Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Glory Descending: Michael Ramsey and His Writings

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

Glory Descending: Michael Ramsey and His Writings

Article excerpt

DOUGLAS DALES, JOHN HABGOOD, GEOFFREY ROWELL, AND ROWAN WILLIAMS. Glory Descending: Michael Ramsey and His Writings. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 2005. Pp. xxi + 258, introduction, bibliography, index. $25.00.

The review of Owen Chadwick's biography of Archbishop Michael Ramsey in the Church Times was headed "Pied Piper of Lambeth." The reviewer noted "the admiration, the loyalty and the affection" felt by many and underlying this characterization. Douglas Dales, currently chaplain and head of religious studies at Marlborough College, Wiltshire, met Ramsey when the latter was living at Cuddesdon in retirement. Dales, at the time training for ordination, formed a close friendship with the Ramseys and makes it clear that he regards Michael Ramsey as a saint, meaning by this what Ramsey meant-the capacity "to make God real" to others. In addition Dales claims that "The spiritual theology of Michael Ramsey could prove to be a foundation for a new era of integrity and confidence for Anglican Christianity in its doctrine, ethics and witness throughout the world" (xiii).

Glory Descending has two main parts: an anthology from Ramsey's writings (now largely out of print) and a collection of nine essays. In an earlier book (Glory: the Spiritual Theology of Michael Ramsey) Dales expounded what he called Ramsey's "spiritual theology" with extensive quotation from the archbishop's writings. The first part of this new book carries this approach further and provides a wide-ranging selection of quotations grouped under four main headings: The Word of God, The Cross, The Lord of Glory, and The Body of Christ. A preface to the anthology touches on five main topics: Sanctity, Church Unity, The Bible, Authority, and Contemplation. Each section or sub-section of the anthology is introduced briefly, a summary biographical outline is provided along with a useful bibliography of works by Ramsey and others, while there are separate indices for biblical references, personal names, and subjects. …

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