October 15, 2021
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v2.1 Reference

John Henry Newman and the Development of Doctrine

Encountering Change, Looking for Continuity

John Henry Newman and the Development of Doctrine provides an analysis of the attempts by John Henry Newman to account for the historical reality of doctrinal change within Christianity in the light of his lasting conviction that the idea of Christianity is fixed by reference to the dogmatic content of the deposit of faith. It argues that Newman proposed a series of hypotheses to account for the apparent contradiction between change and continuity, that this series begins much earlier than is generally recognized and that the final hypothesis he was to propose, contained in An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, provides a methodology of lasting theological value and contemporary relevance.

Stephen Morgan establishes the centrality of the problem of change and continuity in theology, to Newman's theological work as an Anglican, its part in his conversion to Catholicism and its contemporary relevance to Catholic theology. It also surveys the major secondary literature relating to the question, with particular reference to those works published within the last fifty years. Additionally, Morgan considers the legacy of the Essay as a tool in Newman's theology and in the work of later theologians, finally suggesting that it may offer a useful methodological contribution to the contemporary Catholic debate about hermeneutical approaches to the Second Vatican Council and post-conciliar developments in doctrine.

About the Author

Stephen Morgan is a Permanent Deacon of the Diocese of Portsmouth (UK) and Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies, at the University of St. Joseph, Macau. Ian Ker is a senior research fellow at Blackfriars, Oxford.


"The best work I've seen on the development of Newman's own thought on development of doctrine. Seamlessly blends the personal and the theoretical, shows Newman's thought process and responds to critics of Newman's account with charity and equity."—David P. Deavel, University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

"In tracing the origins of St John Henry Newman's theology of the development of doctrine, Stephen Morgan offers a clear, convincing and indispensable guide through the complex and detailed process by which Newman arrived at his synthesis. Anyone who wishes to take seriously the question of change and continuity in the Church's teaching - a question that has never been of greater importance - will profit enormously from reading this book. I have no hesitation in recommending it to my fellow bishops, as the primary guardians of tradition, but also to other clergy, seminarians and the lay faithful alike."—Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, SDB, Bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong

"A brilliant - and beautifully written - book. As Morgan superbly shows, doctrinal development this topic was both an abiding preoccupation in Newman's intellectual journey, and a major driver of his spiritual one. Recent church debates demonstrate how, evan after 175 years, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine and its author remain just as relevant as ever. Timely and terrific."—Stephen Bullivant, University of Notre Dame, Sydney

"In this masterly study, Stephen Morgan has made a distinguished and original contribution to the abundant literature on St John Henry Newman. He lucidly and forensically analyses key elements of both continuity and change in Newman's long search to account for the historical reality of doctrinal growth within Christianity while the dogmatic content of the deposit of faith and its identity remained fixed and preserved. Morgan focuses both on the Newman of history in his Anglican context while at the same time recognizing his 'afterlife' through his theological legacy; a legacy notably revealed by the Second Vatican Council, its genesis and aftermath, and in an ongoing shaping and influencing of contemporary Catholicism"—Peter Nockles, University of Manchester

"Stephen Morgan is the first author since Newman's canonization to present a well-argued explanation and defence of his Essay on Christian doctrinal development... Anyone who is looking to see Newman's mind at work will find Morgan's investigation of the theory eminently readable."—Faith


9780813234434 : john-henry-newman-and-the-development-of-doctrine-morgan
336 Pages
$75.00 USD

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