Apologia Pro Vita Sua (A Defense of One's Life)
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...more
Gaitley says that Newman, is a very personal author. By contrast, Thomas Aquina ...more
The hasty mspaint meme above is a rough approximation of the perception Cardinal Newman was trying to disabuse the British population of, indeed if you wanted an accurate but dull modern title for the work it would be "Why I am totally not a Catholic shill"[SPOILER ALERT - he wasn't]. A bit of context here even if it can be hard to believe given its contemporary place in British society, the Anglican-Catholic divide was still fairly serious at the time of Newman's life. Indeed for about the firs ...more
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 ...more
This was my "boss level" before walking the Canterbury Trail and hitching my wagon to the Anglican Communion.
It's my duty, no doubt, to write at length on the Apologia in the near future, but for now suffice it to say I was hugely underwhelmed. What has been hailed as one of the great confessional documents of Christian history, has even been compared with Augustine's Confessions, reads more as a tedious remembrance of things past, with long citations of correspondence and a whole lot of ...more
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 ...more
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
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
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
Those few passages I did understand were beautifully written, however.
I think it’s great to understand the history of his thoughts during his moving from the Anglican Church to the true one — the Catholic Church!
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