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Doctrinal Development and the Demons of History: The Historiography of John Henry Newman

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In response to the emergence of historicism in nineteenth-century intellectual life, John Henry Newman sought to reintroduce typological or "mystical interpretation" into the discourse of his time. Through "vertical" (i.e., typological) and "horizontal" historiography, Newman believed he could reintegrate the practice of historical narrative standard in modern history with a variety of transhistorical and spatial hermeneutic models that gave one a vision of the archetypes present in different temporal periods. Early in his career, he formulated these archetypes in terms of "demons" present in different social forces. In his Arians of the Fourth Century, he formulated a typology between the ancient Alexandrian Church and the modern Anglican. After he determined this model was indefensible, he accepted the Catholic Church as the manifest archetype (the "Church of History") in light of which all other historical forces (revolutions or heresies) and figures (state and sectarian) could be interpreted and judged. Newman's historiography recuperates for the Church the spiritual exegesis that subtends its doctrine, but it also anticipates and indeed influences the historical theories that subtend the major works of modernist literature, most prominently Joyce's Ulysses.

Affiliations: 1: University of Notre Dame


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