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Benjamin Hazard - Review of Angelo Bottone, The Philosophical Habit of Mind. Rhetoric and Person in John Henry Newman's Dublin Writings (Zeta Books, 2010), in: Studies Irish Review, volume 100, number 39, p. 248-249

Benjamin Hazard - Review of Angelo Bottone, The Philosophical Habit of Mind. Rhetoric and Person in John Henry Newman's Dublin Writings (Zeta Books, 2010), in: Studies Irish Review, volume 100, number 39, p. 248-249

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Benjamin Hazard - Review of Angelo Bottone, The Philosophical Habit of Mind. Rhetoric and Person in John Henry Newman's Dublin Writings (Zeta Books, 2010), in: Studies Irish Review, volume 100, number 39, p. 248-249
Benjamin Hazard - Review of Angelo Bottone, The Philosophical Habit of Mind. Rhetoric and Person in John Henry Newman's Dublin Writings (Zeta Books, 2010), in: Studies Irish Review, volume 100, number 39, p. 248-249

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Studies review The philosophical habit of mind: rhetoric and person in John Henry Newman's Dublin writings, Angelo

Bottone (Zeta Series in Christian Theology, 2009), 248pp; ISBN 978-973-1997-61-2 (paperback). John Henry Newman’s Dublin writings (1851-9) and their philosophical context have a hitherto underestimated appeal. This book is relevant to those with an interest not only in philosophy and theology, but also education studies, history and linguistics. Bottone’s insights regarding Newman and his works clearly reflect many years of teaching and publishing on the subject.1 By setting Newman’s The Idea of a University in the contemporary context of its composition, Bottone makes the book accessible to the general reader. He reveals that large parts of this work have, until now, been left unexplored. The book begins with a detailed overview of the history and composition of the Dublin writings. The roots of contention which Newman encountered during his efforts to establish the Catholic University are identified here with the introduction of the National School system (pp. 18-19) offering an echo, perhaps, of the current debate about primary education in Ireland. Aristotle grasped the value of intellectual curiosity to the causes of the world. How this relates to Newman is dealt with in the second chapter. Rather than dwelling upon Aristotelian ideas alone, Bottone then presents the first scholarly case-study of Newman and Cicero – the most cited source in the Dublin writings after Aristotle. The author shows that, since his early years at Oxford, Newman drew upon Cicero for his depiction of the cultured, ethical gentleman. This underlines the import of De officiis (pp. 89-102). In chapter four, Bottone essays Newman’s views of the liberal, well-educated individual as the epitome of excellence for the laity. The final section of the book provides a detailed survey of all other papers that should be included among the Dublin writings. Bottone reveals that during Newman’s time in Dublin he actively encouraged the publication of new scholarly works which set peer-review standards, such as The Atlantis journal, catering for new scholars like Eugene O’Curry. The author briefly imparts Newman’s understanding of history, from the poetry of the Benedictines in late antiquity, to the science of the Dominicans
1

For instance, see Angelo Bottone, ‘Newman and Wittgenstein after foundationalism’, in New Blackfriars, 86 (2005) pp 62–75.

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Studies review in the Middle Ages, and the practical element of the Society of Jesus amidst the transitions of the early-modern age (pp. 49-50, 173). In recent years, academics have debated whether Newman’s efforts in Ireland succeeded or failed.2 Bottone addresses this question in the closing chapter. He also considers the positive view that Newman recorded in November 1858, seven years after he arrived in Dublin to launch his great enterprise. The book highlights the criticism that Newman aimed at the seventeenth-century father of utilitarianism, John Locke, in The Idea of a University. Bottone’s conclusions are applied to present-day universities where the concepts promoted by Newman have an enduring relevance to the over-mighty influence of the sciences. Authentic investigation must focus upon ‘the social and intellectual conditions’ which support the growth of originality.3 Representatives of European bishops’ conferences recently discussed pastoral activity in universities at a meeting in Munich where Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster spoke about Blessed John Henry Newman. This book casts new light on the Dublin writings as a distinct project and ably demonstrates the continued significance of Newman to university education. Dr Benjamin Hazard School of History & Archives University College Dublin

2

Pádraic Conway, ‘Journal of a frustrated soul: John Henry Newman’s Dublin diary (November 1853March 1856) and the perceived failure of the Catholic University of Ireland’, in Cahiers victoriens et édouardiens, 70 (2009), pp 251-64. 3 Hugh Kearney, ‘Puritanism and science: problems of definition’, in Past & Present, 29 (1965), pp 104-10: 108; cited by E. L. Eisenstein, The printing press as an agent of change change: communications and transformations in early-modern Europe (Cambridge, repr. 2009), pp 660-1.

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