Volume 14, Issue 1, Spring 2017
The Early John Henry Newman on Faith and Reason
The catholic reception of John Henry Newman’s work is traditionally focused on his late writings, though Newman developed almost his entire philosophical and theological program during his Anglican years. Especially his Oxford University Sermons provide an epistemology that challenged the current rationalist interpretation of faith. In his analysis of ethical sagacity, Aristotle’s point of departure is the spoudaios, a person with well-formed character. Newman adapted this perspective for his investigation of the concept of faith. It drew his attention to the relation of reason and affections. And it made him aware of the role of informal reasoning, the Aristotelian phronesis, which Newman combined with John Locke’s epistemology into a broader, humanistic concept of rationality.