The Ark of Speech

The Ark of Speech

The Ark of Speech

The Ark of Speech

Synopsis

The Ark of Speech investigates the interplay of speech and silence in the dialogue between God and human beings, and human beings and the world. Ranging from the Old Testament and its depiction of God's creative word to the New Testament and its focus on the life and words of Jesus as the Word of the Father, the book shows how important it is for the believer to listen to God and to others in silence and devotion.

Excerpt

The first hospitality is nothing other than listening. It is the hospitality that we can grant to others, with our body and our soul, even out on the streets and on the roadside, when we would not be able to offer a roof, or warmth or food. and it is at any instant that this hospitality can be granted. of all other forms of hospitality it is the precondition, for bitter is the bread that is eaten without speech having been exchanged, heavy and burdensome is the insomnia of the beds in which we sleep without our weariness having been welcomed and respected. and is not the ultimate hospitality, that of the Lord, the hospitality that falls, dizzyingly into the luminous listening of the Word, listening to it so as to speak, speaking so as to listen to it? Listening is big with eternity.

The freshness and openness of this hospitality comes to it from its humility. It is the first hospitality, to be sure, but nobody has ever inaugurated it. No man has ever been the first to listen. We can offer it only because we have always already been received in it. It is consubstantial with the very transmission of speech. in order to speak, I have to be able to hear myself, but in order to hear myself, someone must already have heard me and spoken to me, in a way that forestalls me-that is, comes before me, in both spatial and temporal terms. We have been listened to even before we speak. Between our ears and our voice, other voices and other kinds of listening are already active. the hospitality of listening thus has a common quality, in the sense in which people used to talk of a common bakehouse. It is in a common space, or, more precisely, it is in what founds any possible community, that we welcome the other. When I really listen, I occupy the place of any other man, and it is equally true that, as everyone knows, there is no attention without a sort of effacement.

But how is it possible to think that, on the one hand, by listening I tend to be nothing but the place holder or surrogate of humanity, allowing the other to raise his voice into the light of the universal, and that, on the other hand, this place holding does not constitute an anonymity or interchangeability

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.