Published in Milltown Studies, No 49, Summer 2002, 84-101.



“Newman’s Grammar of Assent cannot be understood apart from this tradition of the place of imagination in thought”.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord, III (Lay styles), p. 354.




Newman on Imagination and Faith


            In a fine book published in 2001, the Australian theologian Frank Rees devotes a substantial chapter to Newman’s explorations of faith and doubt.  In spite of many excellent lights, on one point his interpretation seems quite questionable. He criticises Newman for being excessively concerned “with propositional forms of assent”, adding that “In a relationship, one does not so much assent as participate”. And Rees continues: “The relational elements of trust and struggle… do not seem to have a sufficient place in Newman’s picture of faith as assent… his concept is one dimensional . . . too static”.[1] Surely, I would want to respond, Newman is one of the great Christian exemplars of the movement of the mind, both in theory and practice. He once described the adventure of truth as similar to “a clamberer on a steep cliff”, who knows by “inward instinct” what steps to take but who remains “unable to teach another”.[2]  Besides, it is striking that one dimension of Newman’s thought is never referred to by Rees. In a chapter of nearly 60 pages the importance of imagination is never mentioned. By focussing on this dimension here I hope to show not only how crucial it became for Newman’s account of faith but how an understanding of the role he gives to imagination exonerates him from that accusation of being merely propositional, un-existential and static.      



To make faith credible for his culture was undoubtedly the central passion of Newman’s long career. He was increasingly aware that on various fronts, ranging from intellectual to social assumptions, a new age of widespread atheism was becoming possible for the first time in human history. Instead of condemning everything around him or adopting the tones of “non-historical orthodoxy” (an expression of Michael Novak’s), he became a frontier explorer, listening to the questions and sensibility of his time, often capturing even stylistically the contours of that searching spirit. Rooted in orthodoxy, he was never imprisoned in concepts. Allergic all his life to a woolly and reductive liberalism in religion, he was also a great exponent of liberal inquiry in education and in order to make faith “real” in the new moment of history. In all this passionate adventure of his thought, the idea and reality of imagination came to have a strangely important role. It may not rank as one of his great and constant themes, such as conscience or revelation. But it has a vital secondary part to play in his mature thought on the credibility of faith. His interest in “imagination” as a human capacity is also in tune with his introspective personality and creative talents. There are few theologians of his time who wrote so much poetry. It is also significant that within his first ten years as a Catholic he published two novels about conversion, entitled Loss and Gain and Callista. In this light I will try to mention some key characteristics of Newman’s apologetics concerning faith and then to show the significance of his increasing attention to imagination in this field. 




The new cultural dangers

By way of introduction some attention should be given to Newman’s reading of the dangers to faith embodied in his surrounding culture. The first words of his first university sermon, at the age of 25, were carefully chosen to announce a concern that was already deep in him: “Few charges have been more frequently urged by unbelievers against Revealed Religion, than that it is hostile to the advance of philosophy and science”.[3] In this way he voices his preoccupation that the credibility of religion has suffered a serious decline in the eyes of the leading intellectuals of his day. He saw that this perceived opposition between the dominant rationality and the truth of faith constituted a historically new challenge for the Christian tradition. But even in this youthful sermon Newman goes further and in what was to become his typical approach, he changes the agenda of debate from merely externalist reason to personalist attitudes. He insists that the disposition with which a person seeks religious truth is an indispensable condition for finding it. If a spirit of neutral inquiry prevails, imitating what seems the method of empirical science, then we will not have the proper tools for arriving at the deeper realities of faith. Thus he discerns a crucial danger in the dominant culture of his day. Its obsession with verification through external evidence is not only an inadequate method for more personal and religious fields: more psychologically and spiritually this can become a closed and proud mentality that blocks a person from a more receptive and humble spirit of searching. Where scientific method claims a monopoly of approaches to truth, this results in a tragic narrowing of reason and a usurpation of intellectual life to one of its many dimensions. Any deeper truth has to be approached with the whole person and in a spirit of reverence. In the case of religious truth in particular we come to receive not just to analyse, and hence disposition is an essential component. As Newman expressed it in an early letter to his unbelieving brother Charles, rejection of faith arises “from a fault of the heart, not of the intellect”. [4]

