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Silence: A Christian History – tekijä:…

Silence: A Christian History (vuoden 2013 painos)

– tekijä: Diarmaid MacCulloch (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
303667,849 (3.83)13
"The first half of this book is a ... wide-ranging yet concise survey of the idea of silence in Christian theology and in the practices of all kinds of Christians through the centuries. In the second half, different kinds of quiet in Christian history come under scrutiny"--Review, Sunday Times (London).… (lisätietoja)
Teoksen nimi:Silence: A Christian History
Kirjailijat:Diarmaid MacCulloch (Tekijä)
Info:Viking (2013), Edition: First Edition, 352 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):***
Avainsanoja:classical-history, intellectual-and-religious-history

Teoksen tarkat tiedot

Silence: A Christian History (tekijä: Diarmaid MacCulloch)


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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 6) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
started off really interesting and well written but seemed to turn into a long list of names of different saints, martyrs, bishops, philosophers etc with not enough words in between. ( )
1 ääni mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
This is very dense. I am glad I was reading it, and not trying to follow a lecture series. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jun 26, 2017 |
One of the most powerful social forces is silence. A silent man before a crowd speaks volumes without opening his mouth. Silence is powerful in that it forces the listener to be still within themselves, to not desperately fill the moment with words. In an age where media of all sorts constantly surrounds us, it is nice to gain a little perspective and be silent. Diarmid MacCulloch’s Silence is a look at the use of silence in the history of Christianity.

There are myriad references to silence in the Bible and the Tanakh and MacCulloch begins his study there. But even while this is a Christian history, the temptation to dip into Greek philosophy is too great. The fact that the early Church fathers used Greek texts brings in new levels of complexity when discussing cases of silence. The Old Testament, with a mild emphasis on pre-Christ Judaism, revels in episodes of silence in both its stories and its rituals. The New Testament bring with it both the interpretation of the silences of Jesus and Paul’s rebuke of “noisy Christians.” In the Middle Ages, monastic silence became a way of life and a means of self-reflection and each of the Reformations brought a new meaning to silence.

This book is rich in Church history and analysis, and MacCulloch should be commended for his efforts. While many episodes of Christian silence are moments of stoicism and prayer, MacCulloch does not shy away from silence in the heated topics of homosexuality, gender inequality, and child abuse. While silence can be powerful, breaking a long silence can be just as effective. MacCulloch’s investigation of silence as a part of Christian history is as splendid as it is encompassing. A dense but rich book. ( )
2 ääni NielsenGW | Oct 21, 2013 |
If one claims to be a Christian, surely it is important to know what it is into which one is investing faith. Christianity has been around for two thousand years and, inevitably, man has interfered with the very basic message of the Lord. Sometimes, this human input has been for altruistic reasons and sometimes, from a desire to achieve, or retain, power.

Diarmaid MacCulloch has written a very concentrated overview of many of these hidden 'aids' to the Christian faith. In the wrong hands, this could turn into a sensational anti-Christian assault: not when those hands are MacCulloch's. This book is written with a sympathetic believer's view but, one that is convinced that the truth must be out in the open - even when it would be far more convenient for us to forget.

This book examines these 'silences' from the way in which a unified Catholic church was instigated, with fringe groups, such as the Gnostics, being painted out of the picture for many centuries through to the silence in many areas when Nazi outrages were inflicted upon the Jewish community and right up to date with paedophilia within some Christian care homes. In places, this book is exceedingly uncomfortable reading, particularly for a believer, but one never gets the feeling that the shock is gratuitous and the object is to expose the wrongful action and not to create characters onto whom blame can be conveniently laid.

