(page numbers refer to the Norton Critical edition)

  1. What seems to be the purpose of the Preface? What is the significance and context of the word "Apology" in the title?
  2. Why do you think Newman is so interested in refuting a charge of concealing information?
    • deep anti-Catholic bias of time
    • Victorian concern with precision and accuracy of theological statements
  3. What qualities of Newman's style and cast of mind do you think may have appealed to his contemporaries? (personalizing of religion, portrayal of faith as a religious journey)
  4. Can you find comparisons between this work and G. M. Hopkins's "Wreck of the Deutschland," another convert's response to his world? (Hopkins converted the year the Apologia appeared.) What are some differences in their ethical and theological interests?
  5. If you were a Victorian Anglican layperson worried about the legitimacy of your faith, do you think Newman's arguments would persuade you toward Catholicism? What are his esential arguments for choosing the (Roman) Catholic faith?
    • in past, those who opposed it were heretics 96-97
    • Anglican position can dissolve into liberalism 177
    • Christian church must have unity and antiquity
    • "new criticism" will destroy the biblical bases of faith
    • the doctrine of development shows that Roman Catholicism is an inevitable outcome of faith 146
    • human nature needs a disciplinary agent 189
    • it gives scope to feelings of reverence 135
    • it is certainly right to do what one thinks best 157
  6. Which of these arguments might have especially appealed to Victorian anxieties?
  7. What are his arguments for Christianity? 97 Would they support equally a liberal Protestant position? An appeal on behalf of other orthodox faiths? A belief in transcendentalism or non-institutional theism? 156
  8. Are the emphases of the Tractarians related in any way to the Romantic movement? (e. g. view of nature as an allegory; a Platonic interest in the world of ideal forms; view of the material world as a temporary illusion; Gothic nostalgia for the alleged unity of the middle ages [Scott, Carlyle, Ruskin]; the respect for tradition [Coleridge]; the use of personification, as of angels).
  9. Can you see Romantic features in his view of the sacraments as symbols? (Truth resides in an elevated system of interconnected realities [the authority of scripture] not in the veracity or accuracy of traditional and concrete facts.)
  10. What types of omissions occur in the Apologia, and how do they affect its method of argument? Do they render his account more or less credible?
  11. In what ways does he recount his Evangelical past in order to emphasize its ultimate Catholicity?
  12. What are some fundamental differences between Newman's Catholicism and the emphases of his dissenting background? (less emphasis on doctrines of eternal damnation and salvation through faith; less emphasis on social reform and on the recountal of emotions)
  13. Which of Newman's personal traits caused him to be attracted to High Church rather than Low Church doctrines?
  14. At what age did Newman begin to respond to skepticism and rationalism,and what was his pattern of reaction to them?
  15. What seems to be Newman's most important ethical preoccupation? 86 Is he interested in practical charity? 136 piety of whole being
  16. What are some of the contexts in which he uses metaphors?
  17. How does he respond to the charge that his beliefs may be silly or irrational? (36, he came to them through intelligble processes of thought)
  18. Does the implication that a faith may be validated through the honesty of its supporters seem convincing? Characteristically Victorian?
  19. According to his account, is Newman an ambitious man?
  20. Were there non-intellectual factors which reinforced Newman's shift from the Episcopal Chruch to Rome? 150
  21. How are Newman's political views related to his religious beliefs?
  22. Is the sequence of chapters cumulative? What is the effect of the final chapter?
  23. Is there a sufficient progression and structure to the book? What makes one keep reading?
  24. Are you able to gain much sense of Newman's personal character and manner from reading this book? How persuasive do you find this manner, and why?
  25. What value do you think Newman places on human love and friendship?
  26. Can you comment on the style of the Apologia? Why do you think it has been much admired? (painstaking precision of statement) How would you characterize its diction? Are there elements of humor?
  27. In what ways does Newman feel that spiritual gain may be temporal loss?
  28. Is the experience of exactly reversing an earlier position an upsetting or liberating experience? Do you think the reader enjoys this sense of brinksmanship?
  29. How do you think Newman's account of his early life was affected by being written so many years after it was lived? (reports his own emotions and notions from the outside rather than explaining them)
  30. What effect do you feel Newman's conversion may have had upon religious opinion in England?