Newman feared that an unbalanced version of rationality was becoming widespread among his contemporaries both at the level of specialists, including theologians who sought external “evidences” for faith, and at the more popular level of the assumptions of the culture. In order to counter this challenge, he sought in various ways to enlarge the meaning of reason as a deeply personal capacity and to defend the common sense process of reasoning used by ordinary people in arriving at practical judgements. Throughout his career he distanced himself from methods of non-existential thinking. He had a natural distaste for systems or for what he called “paper logic”.[5] Both in chapter 4 of his Apologia and more significantly as the epigraph to the Grammar of Assent he quotes St Ambrose in somewhat sarcastic tone against false forms of dialectic: “Non in dialectica complacuit Deo salvum facere populum suum”. Instead of a narrow apologetics using a “logic of language”, Newman’s hope was to develop a “more subtle and elastic logic of thought”.[6] In short his answer to excessive rationalism lay in a new wavelength of personalist communication. Both in the theory of his thought and in the practice of his style he wanted to promote a more exploratory and more existential human logic. Indeed his achievements in this direction have been recognised by some celebrated unbelievers. His contemporary and novelist Thomas Hardy praised his genuinely human logic as offering a richer wavelength than mere syllogisms. The more recent novelist Aldous Huxley recognised that Newman’s psychological analysis of thinking was the most elegant ever written in English.


The more subtle enemy: liberalism

            Rationalism was not, however, the most dangerous enemy that Newman diagnosed in the currents of his culture. As he said late in his life, in his “biglietto” speech in Rome accepting his nomination as cardinal, he had spent fifty years resisting “the spirit of liberalism in religion”. In that speech of 1879 he summarised liberalism as “the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another”.[7] In an appendix to his earlier work Apologia pro vita sua, he had offered a similar list of the errors of liberalism, identifying its origin in an exaggerated trust in reason. If “no one can believe what he does not understand”, then faith is dishonest if it cannot produce proofs.[8] What Newman termed “liberalism” was related to rationalism but it also showed itself in more psychological ways. It was linked with the exaltation of the subjective and the individual which was part of European modernity but which developed a particularly British tone because of empiricism, bourgeois culture and the protestant ethos. Rationalism was dominant in the intellectual world largely outside the Church but liberalism was within the gates. The fruit of liberalism in matters of faith was to reduce non scientific truths to matters of opinion and hence to fall into relativism. More particularly, it constituted a temptation for apologists of Christian faith: many of them surrendered any claim to dogmatic or objective truth and as a result presented faith as merely a question of intuition or feeling, thus diminishing its uniqueness as grounded in revelation and in history. Even as a young man Newman had recognised the seriousness of this tendency. One of his Sicilian poems, written in 1833, is entitled “Liberalism” and expresses the danger in these words:

                       Ye cannot halve the Gospel of God’s grace;

                       Men of presumptuous heart!

This short text composed at Palermo in June 1833 attacks a reductive selectivity in faith: the liberals, according to Newman, choose humanistic themes such as peace or good-will and avoid the “dread depths of grace”.[9]

            From a more pastoral perspective, liberalism fostered what Newman called in an early sermon “The Religion of the Day”. By this he meant the process whereby an elegant civilisation could reduce Christianity to its more acceptable and consoling aspects. This “religion is pleasant and easy; benevolence is the chief virtue”. When the “darker side of the Gospel” is ignored, austerity and mystery are forgotten, and genuine faith is no longer possible.[10] Years later in his Grammar of Assent, Newman again returned to this danger, seeing it as a perversion of natural religion. Authentic religion, even prior to the encounter with revelation, is rooted in conscience and reverence, but “the religion of so-called civilization” develops from a “one-sided progress of mind” rather than from the whole person.[11] As we will see, it was a feature of Newman’s defence of faith to be existentially holistic and along this road he gradually recognised the crucial role of imagination.


