From the Stacks: Parabola


| 2/27/2008 1:43:04 PM


Tags: Parabola, silence, mysticism, interfaith,

Parabola ScienceVirtually all spiritual traditions give some attention to silence. The spring issue of Parabola, a provocative and beautifully designed quarterly magazine on religion and culture, is devoted to the subject. (The magazine’s website includes a table of contents but not the articles themselves.)

In his opening editor’s note, Jeff Zaleski mentions the idea of a silence-themed issue consisting of 128 blank pages. But people don’t pick up Parabola, an eight-time Utne Independent Press Award nominee, for this kind of stunt. Instead, the issue features essays on worship, meditation, and myth; evocative poems and quotations; and Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Quaker, Taoist, Native American, and Catholic perspectives.

I would have enjoyed seeing a Protestant voice or two, as well; for all its dogma and bluster, even this oh-so-Western tradition has its corners of mysticism and quiet. Of course, its adherents learned these things largely from others—an experience no doubt familiar to many Parabola readers.

Thankfully, the editors forego any sort of predictable interfaith manifesto in favor of simply presenting a diversity of voices. They honor the issue’s theme by showing us, rather than telling us, what we all have in common.

For more on silence, read this Utne Reader cover section from 2006.

Steve Thorngate