John Henry Newman, the Holy Spirit and the church : an examination of his fundamental pneumatic ecclesiology with special reference to the period 1826-53

Graham, Donald G. (2004). John Henry Newman, the Holy Spirit and the church : an examination of his fundamental pneumatic ecclesiology with special reference to the period 1826-53. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f590

Abstract

This dissertation brings to light the fundamental place which the Holy Spirit occupies in the ecclesiology of John Henry Newman.

Chapter one describes the historical growth of Newman’s ecclesiology from his Evangelical idea of the Church as an invisible union of believers (1816-24) to his gradual acceptance of the visible dimension of the Church (1824-26) to his affirmation of the Church as a sacramental communion (post-1826).

Chapter two sets forth his trinitarian and incamational grammar and reviews the state of scholarship concerning his pneumatic christology to conclude that there is a lack of work focussing upon his view of the Holy Spirit in the life of the historical Jesus.

Chapter three examines Newman’s view of the congruity of divine personhood and temporal office wherein mediation and animation are hypostatic hallmarks of the offices of the eternal Son and Holy Spirit; it considers the implications of this view for his mariology.

Chapter four refutes charges that Newman’s pneumatic christology is actually an immanent Athanasian christology or is diminished by a deficient view of the humanity of the God-man. The strength of his pneumatic christology is then evinced with reference to events in the life of the God-man from his ontological constitution to his crucifixion.

Chapter five discusses Newman’s view of the Holy Spirit as the ‘leading actor’ in the Easter Mystery, his belief that the resurrection is the origin of ecclesia and the centrality of ascension-pentecost for his ‘Body of Christ’ ecclesiology.

Chapters six and seven test the argument that Newman’s ecclesiology is essentially a sacramental extension of his pneumatic christology with reference to his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845). The thesis is that this text does not contain ‘pneumatological deficit’ because Newman invests his epistemological language with pneumatological and christological significance.

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