Centrality of conscience

Before coming to the topic of imagination, two of Newman’s pillars of thought about faith deserve mention – the role of conscience and the argument from probability.

Undoubtedly the constant foundation of Newman’s approach to faith lies in his emphasis on conscience and this is rooted in his typical trust in self-experience rather than in outer avenues of verification. Eloquent evocations of conscience occur throughout Newman’s writings. To enter into this theme let us quote, at some length, one of his lesser known texts, his novel Callista, published in 1855. This tells the story of a culturally sophisticated Greek girl living in North Africa in the third century and of her gradual discovery of Christian faith. At one stage when Callista has become aware of her “inner Guide” but has not yet encountered the Word of the Gospel, she expresses her discovery of conscience in a conversation with a distinguished pagan philosopher who believes in an “eternal self-existing something”:


“I feel that God within my heart. I feel myself in His presence. He says to me, ‘Do this; don’t do that’. You may tell me that this dictate is a mere law of my nature, as to joy or to grieve. I cannot understand this. No, it is the echo of a person speaking to me. Nothing shall persuade me that it does not ultimately proceed from a person external to me. It carries with it its proof of its divine origin. My nature feels towards it as towards a person. . . I believe in what is more than a mere ‘something.’ I believe in what is more real to me than sun, moon, stars, and the fair earth, and the voice of friends. You will say, Who is He? Has He ever told you anything about Himself? Alas! no! – the more’s the pity. But I will not give up what I have, because I have not more. An echo implies a voice; a voice a speaker. That speaker I love and I fear.”[12]


This magnificent passage sums up Newman’s sense of a threshold between natural and revealed religion. It also indicates his deep respect for conscience as the core and climax of natural religion and hence as having a crucial role in his apologetics of faith. It is worth recalling at this point that Newman had his basic intellectual formation outside Catholicism and was therefore unacquainted with the rather narrow logic of scholastic proofs for the existence of God that were dominant at that period. By temperament and by his inherited religious culture he prefers another road towards faith and one where conscience plays a central role. Indeed in the Apologia he openly states that he found traditional proofs of God from the order of the universe unconvincing because what he saw around him was tragedy, conflict and the triumph of evil: 


The world seems simply to give the lie to that great truth, of which my whole being is so full. . . Were it not for this voice, speaking so clearly in my conscience and my heart, I should be an atheist, or a pantheist, or a polytheist when I looked into the world. I am speaking for myself only; and I am far from denying the real force of the arguments in proof of a God, drawn from the general facts of human society and the course of history, but these do not warm me or enlighten me; they do not take away the winter of my desolation . . . [13]


Newman’s tendency is to stress the informal logic of personal searching and to see conscience as the principal connection point between humanity and God. When he speaks of “first principles”, as he does frequently in his exposition of the journey towards faith, what he has in mind are not Aristotelian principles of logic but the whole zone of interiority and of disposition of which the experience of conscience was for him a principal manifestation. His ”first principles” are close to what contemporary theologians call fundamental option. In this way Newman creates his own particular version of a moral argument for faith, with its focus on the subjective moral quality of the person and on the objectivity of one’s experience of conscience.


The argument from probability

            If Newman gives a unique priority to the role of conscience, the other great pillar of his defence of faith lies in the notion of probability. From his reading of Bishop Joseph Butler’s classic book of 1736, The Analogy of Religion, he learned “that Probability is the guide of life”.[14] However he gives his own more psychological and spiritual interpretation to this theme. Thus he often speaks of “antecedent probabilities” and these refer not to the evidence for God in the data of the world but usually to the quality of moral disposition in the person searching for meaning. In other words “antecedent probabilities” are within the subject and are born from those attitudinal “first principles” that have just been mentioned. Whether or not a person arrives at the surrender of faith depends greatly, in Newman’s view, on non-rational components such as disposition and attention to the inner presence of conscience. It is these spiritual antecedents that make faith “probable”.

