ABSTRACT

This chapter explores how our relation to texts is marked by an emotional presence; the texts that we feel towards, mediate upon or share with others in dialogue reveal our affective connection to them which extends beyond their referential presence in inquiry. The chapter’s title (The Friendship of Texts) is intended to capture this ethos and is guided by Hart’s view of the power of texts as embodying “living words” (Hart, 2008, p. 236) and Palmer’s encouragement to be in dialogue with texts within a spirit of friendship (Palmer, 1993). Their kindred views suggest a relationship to texts which extends beyond uncomplicated interpretations of their referential status in inquiry to another where we instead engage them as vital presences.

While the chapter follows in the spirit of Palmer’s (1993) and Hart’s (2004) view of such relation, it is also intended to nurture the general thesis of my study, that is, how the journey onto wisdom is one which necessarily ventures onto the terrain of the personal and artful. As we embark on that journey the texts that we encounter and with which we feel kindred become witnesses to its crossing. It is a crossing whose map is ecumenical in spirit, that is, one wherein the literary is not excluded from the analytical text but instead embraced together within the inclusive ethos of contemplative inquiry.