John Henry Newman: An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent

(215 words)
  • Marion Spies (Bergische Universität-GHS Wuppertal)

Earlier in his career, Newman defined 'assent' as the acceptance of a proposition as true. In 1870, in his An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, he tries to justify man's right to be certain, especially in his religious belief. In the first part of the book, Newman strives to demonstrate that one can believe what one cannot understand. This is possible because man's devotion is protected by Church dogma and because there is a constant connection between man and God, made manifest by our sense of moral obligation. In the second part of the book Newman tries to show that one can believe what one cannot absolutely prove. This is mainly so because Christians – once they have accepted certain general religious truths – continue t…

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Spies, Marion. "An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 January 2002
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]