The present work analyzes John Henry Newman's (1801-90) notion of
first principles. This notion plays a key role in his solution to the problem:
why do some people accept the Christian message, while others do not? A survey of Newman's works shows that this notion covers four different types of principles. The thesis offers a fundamental theological analysis of the chain of first principles, which - according to Newman - are required for faith in God and in Christ. It also indicates that Newman's theory can only be fruitful in a theistic environment.