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Title: The search for continuity in the face of change in the Anglican writings of John Henry Newman
Author: Morgan, Stephen
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This dissertation provides an analysis of the attempts by John Henry Newman to account for the historical reality of doctrinal change within Christianity in the light of his lasting conviction that the idea of Christianity is fixed by reference to the dogmatic content of the deposit of faith. The existing literature on Newman is enormous and wide-ranging but this present work fills a notable gap by treating Newman at any particular point in the account as a person with an open future, where his present acts are not determined by later events, and where any apologetic intent has to be identified and accounted for by reference to the immediate matter under consideration and the contemporaneous evidence. The argument of the thesis is that Newman proposed a series of hypotheses to account for the apparent contradiction between change and continuity, that this series begins much earlier than is generally recognised and that the final hypothesis he was to propose, contained in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, (‘Essay’), provided a methodology of lasting theological value. The introduction establishes the centrality of the problem of change and continuity to Newman's theological work as an Anglican, its part in his conversion to Roman Catholicism and its contemporary relevance to Roman Catholic theology. It also surveys the major secondary literature relating to the question, with particular reference to those works published within the last fifty years. In the first main chapter, covering the period to the publication of his first major work, The Arians of the Fourth Century, in 1833, Newman's earliest awareness of the problem and first attempts to solve it are considered. The growing confidence of Newman's Tractarian period and his development of the notion of the Via Media form the second chapter and the collapse of that confidence, the subject matter of the third. The fourth chapter is concerned with the emergence of the theory of development and the writing and content of the Essay. The conclusion considers the legacy of the Essay as a tool in Newman’s theology and in the work of later theologians, finally suggesting that it may offer a useful methodological contribution to the contemporary Roman Catholic debate about hermeneutical approaches to the Second Vatican Council.
Supervisor: Chapman, Mark Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Modern Britain and Europe ; Intellectual History ; Theology and Religion ; Church history ; Modern theology ; Newman ; Doctrine ; Development ; Dogma ; Catholic ; Roman Catholic ; Anglican ; Vatican II