Newman and the Alexandrian Fathers: Shaping Doctrine in Nineteenth-Century England

By: Benjamin J. King

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John Henry (later Cardinal) Newman is generally known to have been devoted to reading the Church Fathers. In this volume, Benjamin King draws on archive as well as published material to explore how Newman interpreted specific Fathers at different periods of his life. King draws connections between the Alexandrian Fathers Newman was reading and the development of his thought. This analysis shows that it was events in Newman's life that changed his interpretation ofthe Fathers, not the interpretation of the Fathers that caused Newman to change his life. King argues that Newman tailored his reading, 'trying on' the ideas of different Fathers to fit his own needs. An innovative comparison of Newman's two translations of Athanasius of Alexandria, from 1842-44 and1881, demonstrates that by 1881 the Cardinal was swayed by the theology favored by Pope Leo XIII. King reveals that although Newman was a controversial figure in his own day, eventually his view of the Fathers and their doctrines came to be accepted by many scholars. This new exploration of his work, however, shows that the Cardinal's interpretation of the Fathers should still be controversial today.
Publication Date:
07 / 05 / 2009

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