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The Logic of Conversion

The Logic of Conversion

The Harmony of Heart, Will, Mind, & Imagination in John Henry Newman

By Robert C. Christie

400 pp

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About the Book

The life and work of John Henry Newman makes abundantly clear that the work of a true theologian is not conjured in the void of an ivory-tower mind, but emerges co-creatively from mind informed by heart—heart, that is, as an organ of a deep experiential truth-discernment lying beyond conceptual expression. With heart and mind thus attuned, discernment of the heart comes into alignment with that of the intellect. This leads to the discovery of the experience of love in the truest sense, which Newman himself formulates as: “I know that I know that I know that I know.” But then, in its own way, this is nothing other than the classical definition of theology as faith seeking understanding! This study, then, follows the trail of how Newman “came to know what he knew” in order to shed further light on his conversion journey for our own dire time. Newman’s pilgrimage has proven to be of archetypal significance for thousands upon thousands of religious seekers for well over a century. The author’s hope is that this present book may reformulate and rejuvenate Newman’s story for a whole new generation.


“Robert Christie’s book The Logic of Conversion is a treasure trove of references to contemporary reflection on St. John Henry Newman’s life and thought.  From the theological methodology of Bernard Lonergan highlighting the human process of conversion, to developments in the social sciences and theological anthropology, this book is an indispensable aid to understanding Newman’s influence on contemporary culture.”


author of Startling Strangeness: Reading Lonergan’s Insight


“In this excellent book, Robert C. Christie offers an in-depth study of Newman’s conversion. As the title indicates, he focuses on the intellectual, affective, moral, and aesthetic elements, examining Newman’s relationships with family members and friends, the letters to his brother Charles, his Lectures on JustificationThe Prophetical Office, the University Sermons, and other sermons and texts that show the interplay of these elements with the development of Newman’s faith and ecclesiology. In a novel manner, Christie explains and highlights the influence of Fr. Charles Russell and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius on Newman, leading to his final submission of faith to the Catholic Church.”


ed., A Guide to John Henry Newman: His Life and Thought 


“A remarkably thorough, detailed, and penetrating study of both Newman’s experience of conversion and his many observations and reflections on the subject. Dr Christie uses every available source to illuminate his subject as well as placing Newman’s thought firmly in a theological and philosophical context. This work will stand as a reference point for future students and scholars.”


President emeritus of the French Newman Association, author of Dieu intérieur. La Théologie spirituelle de John Henry Newman

About the Author

ROBERT C. CHRISTIE is past President of the Saint John Henry Newman Association, serving on its board of directors for more than twenty years. He was also editor of the Association’s newsletter during that period. He has authored numerous articles, book chapters, and a stage play about Newman, titled Echoes from Home. His work focuses particularly on Newman’s conversion experiences and interpersonal relationships, and how they informed his theological and spiritual insights. Formerly Senior Professor of Philosophy and Religion at DeVry University in North Brunswick, New Jersey, he has also taught theology at numerous Roman Catholic colleges and universities, including Seton Hall and Saint Peter’s. He is the former Executive Director of the National Institute of Newman Studies and a founding member of that Institute’s Board of Trustees, and the former editor-in-chief of the Institute’s publication, the Newman Studies Journal. His doctoral dissertation was a study of Newman’s conversions, under the direction of Newman scholar Avery Cardinal Dulles. He also has twenty-five years’ experience in professional theatre, which he has employed as a major tool in communicating the legacy of Saint John Henry Newman. Recently, he has edited and published two collections of essays, Saint John Henry Newman: Preserving and Promulgating His Legacy (2019), and The Relevance of Newman in a Post-Christian World (2021), with Keith Beaumont.

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