Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Apologia pro Vita Sua” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Apologia pro Vita Sua
John Henry Newman
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Apologia pro Vita Sua

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  975 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
An influential Church of England vicar, John Henry Newman stunned the Anglican community in 1843, when he joined the Roman Catholic Church. Protestant clergyman Charles Kingsley launched the most scathing attacks against Newman and this was Newman's brilliant response. A spiritual autobiography, Apologia Pro Vita Sua explores the very depths and nature of Christianity.
Nook, 0 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Quality Classics (first published 1864)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Apologia pro Vita Sua, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Apologia pro Vita Sua

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
I finished it, sort of. I finished the main text, not all the appendices and I cannot say I understood all I read. But what I understood stretched me. Currently I am rereading The One Thing Is Three: How the Most Holy Trinity Explains Everything (for the 3rd time I think) by Fr. Michael Gaitley and since I was also reading Newman, what Gaitley had to say about him clicked this time. Before I had no frame of reference.

Gaitley says that Newman, is a very personal author. By contrast, Thomas Aquina
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

Jul 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
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
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Take a long, slow walk through this masterpiece.

Newman's autobiography is "the only one that bears mentioning in the same sentence with Augustine's Confessions". In this opinion of Father Oakes SJ I do concur. To enter into the Apologia (hereafter APVS) is to draw near to the heart of one of the greatest figures in literature and Christianity. One can share this opinion without necessarily sharing his religious convictions; much of what is in dispute during Newman's conversion from Anglicanism t
Andrew Corrie
I finished the actual Apologia, but have not read all of the appendices which shed light on aspects of the main work. Newman's sensitivity, his awareness and his insight is astonishing: things which to the ordinary soul would appear as mere trifles to his mind loom large. Not for him just sweeping things under the carpet.

I can't say I followed every twist and turn of the narrative - issues which, as suggested, are to my mind opaque, remain so - and his style is of that wordy Victorian kind whic
Joseph W.D. Nicolello
It appears as though the edition I picked up for a dollar is indeed abridged. Or perhaps not? Either way, I'll be revisiting this over the summer when my 600-page edition gets here from Gethsemani (Kentucky).
Dec 08, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Luke Langley
“A Defense of One's Life” is not a great work and I would not suggest it to anyone as a ‘must read’. However I don’t think the book is lacking because Newman is at fault, but because the book is misconstrued to be a classic when that isn’t what the author intended. Newman was obviously writing to specific people who thought the way he converted from Anglicanism to Catholicism was improper. He was wringing a defense (as stated in the title) to address specific accusations and not a true autobiogr ...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
Capítulo IV
"Acometer la redacción de una obra en defensa de la propia vida es una tarea compleja; en el caso de Newman, no se trataba de una autobiografía al uso, sino del relato de una crisis profunda que sacudió los cimientos de su conciencia y le condujo, finalmente, a abandonar sus creencias anglicanas y ser recibido en la Iglesia católica". Más en
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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:

Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Meg Hunter-Kilmer
I hate myself for saying this because I love Newman but this book was so caught up in minutiae and self-defense (think modern-day Nehemiah) that it was *very* difficult to get through. That said, Newman remains eminently quotable and he's got some real gems in here.
Nov 04, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most influential books I've ever read. Greatly affected me for years to come. An amazing man.
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
Alessandro Giuliani
In seguito all'accusa infamante di aver ritardato i tempi della sua conversione dall'anglicanesimo al cattolicesimo per aver modo di trascinare con sé altri proseliti, John Henry Newman ricostruisce il suo sofferto itinerario spirituale con una lucidità ed un'onestà intellettuale entusiasmanti. Ne emerge il ritratto di un uomo innamorato della verità, di uno straordinario paladino della coscienza. Da rileggere.
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many beautifully written proses and quotes. One of such is this "That the Catholic Church allowed no image of any sort, material or immaterial, no dogmatic symbol, no rite, no sacrament, no saint, not even the Blessed Virgin herself to come between the soul and its creator. It is face to face, Solus cum Solo and all matters between man and his God. He alone creates, he alone has redeemed. Before his awful eyes we go in death and the vision of Him is our eternal beatitude."
Gus Poh
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a brilliant work in many ways. The honesty and incisiveness of thought are powerful. Diction as beautiful and prose as elegant as Newman’s are probably not in fashion these days, but in my opinion should be made mandatory reading for (advanced) students of English.
Robert Terry
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listened to the audio version read by Greg Wagland. The prose style of JHN pushes this from 3 to 4 stars for me.
Maximilian Nightingale
Excellent book! Not for everyone, perhaps. More thoughts here:
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit dense in parts as Newman talks about contemporaries and controversies the modern reader isn't familiar with. Nevertheless there are some nifty passages.
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and superb exploration of John Henry Cardinal Newman's theological thought. A classic that has earned its reputation.
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Henry Newman’s explanation of his conversion from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Church is documented in his own words. Considered a classic in the mode of St. Augustine’s Confessions, the Apologia Pro Vita Sua is less lyrical, and less psychological than the work of Augustine. Newman writes with the purpose of refutation, rather than proclamation. As such, the words rarely ring, but are methodical and sometimes verbose as befits an English clergyman in the 19th century.

