Themes & Theology of Speech

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Silence, like speech, can also bear revelation. "In the dialogue between God and man," wrote the 20th century French Jewish scholar André Neher, "... silence is more than simply a pause, a hiatus without significance or content. It is as essential to the understanding of the revealed message as is a musical pause to the understanding of a piece of music. Silence is not an interruption of the word: It is its reverse, its alternative, its other face, or… to use the biblical metaphor, it represents the 'hidden' face of God as against the 'visible' face represented by the word."

Perhaps an awareness of the complementary roles of speech and silence in human and divine communication is what led the Psalmist--whose expertise is words, expressed in 150 poems--to note: "To You, silence is praise" (Psalms 65:2).

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