Philosophy of Religion in Nineteenth-Century England and by S. A. M. Adshead (auth.)

By S. A. M. Adshead (auth.)

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If he did receive gifts of contemplation, he did not use them in his philosophy, which referred only to ordinary intellectual processes. Newman retained the eighteenth-century dislike, inherited by the Noetics, of enthusiasm. Newman would have rejected Bede Griffiths' sharp distinction between discursive and intuitive reasoning. Though not a scholastic, he was not an intuitive or illuminist either. While sensitive to chiaroscuro, what he sought was light: ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem. The Grammar of Assent was structured round four polarities.

31 N e w m a n ' s p h i l o s o p h y of religion The originality of Newman's philosophy of religion lay in its close integration of sceptical, even deconstructive, method, with definitive, almost fideistic, authority. It was original, not in that people had not practised it before, but in that it had never before been so well described, articulated and legitimated. Newman believed that methodology was not an a priori, but constantly appealed, a posteriori, to what actually happened in enquiry.

He became that mixture of ice on the outside, fire on the inside, which attracted or repelled contemporaries. Between 1830 and 1850, Manning's life was a switchback of disasters and triumphs, with the downs predominating. Successively, he lost family fortune and status, his wife of only four years, his faith in the Church of his baptism, the locus of a successful career. From these events, Manning learnt to master discontinuity. He mastered it by self-control, refusal to succumb to self-pity, and suppression of outward manifestation of inward feelings.

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