            In another and more external sense, Newman also argues that faith is grounded in a logic of probabilities. He is quite blunt in admitting that there is no one and utterly conclusive argument that leads to faith. Instead there are several converging roads which lead the person to a judgement which in turn has a quality of certitude. What is notable here again is the subtle balance between subjective and objective components in Newman’s thought. He has sometimes been misinterpreted as suggesting that the truth of faith is only probable and not certain. This stems from confusing the accumulation of probabilities on the level of evidence for faith and the quite different level of certitude that is born from “real assent” or the act of judgement of this converging evidence. The personal journey of the mind towards certitude is similar, he once remarked, to the fact that the strands of a rope, when bound together, are much stronger than any one strand taken on its own: a cable “is made up of a number of separate threads, each feeble, yet together as sufficient as an iron rod”.[15] Newman was what could be called a convergence thinker, someone who wanted to do justice to the non-linear process of the personal quest for truth.


Positive recognition of imagination

            In his earlier writings most of Newman’s references to imagination were either negative or at least cautious: in line with many of the Fathers he viewed imagination as a source of potential deception. Thus in one of his university sermons of 1832 he identified the evil world as showing its power “not merely by appealing to our reason, or exciting our passions, but by imposing on our imagination”.[16] Imagination, in this sense, is the whole perceptive capacity of humanity, which can easily be attacked and damaged by superficiality or by distorted images. More than once he commented that the zone of imagination was a source of fragility for faith, and that it was a more crucial battleground than that of reason. In his more autobiographical writings he recognised that his imagination had been “stained” in his youth by the idea that the Pope was the Antichrist.[17] He added that image remained with him up to two years before his conversion, in other words well after intellectually he had begun to consider the Catholic Church as true. However the very next paragraph of the Apologia offers a more positive illustration of the lasting effects of imagination: at the age of 15 “another deep imagination . . .  took possession of me” – that it was God’s will that he remain celibate. In yet another revealing moment in his Apologia, he comments that when his confidence in the authenticity of the Anglican Church was shaken, “I determined to be guided, not by my imagination, but by my reason”. And he adds an intriguing comment: “Had it not been for this severe resolve, I should have been a Catholic soon than I was”.[18] Concerning this last sentence one interpreter has suggested that Newman later came to regret his slowness to trust the more affective dimension represented by imagination.[19]

            Of the many passages dealing with imagination in a positive way in the Grammar, one of the most notable had been written nearly thirty years earlier. In 1841 Newman published a series of brilliantly satiric letters against the suggestion of Sir Robert Peel that the fruits of religion could now be acquired through education in literature and science. This idea offended Newman’s basic anthropology and above all his sense of the uniqueness of religious truth. In 1870 he quotes several pages of his Tamworth Reading Room text to conclude chapter 4 of the Grammar. In particular he vehemently defends his own view of man as more than a “reasoning animal” in a merely logical or scientific sense. Human beings are made for action and moved by feeling, and in this context he says: “the heart is commonly reached, not through the reason, but through the imagination”.[20]


Over the years, then, we can observe Newman coming to recognise a much more exploratory and positive role for imagination. He did not abandon his view of imagination as a source of trouble for faith. In a letter of his old age, written to Miss Bowles in 1882, he envisaged an epidemic of unbelief “not spread by reason, but by the imagination”. Imagination, he added, “presents a possible plausible view of things which haunts and at length overcomes the mind”.[21] However if imagination was a potential source of vulnerability, it could also become a source of nourishment for faith. In his preparatory notebooks of the late fifties and sixties, and then in the text of the Grammar, this more nuanced interpretation emerges strongly. In 1857 he jotted down a fascinating distinction in his notebook:


A good instance of the difference between imagination and reason is this – that I feel no fear of reading a book like M. Comte’s though said to be atheistical, though I have an anxiety about looking into Strauss’s Life of Christ.[22]


Comte’s intellectual assault on the history of religion, Newman implies, remained on a merely external level, but the more disturbing features of Strauss’s work could undermine his deep-felt image of Jesus. Some time later in the same journal he remarked that “imagination, not reason, is the great enemy to faith”.[23] However as the years went on he realised that properly understood imagination could be one of the most essential and powerful allies for faith. In 1865 he wrote that “certitude does not come under the reasoning faculty, but under the imagination”.[24] This insight was deepened and developed in the five years that led to the Grammar of Assent, as he gradually came to realise that imagination was not just fruitful for religious motivation, stirring the affections towards decision and action. It could play would have a crucial role also in his epistemology of certainty.  


