Preview — Silence and the Word by Oliver Davies. Silence and the Word: Negative Theology and Incarnation 3. Negative theology or apophasis--the idea that God is best identified in terms of what we cannot know about him, in terms of "absence," "otherness," "difference"--has been influentiual in modern Christian thought, resonating as it does with secular notions of absence, otherness and difference developed in recent continental philosophy. Leading Christian thinkers now offer a Negative theology or apophasis--the idea that God is best identified in terms of what we cannot know about him, in terms of "absence," "otherness," "difference"--has been influentiual in modern Christian thought, resonating as it does with secular notions of absence, otherness and difference developed in recent continental philosophy.
Leading Christian thinkers now offer a range of important new perspectives on this tradition, both historical and contemporary, to show how a dimension of negativity has characterized not only traditional mysticism but most forms of Christian thought over the years. Hardcover , pages.
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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Silence and the Word , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. David Mosley rated it really liked it Nov 12, M rated it it was amazing Jan 23, Rodney Neill rated it it was ok Feb 05, John rated it liked it Nov 09, Lanny marked it as to-read Jun 09, Leonardo added it Dec 20, For when Rabbi Zusya heard the introduction to the Scripture passage which his teacher was about to expound: And then he stood in the hall or in the woodshed, it is told, beating against the walls and crying: God goes all the way.
And yet, there is a whole vast tradition of spirituality in which meaning hinges not on the Word but on Silence. We point, in the West, to a vase or an ash tray and ask: But this is less important. What really matters is the emptiness of the vessel. When we look more deeply into it, we find that all this is not quite so strange as it may at first appear. After all, we too are aware or should be aware of the intimate relatedness of silence and word to each other. The word would not be word without silence. The word is not truly word unless it is born of silence, embodies silence, returns into silence.
Only the word that comes out of silence is more than chatter. And it must be received by silence, as seed is received by the silent furrows. Inexhaustible silence, always still greater, though it pours itself forever into word, comes to itself only in the word.
Silence would not be silence without the word. The great religious traditions are not complementary but inter-dimensional. Each contains each, though with the greatest possible differences in accentuation. Silence, in this sense, is not the absence of word or sound. Silence is not characterized by absence but by presence, a presence too great for words. When we have some little joy or pain we are apt to talk about it.
When joy or pain grows strong we rejoice or cry.
But when bliss or suffering become overpowering — we are silent. Any encounter with mystery is hidden in silence. Only by the tension between word and silence is meaning upheld. The moment we relax this tension meaning escapes us: Failing to see the distinction between word and silence — a distinction greater and more basic than any other — would mean relaxing the tension: The point is that silence and word are distinguished as well as united by a third dimension of meaning: After all, how do we understand?
I would say, by allowing the word to lead us into silence until we truly hear the silence in and through the word. But more concretely, how does understanding come about in a dialogue? A true dialogue is more than an exchange of words: This is where understanding comes in.
For true understanding it is necessary that the silence within me should come to word and so reach out to you until it touches not only your ear and your brain but your heart, your still point, the core of silence within you. Thus, understanding is communication of silence with silence in and through the word. As soon as we re-establish Understanding in its proper place, we have gained a new horizon within which to view the relationship of Christian spirituality to Buddhism and Hinduism.
Of course, we are not speaking of three water-tight compartments but of dimensions which though distinguishable, can never be separated from one another. Yet, we have seen that in our own tradition the focus on the Word is so strong that Silence and Understanding are almost crowded out of our field of vision: We have to make an effort to rediscover their proper place. Thus we should be able to appreciate that in other traditions Silence or Understanding may hold a place of pre-eminence comparable to the one which the Word holds in our own.
If we now consult the data of comparative religion, we find verified what at first sight would seem too good to be true. Jews, Christians and Moslems find ultimate meaning in the Word. Buddhists as we have already briefly indicated in Silence, in the emptiness which is fullness, in the nothing that gives meaning to everything. Understanding in turn which yokes together Word and Silence is the central preoccupation of Hinduism. The obvious danger is over-simplification. Yet there are advantages to a reduction of scale.
For one thing, we shall be less apt to overlook the forest for the trees. Hinduism for instance is so vast and varied a jungle of religions and philosophies that one cannot blame anyone who despairs of finding a unifying principle behind it all. Yet, if there is one, it is the ever-repeated insight that God manifest is God unmanifest, and God unmanifest is God manifest. This is Understanding in our sense, understanding that the Word is Silence — Silence comes to itself in the Word; understanding that the Silence is Word — Word brought home. Word and Silence are one and it is in and through the Spirit of Understanding that they are one.
Leading Christian thinkers explore in their own way the extent to which the concept of the apophatic illumines some of the deepest doctrinal structures of Christian faith, and of Christian self-understanding both in terms of its historical and contemporary situatedness, showing how a dimension of negativity has characterised not only traditional mysticism but most forms of Christian thought over the years.
Ships from and sold by uzotoqadoh.tk This item:Silence and the Word: Negative Theology and Incarnation by Oliver Davies Paperback $ The Darkness of God: Negativity in Christian Mysticism by Denys Turner Paperback $ SILENCE. AND THE WORD. Negative Theology and Incarnation. EDITED BY. OLIVER DAVIES Soundings: towards a theological poetics of silence.
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