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The passionate pilgrim,
This review is from: Newman and His Age (Paperback)
Recent news reports suggest that John Henry Newman will shortly become a beatus, the first step on the road to being recognised as a saint. It is therefore timely that all with an interest in him should read this book which gives an account of his career.
Beginning in a middle class commercial family he is converted to Evangelicalism, but at Oxford he becomes an Anglo-Catholic until his study of Church History and the very traditionally Protestant attitude of the Anglican Bishops, of High Church persuasion, leads to him joining the Catholic Church.
There his reception as a very independent intellectual is somewhat mixed and his opposition to ultramontanism leads to suspicion by some of his new co-religionists which is only dispelled in his old age when Leo XIII makes him a cardinal.
His writings were extensive, including his spiritual and intellectual autobiography the "Apologia Pro Vita Sua", his poetic "Dream of Gerontius",his "Idea of a University", his "Essay in the Development of Doctrine", his "Grammar of Assent". and sermons, letters, and publications of all kinds.
Dr Gilley provides us with an eloquent and solid biography which sets Newman's thought against the theological, ecclesiastical, and political background of his times. He examines Newman as an exponent of Evangelical Protestantism, redefined Anglicanism, and of Catholicism, as well as being a lifelong foe of liberalism. He brings alive Oxford in the 1830's and 40's, and illuminates the transition from church to church . There is much on conflicts within the Catholic Church and a eloquent and moving account of Newman's last years.
A former member of the Durham University Theological Department, who as an Anglican signed a letter protesting against the consecration of Dr Jenkins as Bishop of Durham, Dr Gilley, who wrote this book as a member of the Anglican Church has since joined that of Newman. It is a very scholarly work, with admirable references to sources, theologically well informed, beautifully written ,and is quite absorbing to read.