World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hastings Rashdall

Hastings Rashdall.

Hastings Rashdall, DL (24 June 1858 in London – 9 February 1924 in Worthing) was an English philosopher, theologian, and historian. He expounded a theory known as ideal utilitarianism, and he was a major historian of the universities of the Middle Ages.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Selected works 2
  • References 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5


Rashdall was the son of an Anglican priest. He was educated at Harrow[2] and received a scholarship for New College, Oxford. After short tenures at St David's University College and University College, Durham, Rashdall was made a Fellow of first Hertford College, Oxford, then New College, Oxford, and dedicates his main work, The Theory of Good and Evil (1907), to the memory of his teachers Thomas Hill Green and Henry Sidgwick.

The dedication is appropriate, for the particular version of utilitarianism put forward by Rashdall owes elements to both Green and Sidgwick.[3] Whereas he holds that the concepts of good and value are logically prior to that of right, he gives right a more than instrumental significance. His idea of good owes more to Green than to the hedonistic utilitarians. "The ideal of human life is not the mere juxtaposition of distinct goods, but a whole in which each good is made different by the presence of others." Rashdall has been eclipsed as a moral philosopher by Berkeleyan, believing in metaphysical idealism.

His historical study, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages, was described in the introduction to its recent reprinting as "one of the first comparative works on the subject" whose "scope and breadth has assured its place as a key work in intellectual history."

His The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology surveyed different approaches to the Christian doctrine of atonement, concluding with an influential defence of the "subjective" theory of the atonement that Rashdall attributed to both Peter Abelard and Peter Lombard. Rashdall argued that the "objective" view of the atonement associated with Anselm of Canterbury was inadequate, and that the most authentically Christian doctrine was that Christ's life was a demonstration of God's love so profound that Christ was willing to die rather than compromise his character. This in turn inspires believers to emulate his character and his intimacy with the Father.[4]

Rashdall received the degree Doctor of Letters (DL) from New College, Oxford, in October 1901.[5]

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1904 to 1907, a member of the Christian Social Union from its inception in 1890, and was an influential Anglican modernist theologian of the time, being appointed to a canonry in 1909.

He was Dean of Carlisle from 1917 to 1924, and died of cancer in Worthing in 1924.[6]

Selected works

  • Rashdall, Hastings (2010) [1895]. 2 vols. in 3 partsThe Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages,. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press [orig. Oxford: Clarendon Press].  
  • Doctrine and Development: University Sermons (1898)
  • New College (with Robert Rait, 1901)
  • Christus in Ecclesia: Sermons on the Church and its Institutions (1904)
  • The Theory of Good and Evil (1907)
  • Ethics (undated)
  • Philosophy and Religion (1910)
  • Is Conscience an Emotion? Three Lectures on recent ethical theories (1914)
  • Conscience and Christ: Six Lectures on Christian Ethics (1916)
  • The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology (London: Macmillan, 1919)
  • The Moral Argument for Personal Immortality in King's College Lectures on Immortality (1920)
  • God and Man 1930


  • Garnett, Jane. "Rashdall, Hastings." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.
  • Matheson, P.E. The Life of Hastings Rashdall, D.D. 1928.
  • Postle and Marsh. Hastings Rashdall: Dean of Carlisle, 1917-1920. 2000.


  1. ^ "Rashdall, Hastings," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, where Rashdall's The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages is referred to as "a standard work."
  2. ^ ‘RASHDALL, Very Rev. Hastings’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014 ; online edn, April 2014 accessed 20 March 2015
  3. ^ "Rashdall, Hastings," Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  4. ^ The Idea of Atonement in Christian Theology, pp. 437-47
  5. ^ "University intelligence" The Times (London). Friday, 18 October 1901. (36589), p. 4.
  6. ^ Dean Rashdall. The Times (London, England), Monday, Feb 11, 1924; pg. 17; Issue 43572

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.