Newman and the Alexandrian Fathers
Shaping Doctrine in Nineteenth-Century England
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 308
Width: 14.2 cm
Height: 22.3 cm
John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman is generally known to have been devoted to reading the Church Fathers. In this volume, Benjamin King draws on archive as well as published material to explore how Newman interpreted specific Fathers at different periods of his life. King draws connections between the Alexandrian Fathers Newman was reading and the development of his thought. This analysis shows that it was events in Newman's life that changed his interpretation of the Fathers, not the interpretation of the Fathers that caused Newman to change his life. King argues that Newman tailored his reading, 'trying on' the ideas of different Fathers to fit his own needs. An innovative comparison of Newman's two translations of Athanasius of Alexandria, from 1842-44 and 1881, demonstrates that by 1881 the Cardinal was swayed by the theology favored by Pope Leo XIII. King reveals that although Newman was a controversial figure in his own day, eventually his view of the Fathers and their doctrines came to be accepted by many scholars. This new exploration of his work, however, shows that the Cardinal's interpretation of the Fathers should still be controversial today.
King has done this area of Newman scholarship a real service. His book will be indispensable for future students who want to investigate these matters. His attention to detail is formidable. Roderick Strange, The Catholic Historical Review King accomplishes what historians of theology often only attempt: he makes discoveries by patient textual collation, locates them deftly in various biographical and institutional contexts, then draws from them new light on persistent theological questions. Mark Jordan, Anglican Theological Review King's impressive, thoughtful, and erudite monograph offers a persuasive case for why we who claim to speak on behalf of the Victorians might want to explore further what the history of theology has to offer. Mark Knight, Victorian Studies King's basic thesis is that Newman's interpretation of the Alexandrian Fathers can be seen to mirror exactly his changing understanding of doctrine (and not vice versa). His argument is subtle and on a number of levels, but to anyone interested in the nuances of early Trnitarian theology or the complex history of nineteenth century doctrine it will amply repay careful attention. S. J. G. Burton, The Expository Times 121:9 Read and be amazed Aidan Nichols OP, New Blackfriars It [this book] is to be welcomed, as it brings to the fore an important and under-appreciated area of Newman, an area that many who read Newman find least comfortable. Thomas O'Loughlin, Irish Theological Quarterly Benjamin King has entered the company of a small number of recent scholars determined that the life and thought of John Henry Newman will be addressed through critical scholarship rather than hagiography. Frank Turner, Journal of Ecclesiastical History A complex and detailed study on Newman and the Alexandrians that manages to be well situated in the patristic scholarship of Newman's new age, while it offers resonances pertinent to our own. Lawrence S. Cunningham, Theological Studies. A substantive study of... how Newman reread the Fathers in his Catholic days Lawrence S. Cunningham, Theological Studies King has done a careful and impressive job of documenting how Newman's revised translations of Athanasius in the 1870s reflect his desire to square the Alexandrian patriarch with later, Latin orthodoxy of a peculiarly neo-Thomist flavor Charles Stang, Journal of Early Christian Studies The Rev. Benjamin King... has in is first book listened to Newman's voice with meticulous care, and so has given us crucial tools to hear the old cardinal with fresh ears. His book... is carefully argued and closely researched examination of how Newman's reading of patristic sources changed throughout his career, showing both how his reading of the fathers changed his life as well as how events in his life changed the way he read the fathers. Jordan Hylden, The Living Church Foundation