The Hospitality of Listening


in Phenomenologies of the Stranger

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780823234615
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240722 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

The Hospitality of Listening

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Among the most promising-seeming possibilities for an ethics linked to theology is that of regarding the world as sacramental. A sacramental sensibility seems, potentially at least, a way to a valuing of some aspects of the world, but not a way particularly welcoming of the strange or the stranger. But fundamental to such a sensibility, this chapter argues, is a discipline of attention, of a carefully open listening, and such an attentiveness in fact requires that we listen to what we do not already understand, what sounds in our ears and appears to our eyes as something foreign. This chapter presents an account of a sacramental ethics that is always hospitable to the strange. Drawing on various texts from Augustine, Lewis Mackey, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jean Chrétien, and others, it narrates a history of the sacramental in Christian intellectual history. It advocates “listening” as a primary method of hospitality, a radical openness to the strangeness of the world in its all its beautiful, destitute, and bizarre incarnations.

Keywords: Augustine; Lewis Mackey; Jean-Luc Nancy; Jean Chrétien; hospitality; listening; strangeness; sacramental ethics; attention; stranger

Chapter.  5142 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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