William Ralph Inge

Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, London

The Philosophy of Plotinus

Inge’s series of lectures serve as an excellent introduction to neo-Platonic thought, Plotinus, and the tradition of Christian mysticism. Providing historical context for Plotinus, Inge remains grounded in a rigorous approach to philosophical history. He draws from a deep knowledge of Greek philosophy and the tradition of mystical theology, presenting Plotinus as integral to understanding Christian mystic theology. In closing, Inge asserts that we are, and should be, ‘learners to the end’. 


William Ralph Inge was born on 6 June 1860 in Crayke, England. Best known for his sharp-witted and controversial positions expressed in his Evening Standard column, he was widely known as ‘The Gloomy Dean’. Beginning as Assistant Master at Eton in 1884 teaching classics, Inge was ordained as a deacon in the Church of England in 1888. That same year, he was elected Fellow and Tutor at Hertford College, Oxford. After a brief period as a vicar, he became Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge in 1907. He left academia to become Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1911.

Promoted to Knight Commander of the Victorian Order in 1930, Inge received honorary degrees from several institutions including Oxford, Edinburgh, and St Andrews. Authoring over thirty-five books, his most notable works include Christian Mysticism (1899), The Religious Philosophy of Plotinus and some Modern Philosophies of Religion (1914), Outspoken Essays (1919), The Idea of Progress (1920), The Victorian Age: the Rede Lecture for 1922 (1922), and Personal Religion and the Life of Devotion (1924).

Published/Archival Resources