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First Principles and Our Way to Faith

A Fundamental-Theological Study of John Henry Newman's Notion of First Principles

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Rik Achten

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.
Contents: The background of Newman's first principles - Four different types of first principles - The first principles of Christianity - Conscience - The validity of Newman's view.