Ian KerOxford University
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John Henry Newman famously insisted that "the heart is commonly reached not through the reason, but through the imagination." As a theologian, apologist, and the 19th century's most famous convert, Newman was keenly attentive to the foundations of religious belief. His apologetic career is, in some sense, an appeal to the imagination in contradistinction to the prevailing empiricism of Locke and Hume. In his novels, sermons, lectures, and even his philosophical magnum opus, the Grammar of Assent, Newman defends an understanding of the imagination that harmonizes religious faith and rational inquiry.
Fr. Ian Ker is a Fellow at Blackfriars Hall at the University of Oxford. He has taught both English literature and theology at universities in the United States and Britain. He is the author and editor of more than twenty books on Newman, including the standard biography that Oxford University Press reissued prior to Newman's beatification. Fr. Ker is also the author of The Catholic Revival in English Literature 1845-1961, Mere Catholicism, G. K. Chesterton: A Biography, and, most recently, Newman on Vatican II.