Charles E. Raven

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Charles E. Raven

British King's spiritual adviser. Washington, D.C., March 21. The Revered Charles Earle Raven, D.D., Chaplain to King George VI of England, Canon of Ely Cathedral and Regius Professor of LCCN2016875292.tif
Raven in 1939
Charles Earle Raven

(1885-07-04)4 July 1885
London, England
Died8 July 1964(1964-07-08) (aged 79)
Cambridge, England
TitleVice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge (1947–1949)
  • Margaret E. B. Wollaston
    (m. 1910; died 1944)
  • Ethel Moors
    (m. 1954; died 1954)
  • Hélène Jeanty
    (m. 1956)
Ecclesiastical career
ReligionChristianity (Anglican)
ChurchChurch of England
Academic background
Alma materGonville and Caius College, Cambridge
Academic work
School or tradition

Charles Earle Raven QHC FBA (4 July 1885 – 8 July 1964) was an English theologian, Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, and Master of Christ's College, Cambridge. His works have been influential in the history of science publishing on the positive effects that theology has had upon modern science.[10]


Raven was born in Paddington, London on 4 July 1885,[11] and was educated at Uppingham School.[12][13] He obtained an open classical scholarship at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge,[11] and then became lecturer in divinity, fellow and dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.[14] In 1932, he was elected Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, a position he held until 1950.[11] He was Master of Christ's College, Cambridge (1939–1950).[11]

He was a clergyman in the Church of England, and attained the rank of canon. During the First World War he served as a chaplain to the forces and what he witnessed led him to take a pacifist position, a subject on which he wrote extensively for the rest of his life. As a pacifist, he was an active supporter of the Peace Pledge Union and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.[15]

He first married Margaret Ermyntrude Buchanan Wollaston in 1910, with whom he had four children.[13] Raven was the father of John Raven, the classical scholar and botanist, and grandfather of Andrew Raven and Sarah Raven.[5]

His third marriage was to Hélène Jeanty, a Belgian widow whose husband had been killed by the occupying Germans in World War II. They met while she was working for the World Council of Churches (WCC). They worked together on reconciliation between students of different races, a continuation of her WCC work helping displaced Jews and Germans. She outlived Raven, dying on 9 October 1990 and, continuing the charitable work during her lifetime, left £150,000 to Christ's College to support medical students from overseas.[16]

Raven was the Gifford Lecturer for 1950–1952 in Natural Religion and Christian Theology, at Edinburgh University.[13] He was president of the Field Studies Council from 1953 to 1957 and of the Botanical Society of the British Isles from 1951 to 1955.[17] He won the James Tait Black Award in 1947 for his book English Naturalists from Neckam to Ray.

Some of his writings have been described as an early example of ecotheology.[18][verification needed]


Raven was an advocate of non-Darwinian evolutionary theories such as Lamarckism. He also supported the theistic evolution of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.[19]

Historian Peter J. Bowler has written that Raven's book The Creator Spirit, "outlined the case for a nonmaterialistic biology as the foundation for a renewed natural theology."[19]

List of selected publications[edit]

  • What think ye of Christ? (1916)
  • Christian Socialism, 1848-1854 (1920)
  • Apollinarianism: An Essay on the Christology of the Early Church (1923)
  • In Praise of Birds (1925)
  • The Creator Spirit (1927)
  • Women and the Ministry (1929)
  • A Wanderer's Way (1929)
  • The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ (1933)
  • Raven, Charles E. (1950) [1942]. John Ray, naturalist: his life and works (2nd ed.). Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521310833.
  • Science, Religion, and the Future, a course of eight lectures (1943)
  • Raven, Charles E. (1947). English naturalists from Neckham to Ray: a study of the making if the modern world. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781108016346.
  • Raven, Charles E. (1947). English Naturalists from Neckam to Ray: A Study of the Making of the Modern World. Cambridge University Press. p. 162. ISBN 978-1-108-01634-6.
  • Alex Wood: the man and his message (1952)
  • The Theological Basis of Christian Pacifism. London: The Fellowship of Reconciliation (1952)
  • Natural Religion and Christian Theology (1953)
  • Science, Medicine and Morals: A Survey and a Suggestion (1959)
  • Paul and the Gospel of Jesus (1960)
  • Teilhard de Chardin: Scientist and Seer (1962)

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Randall 2015, p. 22.
  2. ^ a b Randall 2015, p. 35.
  3. ^ a b Randall 2015, p. 21.
  4. ^ Randall 2015, p. 40.
  5. ^ a b Pepper, Simon (10 October 2005). "Andrew Raven". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  6. ^ Randall 2015, pp. 29–30.
  7. ^ Randall 2015, pp. 31–32.
  8. ^ Hefner 2001, p. 234.
  9. ^ Randall 2015, p. 36.
  10. ^ Klaaren 1977, p. 4.
  11. ^ a b c d Randall 2015, p. 20.
  12. ^ Butler 1965, p. 254; Randall 2015, p. 21.
  13. ^ a b c Poon, Heidi. "Charles Earle Raven". The Gifford Lectures. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  14. ^ Randall 2015.
  15. ^ Brock & Young 1999, p. 101.
  16. ^ "Spotlight on Hélène Jeanty-Raven". Pieces (Christ's College Newsletter), Lent Term 2021 (40): 11. February 2021.
  17. ^ Butler 1965, p. 256.
  18. ^ Bouma-Prediger 2017, pp. 145–158.
  19. ^ a b Bowler 2004, pp. 61–62.


Further reading[edit]

  • Dillistone, F. W. (1975). Charles Raven: Naturalist, Historian, Theologian. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Alexander Nairne
Regius Professor of Divinity
at the University of Cambridge

Succeeded by
Michael Ramsey
Preceded by
Charles Galton Darwin
Master of Christ's College, Cambridge
Succeeded by
Brian Downs
Preceded by
Henry Thirkill
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge
Succeeded by
Sydney Castle Roberts
Preceded by
Niels Bohr
Gifford Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Arnold J. Toynbee
Preceded by
Richard Aldington
James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Biography
Succeeded by
Percy Scholes