Apologia Pro Vita Sua and Six Sermons available in Hardcover
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Serious students of the seminal 19th century English thinker and likely to be canonized Roman Catholic saint, Cardinal John Henry Newman, ought to burn incense to History Professor Frank M. Turner of Yale University. For Turner, also current Director of Yale's Beinecke Library, shines light into neglected corners of Newman's personal history, mental enthusiasms and ways his contemporaries reacted to his thinking out loud and very publicly about matters of church and state. *** Professor Turner created 'the thinking man's Cliffs Notes' in his 1996 edition of Newman's THE IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY, a tough Victorian volume imposed on many an American student seeking undergraduate or advanced degrees in education. After digesting Turner's masterly eleven page essay on 'Reading THE IDEA OF A UNIVERSITY,' many a crammer might have been tempted to skip reflections by Newman while he was trying to create a Catholic university in Dublin. *** Then came Turner's 2002, 740 page JOHN HENRY NEWMAN: THE CHALLENGE TO EVANGELICAL RELIGION. Here the professor proves that Newman was viscerally obsessed with ultra-Protestant trends within the Anglican church since the rise of Methodism: including exaltation of emotional religious conversion experience at the expense of baptism and a hierarchical, sacramental Church of England. *** That second book set the stage for Frank Turner's 2008 edition of APOLOGIA PRO VITA SUA & SIX SERMONS -- seven meaty texts by John Henry Newman. The heart of Turner's APOLOGIA is a breathtakingly brilliant and original 115 page 'Editor's Introduction' to a mere 350-plus pages of Newman. Most of the Editor's Introduction could function as a much needed executive summary to the fiendishly difficult and intricate argumentation of Turner's 2002 CHALLENGE TO EVANGELICAL RELIGION. Turner also fleshes out the 1865 'book form not pamphlets' edition of APOLOGIA with six sermons from Newman's Anglican years. They usefully illuminate and give context to APOLOGIA. *** Turner complains that, unlike Newman's contemporaries, too many later and current writers about John Henry Newman, were or remain so dazzled by the brilliance of APOLOGIA that they felt excused from serious delving into contemporary criticism or asking themselves whether Newman, in 1864 and 1865, selected to his own advantage his memories of the Tractarian controversies of the 1830s and 1840s. Too much 'Newmania.' Too much hagiography. Too little scholarly digging. It is hard to argue that Professor Turner is wrong. -OOO-