Studia Monastica 62:253-274 (2020)

Stephen Munzer
University of California, Los Angeles
Silence often plays a significant role in Christian experience and practice. However, the varieties of silence and the effects of silence for good and. bad merit examination. It is important to distinguish between physical, auditory, and metaphorical silence, and bet- ween experiencing silence as "quiet" and experiencing silence as keeping quiet . Silence can be an instrumental good as well as an expressive good, a concomitant good, or a constitutive good. Christian monks, theologians, and other thinkers sometimes identify experiences of silence, for example, as light or dark, as spatially vast or enclosed, and as temporal or atemporal. Practices of silence can bring persons closer to God, though a kenotic spirituality; of silence and a stress on solitude create perils for some members of religious orders, such as Carthusians. The chief aim of this article is to show, with philosophical techniques, how silence .can be good in manifold ways and even, perhaps, an ideal.
Keywords Carthusians, communication, David Hume, Martin Laird, Thomas Merton, monks, mystical darkness, silence, solitude
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