Key role of imagination in the Grammar

            Now that all the major texts of Newman are available on the “web”, it is easier than before to check the frequency of various terms.[25] Thus the words “imagination” and “image” are found over a hundred times in the last two chapters of the first part of the Grammar of Assent. This is where Newman introduces his central idea of “real assent”, an expression which, as will be seen, was intgerchangeable with “imaginative assent” in Newman’s usage. In the early chapters of the Grammar, Newman stresses the link between images and experiences: they open the door to dimensions that are concrete,  “personal” and “real” in a way that abstractions never can (55).[26] For assent to be real, as distinct from notional, requires that truth must be “discerned, rested in, and appropriated as a reality, by the religious imagination” (98). In the following chapter Newman speaks of “the theology of a religious imagination” as capable of having a “living hold on truths” because people find that truths about God “live in their imagination” (117). Increasingly he uses the term imagination as a keystone of his religious epistemology. When the imagination is not “kindled”, belief remains notional (126). Just as “images and their experiences strike and occupy the mind” (37) at the outset of the process of knowledge, later on imagination is seen to serve two other functions in the development of faith: it nourishes “our emotional and moral nature” and in turn it becomes “a principle of action” (214).

            Thus what starts as a link of the mind with concrete experience becomes a crucial element in reaching and motivating the heart’s decision, and finally a source of commitment or action. Imagination, in other words, is both synthetic and evocative, capable of interpreting the data of experience and of stimulating decision.[27] Newman’s new epistemology of imagination sees it as a vital means of experiencing the real and hence of “realising” religious reality in the ordinary adventure of faith. The final page of the Grammar mentions intellect and imagination together in a way that beautifully symbolises the new prominence of imagination in Newman’s thought and its equal importance with intellect in his apologetics of faith. Christianity addresses people “both through the intellect and through the imagination” and in this way it arrives at its own special certitude through arguments “too personal and deep for words” (492).


Commentators on Newman concerning imagination

            Although the role of imagination in Newman’s theology of faith is one that is sometimes avoided by those who do not recognise the more exploratory sides of his thought, in recent decades several specialist studies in English have been devoted to this theme. Twenty years ago the British scholar John Coulson published his influential book, Religion and Imagination: ‘in aid of a grammar of assent’,[28] which devotes a substantial chapter to Newman. His fundamental thesis is that verification of religious belief depends upon “its first being made credible to imagination”, because “what is credible is what becomes real to imagination”.[29] Coulson goes on to show that Newman had originally chosen the expression “imaginative assent” and, seemingly because of the danger of being misunderstood, changed this to “real assent” in the course of preparing his manuscript. Even in today’s world there are still many who confuse “imaginative” and “imaginary”. In the text of the Grammar as we have it, there are occasions when the older phrase survives: “I have wished to trace the process by which the mind arrives, not only at a notional, but at an imaginative or real assent”. [30] Even before going into detail on Newman’s view of imagination, it is obvious that it is practically a synonym for “real”, which was his strong term of praise for whatever was deep, concrete, personal and lived – in other words a necessary characteristic of genuine religious faith.



In 1986 Robert Holyer underlined that real apprehension for Newman was marked by “imaginative self-involvement” and that an imaginative grasp of religious realities is capable of producing a deeper level of conviction and a more powerful sense of divine presence.[31] But is this simply a matter of motivation? Has imagination only a pastoral usefulness? Or can it be seen as central to a theology of faith? In 1988 David Hammond began publishing a series of articles on these issues. In his view imagination for Newman constituted the “link between the affective dimension of the knower and objects of knowledge”.[32] More concretely, the imagination organizes experience into a meaningful whole and as such is a dynamic element in the capacity to grasp certainty that Newman called “the illative sense”. Moreover, Newman’s “sensitivity to the imaginative character of religious experience” links up with his desire to heal the divorce between spirituality and theology.[33] His own long search for religious truth had been marked by a double loyalty, to his sharp mind and to his deep imagination: he remained a man of intellectual and “affective honesty”.[34]

