William Ralph Inge
6 June 1860
|Died||26 February 1954|
|Alma mater||King's College, Cambridge|
Mary Catharine Inge
(m. 1904; died 1949)
|Church||Church of England|
|Title||Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral|
William Ralph Inge //; (6 June 1860 – 26 February 1954) was an English author, Anglican priest, professor of divinity at Cambridge, and Dean of St Paul's Cathedral, which provided the appellation by which he was widely known, Dean Inge. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature three times.(
Early life and education
He was born on 6 June 1860 in Crayke, Yorkshire. His father was William Inge, Provost of Worcester College, Oxford, and his mother Susanna Churton, daughter of Edward Churton, Archdeacon of Cleveland. Inge was educated at Eton College, where he was a King's Scholar and won the Newcastle Scholarship in 1879, and at King's College, Cambridge, where he won a number of prizes, as well as taking firsts in both parts of the Classical Tripos.
He had retired from full-time church ministry in 1934.
Inge was also a trustee of London's National Portrait Gallery from 1921 until 1951.
Inge was a strong proponent of the spiritual type of religion—"that autonomous faith which rests upon experience and individual inspiration"—as opposed to one of coercive authority. He was therefore outspoken in his criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church. His thought, on the whole, represents a blending of traditional Christian theology with elements of Platonic philosophy. He shares this in common with one of his favourite writers, Benjamin Whichcote, the first of the Cambridge Platonists.
He was nicknamed The Gloomy Dean because of his pessimistic views in his Romanes Lecture of 1920, "The Idea of Progress" and in his Evening Standard articles. In his Romanes Lecture he said that although mankind's accumulated experience and wonderful discoveries had great value, they did not constitute real progress in human nature itself.
He disapproved of democracy, which he called "an absurdity" and compared it to "the famous occasion when the voice of the people cried, Crucify Him!" He wrote "Human beings are born unequal, and the only persons who have a right to govern their neighbours are those who are competent to do so." He advanced various arguments why women should have fewer voting rights than men, if any.
He was also a eugenicist and wrote considerably on the subject. In his book Outspoken Essays, he devotes an entire chapter to this subject. His views included that the state should decide which couples be allowed to have children.
Inge opposed social welfare “on the grounds that it penalized the successful while subsidizing the weak and feckless”.
He was also known for his support for nudism. He supported the publishing of Maurice Parmelee's book, The New Gymnosophy: Nudity and the Modern Life, and was critical of town councillors who were insisting that bathers wear full bathing costumes.
He was made a Commander of the Victorian Order (CVO) in 1918 and promoted to Knight Commander (KCVO) in 1930. He received Honorary Doctorates of Divinity from both Oxford and Aberdeen Universities, Honorary Doctorates of Literature from both Durham and Sheffield, and Honorary Doctorates of Laws from both Edinburgh and St. Andrews. He was also an honorary fellow of both King's and Jesus Colleges at Cambridge, and of Hertford College at Oxford. In 1921, he was elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.
Inge's wife, Mary Catharine, was the daughter of Henry Maxwell Spooner. They had three children. Their daughter, Paula, developed type 1 diabetes before insulin was widely available in the UK and died in 1923, aged 11. In 1941, their youngest son Richard, also in the ministry, died during an RAF training flight. Inge's wife herself died in 1949.
Inge spent his later life in Brightwell, where he died on 26 February 1954, aged 93.
The following bibliography is a selection taken mainly from Adam Fox's biography Dean Inge and his biographical sketch in Crockford's Clerical Directory.
