The Nature of Belief


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Martin Cyril D’Arcy, S.J.

The Nature of Belief, first published in 1931 and subsequently revised in 1957 to reflect effects of World War II and the post-war years, addresses questions that continue to the present day concerning the what, why, and how of faith. Martin Cyril D’Arcy defends and develops insights from John Henry Newman’s Grammar of Assent, even as he does not shy away from criticizing traces of nominalism in the Cardinal’s description of the nature of belief. D’Arcy similarly engages with the effects of empiricism, materialism, and positivism on the comprehension of belief.

What is called faith is another instance, and the highest instance of all, of interpretation…it is not an interlude, a distracting side issue, but the curtain raiser of the final and divine interpretation of life. (Martin Cyril D’Arcy, S.J.)

More than a mere analysis of the history of ideas, The Nature of Belief boldly presents a clear and coherent formulation of the nature of belief and what belief means, epistemologically, psychologically, and philosophically. Ultimately, D’Arcy’s writing evidences certain truths which point to the Catholic faith as the gate into the fullness of life—a gate one enters only by confessing I believe.

Martin Cyril D’Arcy, S.J., (1888–1976) was a Roman Catholic priest of the Society of Jesus. A philosopher and professor, D’Arcy taught at Oxford University and Cornell University, Georgetown University and Gonzaga University, and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University. D’Arcy was a friend and advisor to a number of the twentieth century’s most acclaimed literary figures, including Evelyn Waugh, Dorothy L. Sayers, W. H. Auden, and T. S. Eliot.

Paperback: 300pp.

ISBN: 978-1944418496