A whole chapter in Terrence Merrigan’s important book on Newman was entitled “The Imagination”. He sees this human power as having a double function – as both “realizing” and “prehending”. The latter has to do with the capacity of conscience to perceive God but it is the former sense that emerges strongly in the first half of the Grammar of Assent. Merrigan considers that these explorations about imagination’s capacity to evoke and make faith real, although “somewhat inchoate” reveal Newman as “feeling his way towards an ever-deeper appreciation of the imagination’s role in cognition”.[35] It can awaken a person’s dispositions and focus the mind on a concrete personal call.   

            Another Newman expert, Gerard Magill, has published two articles on his theory of imagination. Like Coulson and Merrigan he insists that the words “real” and “imagination” became interchangeable terms in the Grammar. In Magill’s view, “cognitive perception is the main function of imagination”, because of the holistic capacity of imagination to unite an “experiential synthesis” of the data and to link this with human feelings.[36] One of the intuitions found in Newman’s notebooks for 1865 provides strong support for this interpretation. “Certitude then does not come under the reasoning faculty; but under the imagination”.[37] In a further article Magill proposes that Newman saw the imagination as an “instrument for reason discernment”, as “creative and mediating roles”, anticipating and then interpreting the convergence of data that point towards certainty.[38]

            More recent articles have argued that Newman is a prophetic figure in his connecting of theology and imagination. Even if he did not explicitly describe faith as a form of imagination (as some more contemporary writers do, such as William Lynch), he anticipates much of later thinking in this field. For M. Jamie Ferreira the role Newman gives to “imagination in achieving religious certitude is expressed in terms of a reorienting vision”, and she adds that his “grammar of the heart is a grammar of imagination”. The imagination, in other words, is crucial in forming the “active recognition” (Newman’s own expression) that leads to faith and conversion.[39] Stephen Fields adds that Newman’s celebrated distinction between notional and real assent depends “on the quality of the imagination involved”: it is through the strengthening power of the imagination that the mind moves from the notional to the existential and real.[40] Similarly Paul Knitter holds that in Newman’s view “you cannot understand the commitment of faith without understanding the role of the religious imagination in the genesis of faith”, and he has applied this to the field of inter-religious dialogue.[41]



            Many books and articles have been published on Newman’s life-long commitment to a new apologetics of faith. His writings remain a rich minefield to be explored further. This essay has stressed the need to include his suggestions on imagination as an integral element in his approach to faith and to its communication within the culture. If this dimension is neglected, there is a danger of making Newman too conceptual and clear, less original and tentative than he was in reality. He discerned intuitively that the religious crisis of his time lay more in the realm of imagination than of ideas alone. Although initially he tended to see imagination as a zone of danger, gradually he came to recognise it as a vital and positive component in the birth of faith. This emergence of imagination in his thought points in two directions. It highlights the existential reality that is faith in practice. Imagination in this sense is a vehicle of definiteness, worthy both of the Incarnation and of the drama of human decision. But imagination is also an indicator of the deeply personal and of realms of human exploration that do not easily lend themselves to analysis. In the way imagination is a zone of trans-rational and intuitive logic. Putting the two dimensions together we can say that imagination does justice both to the objective and historical definiteness of Incarnation and also to the more subjective and interior roads of our searching that lead us to the yes of faith.

            One final suggestion. It is well known that Cardinal Newman’s memorial stone in the Birmingham Oratory carries words composed by himself: Ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem. The obvious interpretation of this would be – out of unreality into reality, or, from mere shadows and mere images into the fullness of truth. In the light of the more positive role of imagination outlined in these pages, the implication of “mere” should be questioned. Possibly those Latin words can be freely but fruitfully paraphrased in a second sense: in the dark drama of this life we cannot arrive at the truth of faith without the necessary help of images and of imagination.



[1] Frank D. Rees, Wrestling with Doubt: Theological Reflections on the Journey of Faith, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 2001, p. 39.

