John Henry Newman's "historical sense"

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Current scholarship on John Henry Newman has increasingly placed emphasis on the degree to which Newman offered a robust history of Christian ecclesiology in the face of an emerging, late modern focus on secular humanism and, by extension, a secular concept of history. While Newman’s interest in history is frequently noted by scholars, they usually focus on his philosophical views or else frame his philosophy of history in only ecclesiological terms.

What remains neglected in all of this is an appraisal of Newman’s idea of history as uniquely literary. This chapter fills this gap, examining Newman’s idea of history as it relates to the literary. It also considers Newman’s appraisal of the phenomenon of the saint as a distinctly historical phenomenon, uniquely accessible through intercessory prayer and literary forms.

This chapter concludes by showing how any consideration of Newman’s appreciation of literature and the literary is necessary to gain an understanding of his idea of history or, to borrow T.S. Eliot’s words, of his ‘historical sense.’

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe nineteenth-century present
Subtitle of host publicationliterary responses to historicity
Place of PublicationManchester
PublisherManchester University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Feb 2024


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