Saturday, November 21, 2009

Observations, random

Did it strike anyone else that Newman completely omits to do what no modern spiritual autobiography would dream of leaving out, i.e., providing a justification for his belief in God? These days, no-one leaves this step out. Do they?

How different the modern mind from the Victorian, even though those fellows often seem very modern in the sense of being scientific and materialist.

I also find the first chapters hard going. So much special knowledge required! I'd heard of Pusey et al, but have no intimate knowledge of what they were about.

Lastly, when I read the Thirty-Nine Articles (a long time ago) they struck me as completely Protestant in nature. It surprises me that Newman can see them as interpretable in any other sense. In any case this has interesting parallels to debates about how the American Constitution should be interpreted!

According to wiki, Newman's original conversion to Christianity from a nominally practising family was to a Calvinist persuasion. I'd very much like to know what dissuaded him from this position, since I am myself of a Calvinist bent.


Pentimento said...

I think that belief was very much a cultural given at that time. The reform movements, for instance, that sprung up in response to widespread post-industrial-revolution urban misery made no secret of their Christian mission, and even "radical" painters like William Holman Hunt wrote explicitly of his artistic aim “to use my powers to make more tangible Jesus Christ’s history and teaching.” Even Dickens's novels, which make no mention of Christian doctrine, are Christian through and through, especially regarding Christian social teachings. All of this made apostasy and falling away from faith, as in the case of George Eliot, more shocking.

Otepoti said...
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Pentimento said...

Also there was a lot of religious ferment in the century preceding. The Shakers, the Quakers, the Methodists all sprang up in England. The Shakers and the Methodists were ecstatic, mystical sects (hard to think that way of Methodists now) that stressed intimacy with God over ritual.