Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

William J. Kelly, S.J.

Second Advisor

William J. Sullivan, S.J.

Third Advisor

Kenneth Hagen

Fourth Advisor

Thomas Caldwell, S.J

Fifth Advisor

Patrick J. Burns, S.J.


In his appraisal of John W. Nevin, Winthrop Hudson remarked of him that "the Main reason for his failure to be heard was the fact that he addressed himself to issues which were not to be keenly felt until the twentieth century.1 The twentieth century is indeed engaged, like Nevin was over a century ago, in a reexamination of the nature of the Church, her tradition, her ministry, and the problem of how all of these relate to Church authority.

Nevin's historical consciousness and interest in the corporate nature of the Church, his opposition to antihistorical individualism, and his kinship for currents of romanticism make of him a subject of relevant interest today.2 There is today a rekindled interest in the nature of Church authority that desires, like Nevin, to ground that authority in a knowledge of the Church's long history of development.

A study of Nevin's positions is therefore timely. It is made so by the Christological centrality of his theology and by his belief that a properly functioning Church authority will not only be exercised in constant reference to Christ but will also operate from within the total Christian community rather than as an entity extraneous to and above it.



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