Avery Dulles S.J. - review of Newman's Challenge

From First Things – Briefly Noted 26 – October 2000

Newman’s Challenge.

By Stanley L. Jaki.

Eerdmans. 323 pp. $20.

The author, a Benedictine priest well known for his work in the philosophy of science, here gathers up thirteen previously published essays on Newman with a new chapter to introduce them. Quoting selectively from Newman’s works (especially his Letters and Diaries), Jaki portrays Newman as an intransigent supernaturalist, adamantly opposed to dissent and ecumenism. Although Jaki is knowledgeable and on some points informative, his depiction of Newman is skewed by his desire to make him a weapon against “new” theologians, Protestant and Catholic alike, and even an adversary of Vatican II. While Jaki has every right to criticize liberal theologians, his tone is too dismissive. Newman, by contrast, was extremely careful to be fair to his opponents, to understand their point of view, and to enter into their difficulties and answer them patiently.

Avery Dulles, S.J.