Apologia Pro Vita Sua

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Apologia Pro Vita Sua
Title page of the first edition of Apologia Pro Vita Sua.jpg
Title page of the first edition.
Author John Henry Newman
Country England
Language English
Publisher Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green
Publication date

Apologia Pro Vita Sua (Latin: A defence of one's own life) is John Henry Newman's defence of his religious opinions, published in 1864 in response to Charles Kingsley of the Church of England after Newman quit his position as the Anglican vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford.


John Henry Newman was regarded as a premier religious figure even before writing this definitive essay. The backdrop for the essay was a mid-century Anglican theological controversy in which Newman and other Anglicans were calling for a return to a former more disciplined and traditional authoritarian hierarchy.

Friction during the years from 1833 to 1841 led Newman and his allies in the Oxford Movement to publish a statement, the Tracts for the Times, to which Newman was a contributor. The tensions culminated in Newman's 1845 resignation as Anglican vicar of St. Mary's, Oxford and his departure from the Anglican church seeking the Roman Catholics.[1]

One of Newman's rivals was Anglican Charles Kingsley of the broad church party, who responded to Newman's departure with attacks impeaching his truthfulness and honor.[1] The flowing, almost poetic prose of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua was a spiritual autobiographical defense to Kingsley's attacks.

Newman's book was influential with both churches and Newman was ultimately ordained by the Roman Catholics, where he soon became established as one of the foremost exponents of Catholicism in England.[1]

The book was very well received and became a bestseller, remaining in print today. A revised version of the Apologia Pro Vita Sua with many passages rewritten and some parts omitted, was published in 1865.[2]


  1. ^ Newman, John Henry. "Apologia pro Vita Sua". newmanreader.org. Retrieved 23 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Svaglic, Martin J. (1952). "The Revision of Newman's 'Apologia'," Modern Philology, Vol. 50, No. 1, pp. 43–49.

Further reading[edit]

  • Colby, Robert A. (1953). "The Poetical Structure of Newman's 'Apologia Pro Vita Sua'," The Journal of Religion, Vol. 33, No. 1, pp. 47–57.
  • Deen, Leonard W. (1962). "The Rhetoric of Newman's Apologia," ELH, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 224–238.
  • Peterson, Linda H. (1985). "Newman's Apologia Pro Vita Sua and the Traditions of the English Spiritual Autobiography," PMLA, Vol. 100, No. 3, pp. 300–314.
  • Ward, Wilfrid (1913). Introduction to Apologia Pro Vita Sua. London: Oxford University Press, pp. v–xxx.

External links[edit]