*** DEBUG START ***
*** DEBUG END ***
Important information: We are currently experiencing technical issues with the webiste and it is currently running with reduced functionality, some category pages may not contain a full list of articles and the search is not currently working. We apologise for the inconvenience and should have everything back to normal as soon as possible.

The inward parts

by
15 July 2016

David Martin considers public and private lives

Drawn Three Ways: Memoir of a ministry, a profession and a marriage
A. E. Harvey
Eerdmans £16.99
(978-0-8028-7332-3)
Church Times Bookshop £15.30

 

INITIALLY, the three nodes of concern, priesthood, scholarship, and family, may seem no more than a standard account of the con­siderable costs of being a scholar priest with a family.

The costs are certainly canvassed at length, but there is an unmistak­able undertow of possible serious waste and maybe emotional dis­connection, and of being not quite inside any of these avocations, even perhaps a per­former of the rituals of faith rather than a believer, more a stoic than a Christian.

Doubt hovers over Canon Anthony Harvey’s performance of each of his roles, mingled at the same time with an understandable pride in intellectual achievement and an inability to suffer fools gladly. This enters a moving and tragic phase with the mental prob­lems of his wife and her eventual dementia, and the death of their third daughter. This much loved daughter said that her illness was almost worth it for the intimacy it brought her with her father.

Harvey encountered his wife, Julian, with little previous experi­ence of love, and wondering whether he might just be in love with love. Eventually, this deepened into a profound engagement with a woman of remarkable gifts and beauty, and the emotional drive of this memoir is to celebrate those gifts, to remember her as she was, and to release some of the pain of that love as her life entered many years of difficulty.

Of course, there is also the ex­­ternal autobiography of consider­able achievement, distracted by too many gifts. Harvey is a gifted linguist, a classicist, a distinguished New Testament scholar, a talented musician. This is life lived as a scholar in the older universities, a talks producer at the BBC, a priest in Chelsea, someone who translated at great conferences and made substantial contributions to public debates and good causes, such as Faith in the City, in charge of St Augustine’s, Canterbury, (where he encountered a new breed of uppity students), and Sub-Dean at West­minster.

In this last appointment, he met the upper echelons of the political world, and he offers some cameos of life in the warren behind the Abbey: Diana’s funeral, the question of the new statues to adorn the front, the unhappy confrontation with Martin Neary, work with asylum-seekers. It sounds like a fulfilled life of assured faith. Of that he is very far from sure.

 

The Revd Dr David Martin is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics.

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events

29 September 2020
Festival of Preaching
A one-day online version of our popular preaching festival. With Mark Oakley, Sam Wells and Anna Carter Florence.   Book tickets

 

19 October 2020
Creativity out of crisis: Hymns and worship webinar
In association with RSCM, this online event will explore creative uses music and liturgy in the context online and socially distanced worship.    Book tickets

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)