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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion


Publication details for Professor Gerard Loughlin

Loughlin, Gerard (2011). "The Wonder of Newman's Education". New Blackfriars 92(1038): 224-242.

Author(s) from Durham


This article examines the place of wonder in Newman's account of university education. It pays particular attention to Newman's ‘Rise and Progress of Universities’ (1872) rather than to his better known The Idea of a University (1873). The article first introduces some ideas about wonders and wondering, as found in medieval thought and in Newman's writings, before proceeding to the wonder that was Newman's attempt to establish a university in Dublin, and that is his history (historia) of the university: a story (fabula) that is every bit as marvellous as any medieval tale. Newman's educational romance involves the islands of Britannia and Hibernia, and the cities of Athens, Rome and Dublin. The article also considers the place of personal encounter and the written word in Newman's idea and practice of education, before finally offering some brief reflections on the diversity of modern society and university education. The article closes by suggesting the necessity of wonder for the gaining of knowledge.