Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness (SPCK Classic) Paperback – 16 May 2013
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'John Hull goes a long way toward taking us with him through his descent into total blindness . . . He lets us see with no trace of self-pity or self-praise how blindness has become for him a genuine acquisition, an unforeseeably rich gift that has made of him what so few of us are: excellent watchers and hearers of the world . . . triumphant in the teeth of ruin.' --Reynolds Price, American novelist (1933 2011)
'The observation is minute, and equally it is profound: everything is pondered, explored, to its limit - every experience turned this way and that until it yields its full harvest of meanings. The incisiveness of Hull's observation, the beauty of his language, make this book poetry; the depth of his reflection turns it into phenomenology or philosophy.' --Oliver Sacks, neurologist and bestselling author, from the Foreword
About the Author
John M. Hull is Emeritus Professor of Religious Education at the University of Birmingham, and Honorary Professor of Practical Theology in The Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Birmingham. He is the author of a number of books and many articles in the fields of religious education, practical theology, and disability.
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Top Customer Reviews
As a young university lecturer in the early '80s, Hull had adapted to cataracts and the early signs of retinal detachment brought on by numerous surgeries. He continued to read with the aid of magnifiers and walked to work following the yellow lines in the street.
As a resilient teen, Hull even taught himself Braille during a period of blindness between surgeries, devouring Bible passages while in the hospital. For years, Hull meticulously marked and measured the black shadows that drifted in and out of his vision. In 1983, he lost the last bit of light perception. It was then that John Hull realized he was no longer just a visitor to the condition of blindness. "I had taken up residence in another world."
Not wanting to burden his family with his inner turmoil and the grief of his loss, Hull began to record an audio diary on cassette tape where he meditates on the transformative experience of blindness. In this diary, he contemplates a world where smiles are not received and gazes cannot be met and observes the insensitivity of persons who are sighted. Most poignantly he reflects on how blindness impacts his relationships. Hull feared blindness would rob him of the intimacy he shared with his wife and he was pained by the laughter of his son Thomas at play knowing he couldn’t interact with him the way he used to.
The title comes from an experience he had at Iona.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An extraordinary book which shares the day to day detail of how Hull lived with his blindness. A book of quiet heroism and compassion.Published 10 months ago by AngharadG