Wordless Word

Greek-English interlineal text of the first lines of Gospel of John

I happened to stumble upon a free account at JSTOR, in which you get to read up to 100 journal articles every month. Well, well!

I found my way here through "God and the Tao" by George D. Chyssides, which was published in Volume 19, No. 1 of Religious Studies (1983). Having written before about the "I/Thou" relationship that one may have with the world, and also about the indescribability of God, I find the first paragraph of this essay pleasingly perfect.

In his highly important work I and Thou Martin Buber speaks of God as the 'Eternal Thou,' 'who can only be addressed not asserted.' Buber might therefore aptly be described as an 'anti-thelogian': one may legitimately enter into a relationship with God, which is the appropriate response, but any attempt to theorize about God is not simply irreverent or excessively academic, but a genuine impossibility. At best, statements about God can only be understood 'allegorically.'"

Some fifteen years ago, I used to love arguing about the nature of reality with others, attempting to penetrate to the way things are. But for some time now that effort has seemed at best "excessively academic," and if not irreverent, irrelevant.

I find I would rather apprehend the knowable unknowable than attempt to put Logos into words.

Some things are better lived than said.

"Some things are more important than words," Marigold said to Guy. "Some things only shrink into little shells when you try to describe them."

It's a little bit lonely, this gap between direct experience and the sharing of it; my way of sharing is often in words, so this wordlessness is like the mountain of air that sits in the valley between two peaks: clear and clean, weightless and heavy, transparent; and yet — your friend on the other peak isn't here with you.

As with the land of tears, the nature of God is inexpressible. It is both quiet and confounding, as light and evident as air, as heavy as the atmosphere. It can't be spoken. It can only be breathed. And you can't share breath with someone else.

On the other hand, I suppose you can breathe together.

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