In The Idea of a University, Blessed John Henry Newman champions a “discipline of mind” that enables its possessor to distinguish essence from accident, means from end, and good from evil. These habits are now all too rare. And that is part of our present poverty, for the person educated according to Newman’s prescription gains the “clear, calm, accurate vision” that is a necessary condition for reliable judgment and the exercise of true freedom. The reader of The Idea of a University will delight in the melody of Newman’s prose, the sharpness of his insights, and the force of his arguments, but will also rejoice to find something incomparably more valuable, a vast vista of an orderly life of learning with a glimpse of the mind’s last end—God. This new edition contains a Introduction by Don J. Briel and an Afterword by Christopher O. Blum as well as a Newman reading list and questions on the text to invite discussion and reflection.
Praise for Idea of a University
“John Henry Newman’s Idea of a University remains the unsurpassed exposition of liberal education, and this welcome new edition contains the complete work with supplements to orient the new reader and foster study and reflection. Liberal education is not about transmitting information, or developing skills, but about forming intellectual virtue. As Newman’s work shows, the very idea of liberal education implicates the most fundamental questions about human life and destiny, and, at its best, is itself an orientation to transcendent truth and an initiation into the Catholic intellectual tradition.” ~Joshua P. Hochschild Ph.D., Monsignor Robert R. Kline Professor of Philosophy, Mount St. Mary’s University
“A classic is a work of enduring relevance. There is arguably no work of greater ongoing importance for the self-understanding of contemporary colleges and universities—especially Catholic colleges and universities—than John Henry Newman’s classic The Idea of a University. Don Briel and Christopher Blum have contributed to a splendid new study edition with an Introduction, an Afterword, Questions for the Reader, and an updated reading list that situate and unlock this extraordinary work for a twenty-first century readership. This edition is of great timeliness and special urgency in view of the present crisis of higher education.” ~Reinhard Huetter, Visiting Professor, School of Theology and Religious Studies, the Catholic University of America, and Professor of Christian Theology, Divinity School of Duke University
“At a time when intellectuals and the cultured class felt a growing freedom to reject faith as unfounded, or relegate it to the realm of imagination and sentiment, Newman offered an elegant defense of the place of religious truth in the University—it was not just as one discipline among many, but the ‘condition of general knowledge.’ Today Newman’s Idea of a University still offers a compelling vision of what a Catholic university might offer in an increasingly secular age.” ~John Garvey, President, the Catholic University of America
“This excellent new edition of Newman’s classic The Idea of a University, especially intended for students, contains a first-rate introduction, appropriately by Don Briel, the founder of the Catholic Studies Program which has become the model for programs around the world.” ~Ian Ker, Senior Research Fellow, Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University
“Among the great Christian thinkers, Newman remains the most neglected and in many ways the most needed for our times. In The Idea of a University, Newman draws together three points (among others): education is for the person-to-person formation of the mind rather than simply for information; education requires some introduction to the full scope of human knowledge in order for any one field of thought to flourish; and education in the lecture halls cannot be disjoined from what goes on in the residential halls. Reflection on each point shows the need for the Church’s presence as a guard against the corrosive influence of pride and the passions–and thus the urgent need for Catholic universities. But reflection also shows that most Catholic universities today are distancing themselves from each point. Rather than despairing, read Newman’s book illumined by the brilliant essays of Briel and Blum, and arm oneself with the insights needed for the renewal of true education.” ~Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry, Jr., Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
“John Henry Newman’s classic reflection on university life is even more important today than when he wrote it, given the intellectual, social, and spiritual degradations into which the modern multiversity has fallen. A close reading of Newman, in this marvelous new edition, may help spark the reform that American high education desperately needs.” ~George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, DC