Online Symposium

"Heart Speaks to Heart"
John Henry Newman on Human Nature

Fall 2020 Newman Symposium

Online Event Starts In
Tuesday, 10 November - Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Heart Speaks to Heart Crest

"Heart Speaks to Heart": John Henry Newman on Human Nature

St John Henry Newman is remembered as the greatest English-speaking, Roman Catholic theologian of the nineteenth century, but he also contributed in significant ways to philosophical discussions. The Fall 2020 Newman Symposium will specifically look at Newman’s understanding of the human person. The lectures will cover a range of topics, including Newman’s approach to political society, personal influence, growth, and the moral self. Attendees will gain a richer understanding of theological anthropology through an engagement with the thought of one of modernity’s most important theologians.


Zoom Internet meeting link will be provided here as the event draws near.


Tuesday, Nov. 10
7:00 PM - Keynote Lecture: Colin Barr
7:45 PM  - Q&A
Wednesday, Nov. 11
6:00 PM - Erin Meikle
6:45 PM - Marial Corona
7:30 PM - Dwight Lindley
8:30 PM - Finished

Colin Barr, Ph.D.

Newman and the Politics of Patriotism

Colin Barr, Ph.D.

University of Aberdeen & 2020-2021 Donald R. Keough Visiting Faculty Fellow, Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies, University of Notre Dame

John Henry Newman is not normally considered a politician, a political theorist, nor even particularly political.  Although he had opinions on the issues and men of the day, and expressed them to friends, he rarely engaged in political controversy, and almost never in public.  The primary exception was his 1855 essay "Who's to Blame?," an impassioned and sustained defense of the British constitution against the alleged flaws exposed by the failures of the British state in the Crimean War.  To Newman, those failures—while real and serious—were in fact the necessary and acceptable by-product of the British political system.  England (he always preferred to say England) had failed because England was free.  This point was so important to Newman that it provoked his only sustained public political engagement. As a patriot and a Catholic alike, he was concerned to vindicate a polity that he loved deeply, despite the difficulties and apparent contradictions that that entailed.  Yet Neman’s patriotism has not often been adequately examined by scholars. His essential Englishness has been widely recognized—although his concomitant English chauvinism is often elided, but it has not always been fully interrogated or contextualized. Such an approach is fruitful, however, in throwing light not only on Newman’s intermittent engagement with political life, but also on his wider understanding of the world and the times in which he lived.

Erin Meikle, Ph.D.

Newman’s Aspirations for the Students of the Catholic University of Ireland

Erin Meikle, Ph.D. (Mathematics Education)

Ryan Scholar in Newman Studies, Duquesne University Doctoral Program

This presentation will explore the ways in which Newman’s understanding of growth compared and/or contrasted with secular and church positions on growth at the time.  Did Newman think growth of an idea contributed to the growth of an individual person? In what ways did Newman understand or believe learning to be important for growth? Questions like these will be considered in a comparative analysis of three key works: Parochial and Plain Sermons, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine, and The Idea of a University.

Marial Corona, Ph.D.

Cor ad Cor Loquitur: J. H. Newman’s Doctrine of Personal Influence

Marial Corona, Ph.D.

Visiting Researcher, University of St. Mary of the Lake

In 1829 Newman wrote to his sister Jemima: “It requires one to be intimate with a person, to have a chance of doing him good.” Newman’s philosophy of personal influence is a constant theme in the Apologia and unifies his theory of knowledge with his writings on education. He identifies personal influence as the great instrument for propagating truth and credits it with the success of the Oxford Movement. This paper explores Newman’s doctrine of personal influence in order to show its relevance, not only within his philosophical and educational corpus, but as a valuable resource for our commitment to truth in contemporary times.

Dwight Lindley, Ph.D.

Newman and the Novelists: Narrative Thinking in Newman, Eliot, & Dickens

Dwight Lindley, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of English, Hillsdale College

This presentation will claim that John Henry Newman’s narrative epistemology in the University Sermons and Essay on Development is opened up in helpful ways when read alongside Charles Dickens and George Eliot. After developing an account of knowledge, character, and narrative understanding in Newman, I will turn first to Dickens (chiefly David Copperfield), then to Eliot (chiefly Middlemarch) to show the ways in which they question, illuminate, or extend some of Newman’s most important insights.