Newman: University Teaching

Pdf Newman, John Henry, University Teaching, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1852
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John Henry Newman’s University Teaching contains nine discourses on university education. Newman disagreed that the primary purpose of university education was intellectual rather than moral and religious. He believed that teachers must be a moral example to students, that they should be prepared for the world beyond and that education should not be confined rigidly to any one discipline alone. Newman believed in the objective truths of human reason and wisdom whereas secularists increasingly rejected the authority of religion and tradition.

John Henry Newman (1801-1890) was born in London. He was a leading evangelical Anglican churchman, philosopher, theologian, academic and professor at Oxford University, England who gradually converted to Catholicism and in time rose to the rank of Cardinal. His extensive writings were hugely influential, spurring reform in the Anglican Church. He was to become a major influence in modern Catholic theological and social teaching.

Initially Newman believed that the Church of England had to return to more traditional Catholic forms of worship. However he abandoned Anglicanism entirely after a spiritual crisis when his academic study of St. Augustine’s writings convinced him that the Anglican Church did not possess ecclesiastical authority. He converted to Catholicism which he believed was the one true Christian Church.

The course of the 19th century saw the rise of rapid scientific advances and radical new philosophical and political thinking which challenged traditional religious certainties. Much of Newman’s thought was preoccupied with defending traditional Christianity and Catholicism. His influence is credited with laying the foundation for the Second Vatican Council decades after his death. Newman sought to integrate modern human experience with Catholic principles based on an accurate understanding of biblical scripture.

Newman’s thinking heavily influenced the ethos of Catholic schools and colleges in Ireland as Catholics became increasingly assertive following the gradual repeal of discriminatory laws in the 19th century. Newman helped to found the Catholic University Of Ireland in 1854 which later became University College Dublin, the largest educational institution in the country. He also served as its first rector. He was beatified in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI.

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