Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring 2007
Tales from Two Cities
The Evolving Identity of John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University
This essay describes not only the evolving identity of Newman’s The Idea of a University, but also the way in which this process points to a larger tension between what Augustine referred to as the City of God and the city of this world.While no other work is perhaps more quoted than Newman’s Idea in relation to theoretical conceptions of university life, the origins of this work are often little understood. As a result, Newman’s Idea frequently goes from being a work whose identity is derived from the City of God to being a book whose identity is derived from various manifestations of the city of this world.