The Thought of John Henry Newman
Jules van Schaijik
519 N. High St., West Chester, PA
Tuesdays between 8 and 10 pm
The recently beatified John Henry Cardinal Newman, 1801-1889, is considered by many to be the most important Catholic thinker of the modern period and a pioneer in Christian Personalism. His insights on conscience, the individuality of the person, on reasoning, friendship, the dignity of the laity, and so on, anticipated and paved the way for the developments of 20th century Catholic thought. This course is an introduction to his life, writings, and major themes.
More about the class
While drawing from many of Newman's religious writings, including the Apologia Pro Vita Sua and Parochial and Plain Sermons, the course will center on four of Newman's most important and enduring philosophical works:
- Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford (sermons 10-15)
- The Idea of a University (discourses 1-9)
- An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent (chapters 3-5; 8-10)
- An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (chapters 1, sect. 1; 2 & 5)
(Don't want to buy the books? All of Newman's works can be found online at www.newmanreader.org.)
The course is for personal enrichment, not academic credit. There will be no tests, papers or grades. The readings are optional, But the course will be much more valuable to those who can manage it. After all, it is Newman we are dealing with. Not just a giant among thinkers, but a master of the English language as well. (George Eliot memorized entire sermons of his, just for their beauty.)
Participate online or in person
Classes will be held at our home in West Chester, between 8:00 and 9:30 pm on the dates listed above. Each lecture will be recorded and posted online a day or so later for those who can't come in person. Enrolled students can listen to these lectures, and participate in an online discussion about them. (They can also contact me via email, of course.)
Want to get a head start?
If you would like to dive into the subject right away, I highly recommend Ian Kerr's John Henry Newman: A Biography. It is a large book, but very well written, often using Newman's own words, and it discusses Newman's thought as well as his history. Newman's sermons are another excellent place to start. O'Connel has a good selection here, and Copeland has one here.