Tag Archives: Sacrificial listening

An Epistemology for Listening Across Religious, Cultural, and Political Divides

This essay is my first systematic published articulation of my theory of Sacrificial Listening. Many thanks to Mike Berhow and Greg Peterson of South Dakota State University for giving me a chance to sketch out some of my ideas there during a rich conversation in 2016, and for subsequently welcoming this more developed essay into their volume on the importance of intellectual virtues in a polarized society:

“An Epistemology for Listening Across Religious, Cultural, and Political Divides.” In Engaging Populism: Democracy and the Intellectual Virtues, ed. Gregory R. Peterson, Michael C. Berhow, and George Tsakiridis, 185–214. [London]: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022.

This essay stems from two decades of reflection on my scholarship and teaching in the field of Islamic studies. That thinking was first articulated somewhat autobiographically, with a focus on pedagogy, in a paper called “Sacrificial Listening: Christians, Muslims, and the Secular University.” It was fleshed out more systematically in a talk at the University of Oklahoma, “Sacrificial Listening: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Intellectual Humility in the Humanities.” In this published chapter I attempt to sharpen its philosophical grounding, frame it in terms of intellectual virtues, and broaden its application to include the understanding of Others across political lines.

The published essay and the entire volume are available from Palgrave Macmillan at https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-05785-4. Here I am only able to post my Author’s Original preprint manuscript as a pdf file.

Sacrificial Listening: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Intellectual Humility in the Humanities

This paper attempted to articulate in a more detailed and systematic way the notion of “sacrificial listening” that is the guiding principle of my research and teaching. Its main points were presented to a group of colleagues in philosophy, psychology, education, and other fields at the University of Oklahoma, as part of the Virtue Forum Luncheon series of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing. Many thanks to Institute director Nancy Snow for this great chance to get some interdisciplinary input on this long-term project, and to the audience for a very helpful discussion.

“Sacrificial Listening: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Intellectual Humility in the Humanities.” Virtue Forum Luncheon series of the Self, Virtue and Public Life Project, Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, University of Oklahoma, October 9, 2019.

Here is a pdf of the full paper. A more developed version has since been published as An Epistemology for Listening Across Religious, Cultural, and Political Divides.

A Relational, Recursive, Eschatological and Sacrificial Model for the Humanities

A gathering of fourteen Harvey Fellows, organized by Randy Heinig with help from Laura Yoder, Bryan McGraw, Amy Reynolds, and Mark Jonas, provided an encouraging forum and some invaluable feedback on a mini-paper in which I define more systematically than I have before my approach to religious studies as a practice of sacrificial listening:

“A Relational, Recursive, Eschatological and Sacrificial Model for the Humanities.” Harvey Fellows Symposium “Christ in the Culture 2017,” Wheaton, Illinois, September 16, 2017.

Here is a pdf of the two-page paper. It addresses an audience of fellow Christians; one of my long-term projects is to articulate it in terms that will resonate with a broader academic audience. During discussion Pat Kain made the important suggestion that I address not only the negative experiences of misunderstanding but also the positive experiences of (partial) understanding that point ahead to the eschatological consummation of that interpersonal understanding toward which my scholarship is directed.

Panel on difficult passages in the Bible and the Qur’an

On March 16, 2016, I got to engage in an hour-and-a-half public discussion with James Murphy, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible and Christian origins at South Dakota State University, on the topic of “Religious Texts & Social Contexts: Challenging Interpretations in a Changing World.” We discussed our different responses to hard passages in the Qur’an and the Bible. I was enriched by my engagement with James Murphy, and with Krystal Smith of the Veritas Forum, which organized the event. Video of our discussion is at http://www.veritas.org/religious-texts-social-conflicts/.

Sacrificial Listening: Christians, Muslims, and the Secular University

This auto-biographical essay recounts the development of several themes and directions in my work as a Christian scholar of Islam, including my pedagogy of sacrificial listening.

David R. Vishanoff. “Sacrificial Listening: Christians, Muslims, and the Secular University.” In Faithful Is Successful: Notes to the Driven Pilgrim, ed. Nathan Grills, David E. Lewis, and S. Joshua Swamidass, 213-243. Denver: Outskirts Press, 2014. (ISBN 978-1478730354)

A scanned copy is posted here as a pdf file, by permission of the editors, for personal non-commercial use only.