E212-M John Henry Newman Questions

Assigned: The Idea of a University (1119-27), Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1128-35), and Liberalism (1135-37).

The Idea of a University

1. What are the two kinds of knowledge, as Newman defines and elaborates upon them? What is the difference between the object of or goal toward which each kind of knowledge tends? When, according to Newman, does it become appropriate to say that knowledge is "Science or Philosophy"? (1121-22)

2. How does Newman deal with the argument that utilitarian education and the useful knowledge it promotes at least achieve their stated goals, while liberal education is much more difficult to deal with in those terms? Why, according, to Newman, is liberal education ultimately more "useful" than narrower, more immediately practical training? (1123-26)

3. Do you think that scientific endeavor could meet Newman's criteria for a liberal education? What argument might a person make in favor of including it in a liberal curriculum? (General question)

4. What does your university's catalog say about the goals of education here? Do you believe that the school truly promotes the achievement of those goals? Do you think that most students see themselves as engaged in something like the educational project described in your school's catalog? What barriers to a truly "Newmanesque" education do you find at work in your own experience here? (General question)

Apologia Pro Vita Sua

5. How is Newman's autobiographical narrative a response to what has been called a "crisis of authority" in Victorian times? (General question.)

6. In describing the development of his religious convictions up through 1833, Newman says he was influenced by various factors. What were some of those factors? What effect did they have upon him? (1128-32)

7. Newman explains his reaction to the 1830 Revolution in France and the Reform agitation going on in Britain during and after that period. What was Newman's stance on the issue of reform? How does he say his reaction contributed to the development of his views on reforming the Anglican Church? (1132-34)

8. How would you compare Carlyle's stance on the principal of spirituality with Newman's? Even though Newman is a firm believer and Carlyle is a doubter, do they share some common opinions and writerly strategies? (General question)


9. What precise definition does Newman provide for the term "liberalism"? What does his definition imply about his view of the relationship between faith and "thought"?

10. Does Newman's way of defining and opposing liberalism in church matters contradict his views on the great value of "liberal education"? Why or why not?

Edition: Abrams, M. H. et al. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Vols. 2A-C. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. ISBN 2A = 0393975681, 2B = 039397569X, 2C = 0393975703.