OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS

The Art of Listening in the Early Church

ISBN : 9780199641437

Price(incl.tax): 
¥16,797
Author: 
Carol Harrison
Pages
324 Pages
Format
Hardcover
Size
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
Jul 2013
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How did people think about listening in the ancient world, and what evidence do we have of it in practice? The Christian faith came to the illiterate majority in the early Church through their ears. This proved problematic: the senses and the body had long been held in suspicion as all too temporal, mutable and distracting. Carol Harrison argues that despite profound ambivalence on these matters, in practice, the senses, and in particular the sense of hearing, were ultimately regarded as necessary - indeed salvific -constraints for fallen human beings. By examining early catechesis, preaching and prayer, she demonstrates that what illiterate early Christians heard both formed their minds and souls and, above all, enabled them to become 'literate' listeners; able not only to grasp the rule of faith but also tacitly to follow the infinite variations on it which were played out in early Christian teaching, exegesis and worship. It becomes clear that listening to the faith was less a matter of rationally appropriating facts and more an art which needed to be constantly practiced: for what was heard could not be definitively fixed and pinned down, but was ultimately the Word of the unknowable, transcendent God. This word demanded of early Christian listeners a response - to attend to its echoes, recollect and represent it, stretch out towards it source, and in the process, be transformed by it.

Index: 

Preface
Introduction: Voices of the Page
First Impromptu: The Other Side of Language or listening to the voice of Being
I: AN AUDITORY CULTURE
1. Listening in Cultural Context
2. Rhetoric and the Art of Listening
3. Images and Echoes
II: THEME AND VARIATIONS
4. Catechesis: Sounding the Theme
Second Impromptu : Playing ball: the art of reception
5. Preaching: Variations on the Theme
Third Impromptu: Singing the blues
III: FROM LISTENING TO HEARING
6. The Polyphony of Prayer
7. From the bottom to the bottomless
Bibliography

About the author: 

Carol Harrison, Professor of the History and Theology of the Latin West, Durham University

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