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Faith and Reason in Newman’s University Sermons

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Chapter Summary

John Henry Newman found writing a protracted and sometimes agonizing ordeal but at the same time believed rightly that his patient and scrupulous scholarship earned him influence. The relationship between virtue and knowledge concerned Newman his entire adult life. He reflected on the mutual reinforcement of learning, faith, and righteousness in one of his earliest sermons as an Anglican priest. University sermons had been an integral part of Oxford life since the twelfth century and a tangled thicket of rules assigned the pulpit for these frequent occasions. They offered Newman an ideal forum for elaborating his epistemology because, unlike in a regular parish service, the congregation was exclusively academic. His goal was not simply to lay out the propositions of "paper logic" but to develop a practical theory of how men, with their flesh- and- blood spiritual yearnings, acquire understanding.

Keywords: Christianity; John Henry Newman; philosophy; University Sermons; virtue



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