Ian Thomas Ramsey

(1915—1972) bishop of Durham

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Ian Ramsey was born in Bolton on 31 January 1915 and died of heart failure at Broadcasting House in London on 6 October 1972. Son of a postal worker, he was educated at the St John's School, Farnworth and at the Farnworth Grammar School (on scholarship, 1925–33), before studying at Christ's College, Cambridge (also on scholarships, 1933–40), where he earned his MA with firsts in mathematics (1936), moral sciences (1938) and theology (1939), under the philosophical tutelage of A.C. Ewing. Ramsey continued studies toward ordination at Ripon Hall (1940). He served as assistant curate at Headington Quarry, Oxford (1940–43), where he met and married Margretta (usually Margaret) McKay of Coleraine, near Londonderry. In 1943 he moved to Cambridge, where he was Chaplain of Christ's College (1943–9), fellow of Christ's College and Director of Studies in Theology and Moral Science (1944–51) and tutor at Christ's College (1949–51). After appointment as Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion and fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, he enjoyed his most productive years as author and lecturer (1951–66), publishing all his major philosophical works during this period. In 1966 he became Bishop of Durham, where he threw himself into an extraordinary regimen of pastoral and ecclesiastical reform duties, including active participation in the House of Lords. His continued philosophical interests were expressed in an edited compilation (1971), containing extracts for use by students, and in a posthumously published book (1973), as well as in active correspondence and conversation, but since he refused to moderate his episcopal schedule as his health failed, he literally worked himself to death at the age of fifty-seven.


From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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