Buddhas, gods, prophets and oracles are often depicted as asking questions. But what are we to understand when Jesus asks “Who do you say that I am?”, or Mazu, the Classical Zen master asks, “Why do you seek outside?” Is their questioning a power or weakness? Is it something human beings are only capable of due to our finitude? Is there any kind of question that is a power?
Focusing on three case studies of questions in divine discourse on the level of story – the god depicted in the Jewish Bible, the master Mazu in his recorded sayings literature, and Jesus as he is depicted in canonized Christian Gospels – Nathan Eric Dickman meditates on human responses to divine questions. He considers the purpose of interreligious dialogue and the provocative kind of questions that seem to purposefully decenter us, drawing on methods from confessionally-oriented hermeneutics and skills from critical thinking.
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