Newman and Heresy: The Anglican Years
The author of this book describes an important aspect of the young John Henry Newman at Oxford: the close relationship between the historical researches of his study, and the teeming world of early 19th century controversy. The setting Dr Thomas describes is Oxford between the 1820s and the 1840s, when Newman made his ambitious and doomed attempt to re-invent the catholicity of the Church of England, and where party-grouping, enmity, and friendship were inextricably meshed in the intense world of nascent tractarianism. The author shows that in Newman's battle against the Protestant wing of the Church of England, and the (to him) even more sinister liberals, he saw parallels with the struggle of the early Church against heresy. Newman's rediscovery of ancient Patristic writers and heretics was thus part of a strategy to revive Catholicism within the Anglican Church, where the past was read in light of the present, and the present in light of the past. Thomas shows how Newman's eventual conversion to Rome in 1845 may be understood as a change in his perception of heresy, and a realisation of the applicability of his own polemic to his Anglican self.
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