Friday, September 5, 2008

Quite the ecumenical family...

I made a fun discovery the other day; perhaps others already know this.

David Bentley Hart is well known in theological circles, primarily for his book, The Beauty of the Infinite. Little did I know, however, that the Eastern Orthodox theologian has two brothers- one an Anglican priest, and the other a Roman Catholic priest.

Fr. Robert Hart is the Anglican, and is a contributing editor to Touchstone magazine. The third brother, Fr. Addison Hart, is a Roman Catholic priest at Christ the Teacher University Parish and parochial vicar for the Newman Catholic Student Center at Northern Illinois University.

One thing that has always been recognized about David Bentley Hart is the way that he stands somewhat outside of academia's mainstream. Teaching in visiting positions at a number of (granted, not insubstantial) universities, D. Hart's "career" appears quite humble beside the brilliance of his theological work and the praise it has received from fellow theologians. It is not lost on many that this is perhaps as it should be. D. Hart is known as a pastor of the Church first, and a schoolman second; his priorities are clearly in order and the theological community benefits greatly from the care with which he has embraced his vocation. While his brothers Robert and Addison appear quite busy in their ministry and do participate actively in publication the way that David does, the same lack of ambition for worldly recognition seems present in them. May the Lord bless us with more servants such as these!

But I stray from the reason for posting. Namely, how COOL is it that three brothers were called to the Anglican, Catholic, and Orthodox priesthood?! And all such gifted minds! One can only imagine what the conversation is like at family reunions.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Evan,

    (Disclaimer: This is pure hearsay - since I have never been at a university where D Hart has taught).

    The rumor is that David Bentley Hart is not much for pedagogy and that this also played a large role in his departure from Virginia...
    In the course of a few years, UVA boasted Milbank, Hart, and Eugene Rogers on their faculty. But none lasted very long.

    I have been told that the quick departures from UVA by all three had as much to do with the department being displeased with their indifference towards teaching as it did with the scholars being unhappy with UVA.

    This does not negate the quality of their (especially Hart's) scholarship, to be sure. But it is somewhat interesting, considering what UVA would look like if all three had stayed.

    Nonetheless, your main point is still true: it is quite remarkable that one family would produce such a fascinating and ecumenical trifecta!