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Owen Chadwick, Eminent Historian of Christianity, Dies at 99

Historians in the News
tags: obituary, Owen Chadwick



The Rev. Owen Chadwick, an educator and prolific historian of Christianity whose works encompassed sweeping narratives, like his two-volume history of the Victorian church, as well as incisive biographies and vivid pictures of rural church life, died on July 17 at his home in Cambridge, England. He was 99.

Anna Matthews, the vicar of St. Bene’t’s Church in Cambridge, confirmed his death. Professor Chadwick was an ordained Anglican priest.

Long associated with Cambridge University, Professor Chadwick was master of Selwyn College there for nearly 30 years, beginning in the mid-1950s, and Regius professor of modern history from 1968.

After publishing “John Cassian: A Study in Primitive Monasticism” (1950), about the monk and theologian who brought the ideas of Egyptian monasticism to the West in the fifth century, Professor Chadwick turned out a long series of histories remarkable for their variety, authority and engaging style.

“What is memorable about Chadwick’s writing is its pleasing economy and uncluttered clarity of articulation,” John Morrill, a fellow at Selwyn College, wrote in an obituary in The Guardian of London. “He wrote as he spoke: To read him is to hear him.” ...

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