Chadwick, Henry 1920-2008

views updated

Chadwick, Henry 1920-2008


See index for CA sketch: Born June 23, 1920, in Bromley, Kent, England; died June 17, 2008, in Oxford, England. Anglican priest, church historian, educator, translator, editor, and author. Chadwick earned enormous respect for every facet of his lifework in the church and the academy. He was ordained a priest of the Church of England in 1943, and his career reached outward from there. Chadwick was a fellow and chaplain of Queen's College, Cambridge, between 1946 and 1955. He moved to Oxford in 1959 as the Regius Professor of Divinity of Christ Church and canon of the cathedral. It was a move between two prestigious and often competing institutions that few scholars were invited to make. Then in 1982, after a formal retirement from Oxford, he returned to Cambridge; he served as master of Peterhouse from 1987 until his second retirement in 1993. During this distinguished career Chadwick also pursued his interest in the history of the early Christian church, acquiring a body of knowledge that colleagues and critics regarded as legendary and virtually beyond reproach. His research on conflict in the early church informed his understanding of religious conflict through the ages to the present day, and he urged modern theologians and scholars to remember and learn from the lessons of the past. In the 1970s he participated in an interdenominational commission to explore paths toward unity between Anglican and Roman Catholic doctrine, but for the most part Chadwick confined his scholarship to the written word.

His first major work was a weighty translation of the Contra Celsum of Origen, a leader of the Christian church in first-century Alexandria, Egypt. When the translation was published in 1953, Chadwick accepted the editorship of the Journal of Theological Studies, serving as editor and frequent contributor for more than thirty years. He edited many books as well, and published his own work in volumes for both the scholar and the general reader. Chadwick's original writings include The Early Church (1967), Heresy and Orthodoxy in the Early Church (1991), The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great (2001), and East and West: The Making of a Rift in the Church, from Apostolic Times until the Council of Florence (2002). Chadwick's dedication to the Anglican church and to his country's prominent educational and religious institutions were formally acknowledged when he was decorated a knight commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1989.



Evans, G.R., editor, Christian Authority: Essays in Honour of Henry Chadwick, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1988.

Williams, Rowan, editor, The Making of Orthodoxy: Essays in Honour of Henry Chadwick, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1989.


Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2008, p. B11.

New York Times, June 22, 2008, p. A18.

Times (London, England), June 19, 2008, p. 64.

About this article

Chadwick, Henry 1920-2008

Updated About content Print Article