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Silence to savour,
This review is from: Silence: A Christian History (Hardcover)
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The eminent historian Diarmaid MacCulloch was given the accolade of being invited to give the Gifford Lectures (one of Scotland's most prodigious academic awards focused on the discussion of natural theology in its widest sense). These are normally a series of lectures which when completed are edited and published in book form. This is the background to this book.
A series of meditations/speculations and theorising on the topic of silence in Christian History, whether biblical, monastic, reformed or shadily intentional. Mr MacCullochs obvious learning and experience densely support his arguments which are delivered coherently, passionately and with a gentle humour and grace which is a real joy (think David Starky but nice!).
Being neither a professional scholar nor Christian, just of the ordinary variety in both respects, some of the very crowded historical theorising was a bit above my head to be honest. This, however, did not necessarily interfere with following the flow and thrust of the ideas. Nor did it impinge much on the sheer delight of encountering new ideas and vistas. The noise of pre New Testament worship and the view of silence as curse and divine disfavour leading on to the almost enigmatic use of silence by Our Lord in the New Testament, to give just one example.
The actual sensation of history flowing dawns on you as you are swept along with Mr MaCulloch's rhetoric. Through the early monastic era, through the reformations (note plural) and into more contemporaneous history and thorny issues. All with "silence" and its multiple meanings and usages as the consistent thread which weaves the arguments into historical tableaux's which flash almost cinematically by.
I enjoyed this book very much and although I will need to re-read it to get the most from it I can happily recommend it.