John Henry Newman (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
August 11, 1990, marks the centennial of John Henry Newman’s death; on February 21, 2001, the bicentennial of his birth will occur. Ian Ker’s immense new biography of this great Anglican and Roman Catholic will surely serve to honor and inform both occasions. So meticulous is Ker’s research and so detailed his portrait that it is hard to imagine anyone attempting a life of Newman for another generation. Indeed, one wonders if there will be anything left unsaid about Newman once Ker is finished. The Roman Catholic chaplain at the University of Oxford, Ker has produced or collaborated on new editions of major works by Newman, has edited an anthology of his writings, and has done as much as any single scholar to commemorate his achievements.
It is not only anniversary celebrations that justify renewed interest in Newman, however, and it may just be that Ker’s efforts—rather than culminating a scholarly process—will actually add to one already under way. Many of the conditions which provoked Newman, John Keble, Edward Pusey, Richard Hurrell Froude, and the members of Newman’s Anglo- Catholic movement of the 1830’s are vividly present in contemporary Western culture, and while as yet no new “Tracts for the Times” have appeared, a theological literature that is distinctly Tractarian has emerged in the 1980’s. Partly inspired by George A. Lindbeck’s seminal The Nature of Doctrine: Religion and Theology in a Postliberal Age...
(The entire section is 2085 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1990)
The Economist. CCCIII, April 1, 1989, p.81.
The Guardian. January 27, 1989, p.27.
History Today. XXXIX, July, 1989, p.51.
London Review of Books. February 16, 1989, p.13.
The Observer. February 5, 1989, p. 42.
The Spectator. CCLXII, January 28, 1989, p.27.
The Times Literary Supplement. March 10, 1989, p.242.
(The entire section is 35 words.)