Newman and Fairbairn

This month as well readers may wish to be on the outlook for the fall 2010 edition of the Newman Studies Journal 7/2, which promises to contain an article by Adam Stewart, whom some of you will remember from his presentation to us in July on Pentecostalism and his comments on John L. Allen, The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 2009). Adam’s article is entitled “John Henry Newman and Andrew Martin Fairbairn: Philosophical Scepticism and the Efficacy of Reason in The Contemporary Review Exchange.” This essay examines the contrasting conceptualizations of reason in the thought of John Henry Newman and the Congregationalist theologian, Andrew Martin Fairbairn in their articles published in The Contemporary Review in 1885. This piece articulates both Fairbairn’s charge of philosophical skepticism against Newman as well as Newman’s defense of his position, and concomitantly details Fairbairn’s and Newman’s competing notions of the efficacy of reason to provide reliable knowledge of God. The positions developed by Fairbairn and Newman remain two of the most important perspectives on the role that reason plays in the acquisition of knowledge about God in nineteenth-, twentieth-, and twenty-first century Christian theology.
Peter Erb

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