. But I defer to Pater Edmund's excellent review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

Dense but rewarding and elegantly written. I almost filed this on my "Religion" shelf, but although John Henry Newman was a famously religious man, to understand his spiritual odyssey, you have to look at his whole biography.
Hated it in 1988, but I think I'd like it now. High ranking 19th Century Anglican clergyman decides to become a Catholic, explains why.
Jon Wilson
Glosses over some of his real motivations, but that is understandable with as many positions as the author took in his long illustrious life. Newman is always so numinous and intuitive in argument, and I am surprised how easily he bears me along in his writing. I wish he had stopped at the door and remained an Anglo-Catholic, since I think his strong personality could have kept Anglicanism from years of struggle. But if he had, then there would have been no Vatican II (which I guess some conserv...more
Bernard Norcott-mahany
Apologia pro Vita Sua by John Henry Cardinal Newman
I'll be spending 2013 reading biographical materials: autobiographies, biographies, diaries and letters. Over the course of the next twelve months, I'll be reading and discussing three items in each of those four categories. It isn't just that the people who are the focus are important, and that their stories are fascinating, but biographical material itself poses its own questions – how is the life of a real person constructed in narrative? Wha...more
Kevin de Ataíde
Extraordinary and detailed autobiography, describing Blessed Newman's battle with his self, as he left his beloved Anglican Church for the Roman Church. With a great sigh, I come to 1845 and the writing of the treatise on the development of doctrine, when the great man finally felt that both reason and conscience beckoned him towards Rome. The language is excellent; I had some trouble with it until I got through a book of Dickens, whereupon it was suddenly easy to read Victorian prose. It's odd...more
Newman's classic account of his conversion from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism was eloquently written and enlightening. Like Abraham Kuyper, he was concerned with the Modernistic principles in the culture of his day, and with the growing Liberalism in the church. While Kuyper found a firm foundation in the principles of Calvinism, Newman turned to the principles of Roman Catholicism. His arguments concerning Tradition are powerful and appealing. Both Protestants and Roman Catholics will find m...more
Susan Barsy
I read this as a young Episcopalian looking to understand more about the history of Anglican church and its relation to Catholicism. Newman's book is a powerful recounting of his passionate intellectual and spiritual involvement with Anglicanism, an involvement that first led him into an ardent defense and justification of the church and then ultimately away from it toward a wholehearted embrace of the Catholic creed.

This book is at the same time a fascinating time-capsule, documenting the spiri...more
Nicole Gervasio
Unless you get really titillated by ecclesiastical life-writing or you're absolutely desperate for yet another possible venue for helping you recover your lost faith in a Christian God, there really is no reason to subject yourself to this 400-page homily.

Most of the book consists of Newman defending himself and his conversion from Anglicanism to Catholicism (which I guess was totally radical at the time, but now seems like practically a baby step between religious identifications). His defense...more
Andrew Stout
This is a wonderful account of Newman's involvement in the Oxford movement and his conversion to the Catholic Church. His reflections on the nature of the church and on ethical issues such as lying and deceit are fascinating. It seems that many of his pre-conversion views on what it means to read the 39 Articles in light of broader catholic commitments are still extremely relevant, and parallel some of the discussions that I hear taking place in conservative Reformed circles regarding the way th...more
Made it through his conversion to Rome.
Fascinating picture of England, Oxford, the Anglican church in the mid-nineteenth century
I was struck by how an idealistic romanticism seemed to drive Newman, both consciously and unconsciously, in his religious movement towards Rome. There are places of truly beautiful writing to savor throughout, and I can see why this is considered a classic of Christian memoir. Finally, and this has been said before, but the narrative is an argument that Anglo-Catholic...more
Liam Guilar
Rating Newman's careful explanation or his withering scorn would be a strange activity, so the five stars are for the edition, which provides enough background information and editorial apparatus without getting in the way of Newman's prose. Which is a delight to read.
Richard Biebel
Its not casual new-age fluff. It's a first hard to read. One must pursue its message through the mist of a hard to understand insiders account of 19th Century religious controversy as the context for Newman's path to conversion. If one perseveres, one emerges into the light of Newman's insights brightened by the account of his experience. A second reading produced even deeper insights as I re-explored a more familiar spiritual and intellectual landscape,
It's dense, but I enjoyed it. There are some gems in there.

Bl. Newman's integrity is admirable and his ability to think and express himself logically is remarkable. His prose is beautiful, if long.

I learned quite a bit about Anglican theology and the Anglican predicaments in the mid-19th century. It's fascinating to compare it with what is happening today in the Anglican Church.