- Society in Rome under the Caesars 1888
- Eton Latin Grammar 1888
- Christian Mysticism (Bampton Lectures) 1899
- Faith 1900
- Contentio Veritatis Essays in Constructive Theology by Six Oxford Tutors (two essays) 1902
- Faith and Knowledge: Sermons 1904
- Light, Life and Love (Selections from the German mystics of the Middle Ages) 1904 also online at Project Gutenberg and CCEL
- Studies of English Mystics 1905
- Truth and Falsehood in Religion (Cambridge Lectures 1906
- Personal Idealism and Mysticism (Paddock Lectures) 1906
- All Saints' Sermons 1907
- Faith and its Psychology (Jowett Lectures) 1909
- Speculum Animae 1911
- The Church and the Age 1912
- The Religious Philosophy of Plotinus and some Modern Philosophies of Religion 1914
- Types of Christian Saintliness 1915
- Christian Mysticism, considered in eight lectures delivered before the University of Oxford (1918)
- The Philosophy of Plotinus (Gifford Lectures) 1918. Online: Volume 1 Volume 2 Print versions: ISBN 1-59244-284-6 (softcover), ISBN 0-8371-0113-1 (hardcover)
- Outspoken Essays I 1919 & II 1922
- The Idea of Progress (Romanes Lecture) 1920
- The Victorian Age: the Rede Lecture for 1922 1922
- Assessments and Anticipations 1922 (2nd ed. 1929)
- Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion 1924
- Lay Thoughts of a Dean 1926
- The Platonic Tradition in English Religious Thought Hulsean Lectures 1926 ISBN 0-8414-5055-2
- The Church in the World 1927
- Christian Ethics and Modern Problems 1930
- More Lay Thoughts of a Dean 1931
- Things New and Old 1933
- God and the Astronomers 1933
- The Post Victorians 1933 (Introduction only)
- The Gate of Life 1935
- Our Present Discontents 1938 ISBN 0-8369-2846-6
- A Pacifist in Trouble 1939 ISBN 0-8369-2192-5
- The Fall of the Idols 1940
- Talks in a Free Country 1942 ISBN 0-8369-2774-5
- Mysticism in Religion 1947 ISBN 0-8371-8953-5
- The End of an Age and Other Essays 1948
- Diary of a Dean 1949
- The Things That Remain edited by W R Matthews 1958
- Inge - Definitions from Dictionary.com
- "Nomination Database". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "Inge, William Ralph (IN879WR)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Gifford Biography
- "Nomination Database". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 19 April 2017.
- "A Cause Lost—and Forgotten". University Bookman. March 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
- p122, More Lay Thoughts Of A Dean, William Ralph Inge, 1933 https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.216045/page/n121/mode/2up?q=happy
- p121-127, More Lay Thoughts Of A Dean, William Ralph Inge, 1933 https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.216045/page/n121/mode/2up?q=happy
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, https://www.giffordlectures.org/lecturers/william-ralph-inge
- Shaw 1937, p. 24.
- Parmelee, Maurice (1927). The new gymnosophy: the philosophy of nudity as applied in modern life. F. H. Hitchcock.
- Hirning 2013, p. 276.
- "Dean Inge and The Nudists". Gloucestershire Echo. 17 November 1932. p. 1 col E. Retrieved 2 May 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
- See Portraits of Mary Catharine Inge.
- Shaw, Elton Raymond (1937). The Body Taboo: Its Origin, Effect, and Modern Denial. Washington D.C.: Shaw Publishing.
- Hirning, L. Clovis (2013). "Clothing and Nudism". In Albert Ellis (ed.). The Encyclopædia of Sexual Behaviour. Albert Abarbanel. Elsevier. ISBN 978-1-4832-2510-4.
- Fox, Adam (1960). Dean Inge. London: J. Murray.
- Helm, Robert Meredith (1962). The Gloomy Dean: the thought of William Ralph Inge. J.F. Blair.
- Inge, W. R. (1949). Diary of a Dean: St. Paul's, 1911-1934. London: Hutchinson. ISBN 978-1-258-85399-0.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: William Inge (priest)|
- Works written by or about William Inge at Wikisource
- Bibliographic directory from Project Canterbury
- Works by William Inge at Project Gutenberg
- Works by or about William Inge at Internet Archive
- Works by or about Dean Inge at Internet Archive
- William Ralph Inge biographical notes and Lectures available from the Gifford Lectures website
- Portraits of William Ralph Inge at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- Portraits of Mary Catharine Inge at the National Portrait Gallery, London
- HyperDictionary Definition
- W.R. Inge from Questia.com
- Information from Christian Classic Ethereal Library
- Light, Life and Love
- Recording of Inge speaking
|Church of England titles|
| Dean of St Paul's
| Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity
1907 – c. 1911
|Non-profit organization positions|
| President of the Aristotelian Society
F. C. S. Schiller
| President of the Modern Churchmen's Union
|Awards and achievements|
Frederick H. Gillett
| Cover of Time magazine
24 November 1924