Representative of Newman's late theoretical work, his treatise on the psychology of religious belief, An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent offers a more systematic approach to the ideas adumbrated in his Oxford University Sermons on the relation of faith and reason.
Critical Reception Newman's insight into human psychology—his ability to anticipate many of the doubts and contentions of his audience in matters of faith and logic—enabled him to defend Christian orthodoxy against the prevailing liberalism and skepticism of his day with an eloquence that has been admired by numerous commentators.
Among the many essays Newman wrote as a member of the Oxford Movement, “Tract 90,” the last and most controversial of the Tracts for the Times, consists of his “Remarks on Certain Passages in the Thirty-Nine Articles” and suggests that the views propounded in these fundamental Anglican principles were more nearly Catholic than Protestant.
In a series of satirical letters later collected and published as The Tamworth Reading Room (1841), Newman argued against the secular belief that knowledge and learning might displace religion as the arbiter of morality in society.
These works invariably reflect Newman's primary concern: to defend religious faith and the authority of church institutions in an age of increasing liberalism and disbelief.
Newman is additionally distinguished as one of the leading members of the Oxford Movement, a call for the reformation of the Anglican Church initiated in the 1830s.John Henry Newman 1801-1890 English theologian, historian, essayist, autobiographer, novelist, editor, and poet.The following entry presents criticism of Newman's works from 1959 to 1997.For further discussion of Newman's life and career, see NCLC, Volume 38.A prominent nineteenth-century religious figure, Newman is best known for his spiritual autobiography Apologia pro Vita Sua (1865), a work hailed as a masterpiece of English prose.Praised for his graceful and impassioned use of rhetoric and his lucid prose, Newman has been favorably compared with the prominent social critics of the Victorian age: Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold.In more recent years, critics have continued to study his collected writings with vigor, with most commentators focusing on the theological insights of his work.Many of these works addressed not only prominent issues of the day, but also the phenomenon of religious conversion.His autobiographical Apologia pro Vita Sua, which first appeared as a series of letters and pamphlets in early 1864, was drafted in response to accusations made against him by the well-known Anglican clergyman Charles Kingsley.However, Newman was also drawn to the literature of religious skepticism during these early years, fascinated by the plausibility of arguments refuting Bible accounts and religious dogma.He entered Trinity College at Oxford in 1817, graduating with a Bachelor's degree before the age of twenty.