Overall, a good read! Glad I picked it up!
Boy, did I not really get much out of this book. I was a bit curious, having also been one who sort of unexpectedly went Catholic one day, to some persons' surprise. To me the book is just rather locked in its timely position in 19th century English church life, and more universal aspects of faith and religion were passed aside. Fine, okay, no one says an autobiography has to be generational, but I expected more by this book's repuation.
Declan Huerta
No se trata ya del libro en sí mismo, si no de su influencia posterior. Este libro ha fundado toda una corriente de ser Iglesia, es adelantado a su tiempo. Pocas veces se ha explicado de forma tan lúcida un proceso de conversión y de fidelidad a la verdad, de lucha por vivir en la verdad. Eso sí, hay que saber un poco el contexto histórico y costumbrista de la época o estas perdido.
Robert D. Cornwall
John Henry Newman was an important figure in the origins of the Oxford Movement -- and then a leader in British Catholicism. In this book he attempts a defense of his movement into the Catholic Church. His departure the result of liberal inroads in the Anglican Church. It's a bit repetitive and tendentious, but an important document in the history of English Christianity.
Adam DeVille, Ph.D.
As I've long told friends of mine, read this book for the staggering beauty of Newman's prose even if you cannot follow his theological reasoning into the safe "harbour" (to use his metaphor) of Rome. A magnificent testimony to the grandeur of 19th-century English letters.
a book dense with ideas and written in an older style that somewhat handicaps, or slows down, the modern reader. but still in all: real jewels found therein. recommended only to those who desire to examine church history; cardinal newman is a worthy spokesperson for his time.
Just bought a 1931 edition, hardcover, for $1.00 and started reading it last night. It is fascinating to read this in our times.
Guy Parker
Newman's conversion is breathtaking to read...highly recommended for those in the winds of which path to choose in a schismatic 21st Protestant hurricane...for the thinker who wants to remain in God.
Joshua Watson
Very much enjoyed this book. Cdnl. John Henry Newman is an interesting character to me. And this gave me more insight into his life and how he came to swim the Tiber and become a full Catholic.
James Smith
A tad tedious at times, this is nonetheless a classic of Western theology. Newman's account of the "Anti-dogmatic Principle" as the essence of liberalism remains directly relevant today.
Some background on Cardinal Newman helps a lot when reading this book, but it is very interesting and is helpful for understanding how exactly the ideas of a person can change.
Interesting, albeit dense and demanding a good deal of contextual knowledge. Sheds light on a lot of the ways in which modern Anglicans frame theological debates with Catholics.
Ke Huang
As an aspiring academic, I found it intriguing the part about the academia politics, but I have to confess that Augustine's confessions were much more interesting.
Long and tedious ... he is well-spoken and a laberyth of a personality ... and it was interesting to try and enter the world of oxford dons and high church debate.
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The Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, C.O. was an Anglican convert to Roman Catholicism, later made a cardinal, and in 1991 proclaimed 'Venerable'. In early life he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic. Both before and after his conversion he wrote a number o...more
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“Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate.” 4 likes
“Mr Kingsley begins then by exclaiming- 'O the chicanery, the wholesale fraud, the vile hypocrisy, the conscience-killing tyranny of Rome! We have not far to seek for an evidence of it. There's Father Newman to wit: one living specimen is worth a hundred dead ones. He, a Priest writing of Priests, tells us that lying is never any harm.'
I interpose: 'You are taking a most extraordinary liberty with my name. If I have said this, tell me when and where.'
Mr Kingsley replies: 'You said it, Reverend Sir, in a Sermon which you preached, when a Protestant, as Vicar of St Mary's, and published in 1844; and I could read you a very salutary lecture on the effects which that Sermon had at the time on my own opinion of you.'
I make answer: 'Oh...NOT, it seems, as a Priest speaking of Priests-but let us have the passage.'
Mr Kingsley relaxes: 'Do you know, I like your TONE. From your TONE I rejoice, greatly rejoice, to be able to believe that you did not mean what you said.'
I rejoin: 'MEAN it! I maintain I never SAID it, whether as a Protestant or as a Catholic.'
Mr Kingsley replies: 'I waive that point.'
I object: 'Is it possible! What? waive the main question! I either said it or I didn't. You have made a monstrous charge against me; direct, distinct, public. You are bound to prove it as directly, as distinctly, as publicly-or to own you can't.'
'Well,' says Mr Kingsley, 'if you are quite sure you did not say it, I'll take your word for it; I really will.'
My WORD! I am dumb. Somehow I thought that it was my WORD that happened to be on trial. The WORD of a Professor of lying, that he does not lie!
But Mr Kingsley reassures me: 'We are both gentlemen,' he says: 'I have done as much as one English gentleman can expect from another.'
I begin to see: he thought me a gentleman at the very time he said I taught lying on system...”
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