(Guardian) The Rev. Professor Owen Chadwick RIP

The religious historian Owen Chadwick, who has died aged 99, was one of the most remarkable men of letters of the 20th century. He held two Cambridge University chairs over a period of 25 years, was its vice-chancellor during the student unrest of the late 1960s, chaired a commission that transformed the structures of the Church of England, and declined major bishoprics.

His range of publication was exceptional: he was a master of the large canvas ”“ The Secularisation of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (1976) or The Popes and European Revolution (1981); of the full-scale biography such as those of Hensley Henson (1983), the stormy petrel of church politics, and of Michael Ramsey (1990); and of the cameo, as in Victorian Miniature (1960), his study of the fraught relationship between a 19th-century squire and parson, drawing on the papers of each, or as in Mackenzie’s Grave (1959), his wonderful story of the bishop sent to lead a mission up the Zambesi and whose disappearance brought out the best and the worst in Victorian Christianity and public life.

In addition to his one textbook ”“ The Pelican History of the Church: The Reformation (1964), the first book on many reading lists for a quarter of a century ”“ he produced several books for a wider readership, including A History of Christianity (1995) and a short biography of John Henry Newman (1983), but few articles or reviews.

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One comment on “(Guardian) The Rev. Professor Owen Chadwick RIP

  1. Terry Tee says:

    Am I the only one who found his biography of Michael Ramsey very disappointing? Did not capture the man at all and its style was also strange, written in short, staccato sentences.