This is a book which, having read, I need to put on my bookcase for a couple of months whilst I ingest the information and then, I shall re-read it. It is one that I would recommend to every believer. ( )
  the.ken.petersen | Aug 7, 2013 |
This is an extremely interesting book which explores the ways in which the Christian community has struggled both with silence and with the effects of cacophonous noise: in that sense it is a history of the Christian struggle to find a happy balance between speech and reflectiveness - and it does not hide from the ways in which the Churches have often got that balance catastrophically wrong. In particular, Diarmaid MacCulloch considers the positive silences in which people of prayer have understood themselves to have encountered something of the inexpressible beauty and majesty of God; and the destructive silences which have hidden the Church's shame, particularly in its collusion with child abuse, with the Holocaust, and with slavery. To what extent are we silent because words are inadequate to communicate the fullness of God? To what extent are we silent out of fear? These are important issues for the whole Christian community to consider, especially in an age which is suspicious against inherited forms of deference and institutional power. It might not be cosy reading: but every single one of us, religious or not, has to strike some kind of balance between saying our part and opting (or sometimes being coerced) not to do so. How often, for example, have you chosen to keep silent when someone else was victimised? How often have you raised your own voice in order to drown out someone else? These are questions which every single one of us ought to face. Or perhaps this: how often have you been silenced?
The book reviews the place of silence in the Bible; the emergence of a tradition of silent contemplation in the early monastic and spiritual traditions of the Church (Evagrius of Pontus, pseudo-Dionysius and Isaac of Nineveh - none of them especially well valued by their contemporaries - are among the heroes of this story); and it traces the destruction of this pattern of life and prayer during the Reformation. It goes on to consider the good and bad silences which have marked modern Christianity: there are the counter-cultural and subversive silences of groups like the Quakers (among the first to embody an equality between women and men, for example, or to challenge slavery; significantly they were also among the first to make a connection between holy silence and social justice in action) - these are perhaps MacCulloch's ultimate heroes; then there are the shameful silences which have amounted to cover-ups of the sins of omission and of commission especially in the face of child abuse or anti-Semitism.
Somewhere near the start of this is the text of the Scriptures. They, of course, are far from silent - and the Hebrew Scriptures, in particular, seem not to favour the kind of reflective silence which has become the centre of spiritual tradition: the Temple, for example, is a place of exuberant noise. From the beginning, the creativity of God is equated with God's speech: 'God said, "Let there be light," and there was light'; or in the Psalms, 'The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament proclaims his handiwork': but even so, it is in the silence of a Sabbath Rest that God allows things to flourish and be fruitful on the seventh day.
Compared with the predominant noisiness of this Biblical witness, Diarmaid MacCulloch considers what he calls a 'minority report' within the Hebrew text - where Isaiah famously commends the 'Suffering Servant' not least because of his silence which stands as the most eloquent kind of protest against the corruption around him.
In the New Testament, curiously, these focuses are reversed: it is the silence of the Suffering Servant which takes centre stage, while noise and clamour begin to reveal themselves as something more destructive. Think of St Paul, for instance, and his repeated exhortations to whole groups of people (and not only women) to keep silence rather than to argue endlessly and unproductively. Hovering over all of these silences, of course, is the resurrection itself - the central silence of them all: a literally indescribable event in which all things are transcended and also made complete.
The greatest value of this book may be the way in which it prompts us to reflect on our own silences: the silences in which some of us might seek God, and the silences in which we collude in harm to others (or sometimes to ourselves), failing to stand up for the marginalised and the weak, failing to challenge corruption and lies. In all of these instances silence is at least as important as noise in the good and harmful exercise of our power: this is why it matters. Even in silence, Diarmaid MacCulloch reminds us, the calling of the People of God is not only to be prayerful, but also to be just: this is why he finds the witness of the Quakers so compelling, combining the two. It is significant - and he is explicit about it - that Diarmaid MacCulloch himself is gay, and speaks out of the experience of the oppressive silences which have strengthened homophobia. This is not the central focus of his book, but it gives an added weight to the point he makes about silences which are harmful. He has interesting things to say about the creativity which has been nurtured in unobserved and feminine domestic spaces away from the public arenas where men have consistently used not only noise but also silence and censorship against each other in the Church's history. But whatever the issue, his basic claim is this: if we fail to find ways to manage silence well, it will find ways to manage us badly. The whole of Christian history is testament to this - and it is something about which every single one of us, Christian or not, has something positive which we can do. ( )
1 ääni readawayjay | May 20, 2013 |
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Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
I would like to thank the Trustees of the Gifford Lectures for their initial invitation to me in 2006 to give the lectures from which this book has sprung, and for their enthusiastic acceptance of my temerity in departing from their initial suggestion as to a topic for the lectures.
My favourite dog in detective fiction is the dog that did not bark in the night-time, thus affording Sherlock Holmes the vital clue for solving Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's little mystery 'Silver Blaze'.
As we embark on our voyage through silence, we must necessarily begin with the Bible: not a book but a plurality of books, as it's names in Greek, Latin and even Anglo-Saxon proclaim.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia


"The first half of this book is a ... wide-ranging yet concise survey of the idea of silence in Christian theology and in the practices of all kinds of Christians through the centuries. In the second half, different kinds of quiet in Christian history come under scrutiny"--Review, Sunday Times (London).

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