To appreciate the importance of any major intellectual figure it is necessary to look at the broader context in which they lived and worked. Victorian Britain was a place of massive industrial growth, imperial expansion abroad and the origin of novel conceptual frameworks. The effects wrought by these changes on politics, ethics and religion were radical and not always positive.

Much of Newman’s work can be seen as both directly and indirectly responding to some of the trends that he observed around him. Those who seek a comprehensive appreciation of Newman need to familiarise themselves with these trends and the events of his time