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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dialogue Partners

This is not about Bible translation but more about what I feel is evolving on this blog. We are as bloggers in constant dialogue with others so here are some comments on dialogue.

This first one represents the position of a blogger who discourages having a dialogue partner outside of one's comfort zone.
    My point is that what we do cite, what we do choose to interact with, has a way of setting the mood for the music we play. Our dialogue partners influence our discussion because it is their contentions, their interests, and their conclusions with which we will interact. And it seemed that you mainly discussed ******** scholarship, which results in your treatment giving certain impressions.
This blogger was uncomfortable with his colleague being in dialogue with someone of a different persuasion.

Here is a comment from another blogger, a friend,
    I've enjoyed blogging of late because of the sense of friendship that is growing among a circle of bloggers. The friendship is built on something deeper than seeing eye to eye on everything. In conversation, we discover we agree more and disagree more than we once thought.
Iyov and other bloggers have brought up the issue of cross-religious dialogue. Peter has sustained an ongoing dialogue with Adrian, with whom he agrees and disagrees. With David joining us, I wish to articulate the happiness that I feel in being in dialogue with those with whom I agree and disagree.

Many years ago, I opened myself to a greater dialogue with ideas through reading The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paolo Freire, given to me by a missionary couple who worked in Latin America, (Dave and Judy Payne, in case you know them). Here are some thoughts on Freire and others from a website called Dialogue and Conversation. from Infed (Informal Education)

For there to be dialogue in the dictionary or etymologically sense we look to dia meaning two or between or across and logos speech or ‘what is talked about’. Dialogue is , thus, speech across, between or through two people. It entails a particular kind of relationship and interaction. In this sense it is not so much a specific communicative form of question and answer, ‘but at heart a kind of social relation that engages its participants’ (Burbules 1993: 19). It entails certain virtues and emotions. Burbules lists some of these:

concern. In being with our partners in conversation, to engage them with us, there is more going on than talk about the overt topic. There is a social bond that entails interest in, and a commitment to the other.

trust. We have to take what others are saying on faith - and there can be some risk in this.

respect. While there may be large differences between partners in conversation, the process can go on if there is mutual regard. This involves the idea that everyone is equal in some basic way and entails a commitment to being fair-minded, opposing degradation and rejecting exploitation.

appreciation. Linked to respect, this entails valuing the unique qualities that others bring.

affection. Conversation involves a feeling with, and for, our partners.

hope. While not being purely emotional, hope is central. We engage in conversation in the belief that it holds possibility. Often it is not clear what we will gain or learn, but faith in the inherent value of education carries us forward.

So it is, Martin Buber believed, that real educators teach most successfully when they are not consciously trying to teach at all, but when they act spontaneously out of their own life.

And from the page on Martin Buber,

For Buber encounter (Begegnung) has a significance beyond co-presence and individual growth (see encounter). He looked for ways in which people could engage with each other fully – to meet with themselves. The basic fact of human existence was not the individual or the collective as such, but ‘Man with Man’ (Buber 1947). As Aubrey Hodes puts it:

When a human being turns to another as another, as a particular and specific person to be addressed, and tries to communicate with him through language or silence, something takes place between them which is not found elsewhere in nature. Buber called this meeting between men the sphere of the between. (1973: 72)

Encounter (Begegnung) is an event or situation in which relation (Beziehung) occurs. We can only grow and develop, according to Buber, once we have learned to live in relation to others, to recognize the possibilities of the space between us. The fundamental means is dialogue. Encounter is what happens when two I's come into relation at the same time. This brings us back to Buber’s distinction between relation and irrelation. 'All real living is meeting' is sometimes translated as 'All real life is encounter'.

And a subscript on Buber's three life stages,

Mysticism (1897-1923) - where his interest lay in people's ability to transcend profane conceptions of reality.

Dialogue (1923- 1938) - that reflects Buber's move away from the supremacy of the ecstatic moment to the unity of being and a focus on relationship and the dialogical nature of existence (perhaps most strongly linked to his book I and Thou).

With the move to Israel, it can be argued that he moved into a third:

Attentive silence (1938 - 1965) - wherein dialogue remains central, but there is a deepening recognition of 'the eternal, "silent" background of being and dialogue' (ibid.: 33)

Reproduced from the encyclopaedia of informal education [] Enjoy!


At Sat Jul 21, 01:31:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Suzanne, you began:

This is not about Bible translation but more about what I feel is evolving on this blog.

But the benefit that comes from openness to dialogue, of course, also applies to Bible translation. In the past few years there has been an increasing sectarianism among those concerned about Bible translation issues. This lack of dialogue keeps us from benefitting from what different approaches to Bible translation have to offer us.

Thanks for this post, Suzanne. Some people view dialogue as a sign of compromise, of being "soft" toward truth. I view it as a willingness to listen to what God has taught others as well as ourselves. No one, even when it comes to Bible translation issues, has a corner on the truth. And that can help keep us humble.


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