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Apologia pro Vita Sua (Penguin Classics) Paperback – January 1, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Henry Newman (1801 - 1890) was a vicar of Oxford University's church from 1828 - 1842, when his controversial Tract attempting to interpret the 39 Articles of Faith of the Church of England in a Catholic sense, led to him retiring to Littlemore, where he lived in monastic seclusion. He was received into the Catholic Church in 1845 and ordained in 1847. Apologia Pro Vita Sua appeared in 1864. Ian Ker has a MA from Oxford and a Ph.D from Cambridge. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest in 1979 and has taught at universities in Britain and the United States. He is the author and editor of sixteen books on Newman, including Newman and the Fullness of Christianity (1993).

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (January 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780140433746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140433746
  • ASIN: 0140433740
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 76 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on March 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
There are few autobiographies as moving and eloquent as Newman's "Apologia." This is his "defense" of his life's choice to leave the Church of England and "go home to Rome." It's a moving testament to an individual's struggle with spiritual issues and theological dogmas and how they inform our lives. I know of no other spiritual autobiography of such importance other than Augustine's "Confessions."
Yet, for all these superb reasons to read this spiritual autobiography, perhaps there is one "secular" reason to read Newman: His command of the English language. Newman has an excellent command of rhetoric, logic, and exposition that makes him a stellar example of Victorian belle letters.
I'd recommend the Norton Critical Edition over the Penguin edition, obviously, not for the "translation," but for the criticism that helps put the issues involved in context for the 20th century reader.
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By David Zampino VINE VOICE on September 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
since the "Confessions" of St. Augustine of Hippo 1600 years earlier.
In this book, John Henry Newman, in order to defend himself from (rather unfair) charges of insincerity, outlines the history of his spiritual development, from his beginnings as a liberal thinker, to his conversion to the Evangelical wing of the Church of England, to his ordination as an Anglican priest, to his gradual move toward Catholic thought, practice and worship in the Church of England, to his leadership in the so-called "Oxford Movement" and its call to holiness and Catholicity in the Church of England, and finally to his ultimate submission to Rome.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with Cardinal Newman theologically; whether one can accept his particular conclusions is not important to the enjoyment of this book. It is an honest account of a spiritual journey, written by an articulate man, which should prove inspirational to all persons of faith, and to all on a spiritual pilgrimage.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Antoinette King on October 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
It is interesting to note that John Henry Cardinal Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua is as well regarded for its literary value

as for its theological depth. Perhaps the greatest modern figure in Roman Catholic/Anglican relations, this is Cardinal Newman's personal account of his conversion to Catholicism.

A moving, beautifully written work.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By bill_the_great on June 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
Written as a response to sladerous accusations of lying and insincerity, Cardinal Newman composed one of the best autobiographies in the English language. To properly defend himself, he develops the history of his religous opinions from his earliest memories, through the Oxford movement and finally to his conversion to the Catholic Church. Along the way he gives the reader some of the best prose that has been employed to descrbe religious experience. The book concludes with a point-by-point refutation to the arguments of Rev. Kingsley, that incidentally contains some of the best arguments against Sola Scriptura and other guiding principles behind Protestantism.
After publication, Newman's Apologia helped raise the esteem of Catholics in the eyes of the English people and helped make him a Cardinal. I whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone looking for a moving spiritual autobiography.
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By T. George on January 13, 2004
Format: Paperback
When it comes to evaluating religious materials, I can tend to be a little critical, so please keep that in mind as you read this.
As many have mentioned, this book is written as the defense of one man against the continual slander & attacks he faced in England after he left the Anglican Church for the Catholic Church. This defense of his life is credited with helping change the strong anti-Catholic sentiment in Britain.
In this country (USA) and at this time, it might be hard for us to many how intense & how small the English culture was in the 1800's. Sure, we've all read Victorian novels of some sort, but they usual focus on the genteel class & on their match-making process. O'Brian frequently mentions the bias against Catholics in his Master & Commander series, but - even so - I wasn't prepared for how much impact one man could have on a culture. The population was so small, the culture so homogenous, and the number of educated men so limited that Newman really succeeded in shaking up the people in his time. In turn, they condemned him & made his life somewhat difficult. With the sheer number of religions & faiths - not to mention famous people & ploys for attention - in our current culture this story of Newman's likely will not be repeated in our culture any time soon. It is a great look back into another culture, another time, another understanding of religion & the norm.
As for the writing itself, I unfortunately don't have the same praise that I've read from others on this page. I read the entire introduction, but I still was not well-suited enough (I guess) to pick up on the subtle personal revelations & turns of phrase that were supposed to make this so lyrical.
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