[2] Fifteen Sermons Preached before the University of Oxford, Rivingtons, London, 1880, “Explicit and Implicit Reason”, paragraph 7.

[3] Ibid., p. 1.

[4] The Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman, ed. Charles S. Dessain et al., Vol. I, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978, p. 219. We have explored these themes in an article earlier this year: “Newman: sulla disposizione per la fede”, La Civiltą Cattolica, 2001 I 452-463.

[5] Apologia Pro Vita Sua, ed. A. Dwight Culler, Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1956, p. 169.

[6] An Essay in aid of A Grammar of Assent, Longmans, Green, London, 1909, p. 359. Later abbreviated to GA.

[7] Quoted in Ian Ker, John Henry Newman: a biography, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1988, pp. 720-721.

[8] Apologia. p. 275.

[9] John Henry Newman, Prayers, Verse and Devotions, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1989, p. 563.

[10] J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1997, pp. 198-207. Quotations from pp. 199-200.

[11] GA, p. 396.

[12] Callista: a Sketch of the Third Century, Universe Books edition, Burns and Oates, London, 1962, p. 174.

[13] Apologia, p. 229-230.

[14] Ibid., p. 31.

[15] A letter of 1864 quoted in Wilfred Ward, The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman, Longmans Green, London, 1912, Vol. 2, p. 43.

[16] Fifteen Sermons, p. 122.

[17] Apologia, p. 27.

[18] Ibid., p. 126.

[19] David M. Hammond, “Affectivity, Imagination, and Intellect in Newman’s Apologia”, Thought 67 (1992), 271-286. See p. 277.

[20] GA, p. 92

[21] Letters and Diaries, Vol. 30, 1976, p. 102.

[22] The Theological Papers of John Henry Newman on Faith and Certainty, ed. J. Derek Holmes, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1976, p. 46.

[23] Ibid., p. 47.

[24] Ibid., p. 126.

[25] See


[26] In these two paragraphs page references to the Grammar of Assent are given in parenthesis in the text.

[27] This sentence is indebted to Terrence Merrigan’s lecture on “Newman on faith in the Trinity”, delivered at the Oxford International Newman Conference in August 2001.

[28] John Coulson, Religion and Imagination: ‘in aid of a grammar of assent’, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1981.

[29] Ibid., pp. 46, 58.

[30] GA, p. 119.

[31] Robert Holyer, “Religious Certainty and the Imagination: an interpretation of J. H. Newman”, The Thomist 50 (1986), 395-416. Quotation from p. 405.

[32] David M. Hammond, “Imagination in Newman’s Phenomenology of Cognition”, Heythrop Journal 29 (1988), 21-33. Quotation from p. 23.

[33] David Hammond, “Imagination and Hermeneutical Theology: Newman’s Contribution to Theological Method”, The Downside Review 106 (1988), 17-33. Quotation from p. 17.

[34] Hammond, art. cit., Thought (1992), 285.

[35] Terrence Merrigan, Clear Heads and Holy Hearts: The Religious and Theological Ideal of John Henry Newman, Peeters Press, Louvain, 1991, p. 50.

[36] Gerard Magill, “Imaginative Moral Discernment: Newman on the Tension between Reason and Religion”, Heythrop Journal 33 (1991) 493-510. Quotations from p. 497.

[37] Quoted by Magill, p. 498.

[38] Gerard Magill, “Moral Imagination in Theological Method and Church Tradition: John Henry Newman”, Theological Studies 53 (1992), 451-475. Quotations from pp. 451, 461.

[39] M. Jamie Ferreira, “The Grammar of the Heart: Newman on Faith and Imagination” in Discourse and Context: an interdisciplinary study of John Henry Newman, ed. Gerard Magill, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, 1993, 129-143. Quotations from 129, 131, 141.

[40] Stephen Fields, “Image and Truth in Newman’s Moral Argument for God”, Louvain Studies 24 (1999), 191-210. Quotation from p. 197.

[41] Paul F. Knitter, “Commitment to One – Openness to Others: A Challenge for Christians”, Horizons 28 (2001), 256.