The words themsel
Daniel Swanger
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: seekers of truth and theology readers Christians
Recommended to Daniel by: book catalogue description
For all who want to discern truth and gain insights into theology, St John Newman's apologia is priceless. His detractor, Charles Kingsley (like Byron's Murray), will go down as ignominious for his calumny towards a churchman whose subtleties of thought were beyond him. England was known in the Age of Faith as Our Lady's Dowry; today we have unfortunate divisions in Christianity, especially since the Protestant Reformation. Newman sees a telescoping development of doctrine in revelation, which, ...more
Kevin de Ataíde
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
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
Oct 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zelo lepo napisana knjiga z zelo težkimi temami o prihodnosti vere in o težavah nacionalne cerkve, ki se ne ozira na svojo, četudi še tako davno, zgodovino.
Ker je pisec ne toliko komplicirana oseba kot človek uperjen v učenje svoje argumentacije, je vse zelo stopnjevito in metodično obrazloženo in pri tem subjektivno kot šolano vodeno predavanje o času v katerem anglikanci in rimokatoliki bijejo boj za duše in za svoj lastni smisel. Ker je pisec šolan anglikanec, ki je postal proti koncu življe
I hate to admit it, but I had a really hard time getting through this book just because Newman is so introspective & inwardly-directed. The point of the work was to explain the history of his own religious opinions, so the book's focus isn't unwarranted, but for me personally it made it a bit dull in places. I also found his prose not as compelling as expected, largely because he spends much of the book quoting excerpts from his own letters, or making numbered lists of items to address in se ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Summa of the Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica
  • Salt of the Earth: The Church at the End of the Millennium - An Interview With Peter Seewald
  • The Splendor of Truth: Encyclical Letter of John Paul II
  • The Great Heresies
  • The Ascent of Mount Carmel
  • Theology and Sanity
  • Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
  • The Autobiography of St. Ignatius
  • Journal of a Soul
  • Transformation in Christ
  • On Being Catholic
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • The Soul of The Apostolate
  • Death On A Friday Afternoon: Meditations On The Last Words Of Jesus From The Cross
  • The Way of Perfection
  • Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • The Spirit of Catholicism
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was an important figure in the religious history of England in the 19th century. He was known nationally by the mid-1830s.
Originally an evangelical Oxford University academic and priest in the Church of England, Newman then became drawn to the high-church tradition of Anglicanism. He became known as a leader of, and an able polemicist for, the Oxford Movement, an
More about John Henry Newman...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Death by Living: Life Is Meant to Be Spent
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Sometimes You Win--Sometimes You Learn: Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance
    $5.99 $1.99
  • The Long Tail: Why the Future Is Selling Less of More
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Quantum Healing (Revised and Updated): Exploring the Frontiers of Mind/Body Medicine
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Elephant Company: The Inspiring Story of an Unlikely Hero and the Animals Who Helped Him Save Lives in World War II
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Funny In Farsi: A Memoir Of Growing Up Iranian In America
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Case for Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Christianity
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France
    $8.49 $1.99
  • Bad Boy
    $7.74 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back
    $4.99 $1.99
  • All Over But the Shoutin'
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sous Chef: 24 Hours on the Line
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change
    $13.99 $1.99
  • WEIRD: Because Normal Isn't Working
    $6.99 $2.99
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness
    $5.99 $0.99
“Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate.” 10 likes
“Living movements do not come of committees, nor are great ideas worked out through the post, even though it had been the penny post.” 4 likes
More quotes…