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The Circle Dance of Time

John S. Dunne

Publication Year: 2010

"There is nothing wiser than the circle," Rilke says in his Stories of God. John Dunne's new book explores the wisdom of the circle. He uses the metaphor of the circle dance, a folk dance in which the women form an inner circle, holding hands and moving clockwise; the men form an outer circle, moving counterclockwise. When the music stops the person opposite you is your partner for the next dance. Dunne interprets the circle as the great circle of life and light and love that comes from God and returns to God. Dunne emphasizes the far point on the circle, farthest away from God, and uses that to discuss the difficulties of our secular age. In the individual life, the far point is a dark night of the soul. Yet Dunne sees that far point of loneliness and darkness as a point as well, marking the return to love and light. So the theme of the book is like the words of an old Bedouin to Lawrence of Arabia, "The love is from God, and of God, and towards God." The book concludes with the words of twenty-one "Circle Songs," composed by the author.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii-xi

“Death is long,” the ghost of Darius says, “and there is no music.”1 If there is life, on the other hand, and there is music at journey’s end, then the journey of life is a circle dance where “In my beginning is my end,” as T. S. Eliot says, and “In my end is my beginning.”2 I was originally going to call this book Faith Seeking ...

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Reasons of the Heart

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pp. 1-20

When it comes to faith, “The heart has its reasons that reason does not know,”1 Pascal says. Those reasons, though, can become known to the mind, I believe, and insight or understanding is what happens when reasons of the heart do become known to the mind. “Faith seeking understanding ...

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God Sensible to the Heart

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pp. 21-40

“It is the heart that senses God and not reason,” Pascal says. “Here is what faith is: God sensible to the heart not to reason.”1 As I understand it, the heart senses God and God is sensible to the heart when the heart is kindled, and when that happens the mind is also illumined. Faith ...

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The Vision of Emanation

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pp. 41-61

Emanation was the ancient vision of the origin of things, and evolution is the modern vision, and yet the one is the reflection of the other, like the return of a light ray from a surface it encounters into the medium it has already traversed. Evolution rising from matter to life to intelligence ...

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The Vision of Return

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pp. 63-82

“An enchanted region where everything belonging there returns to that in which it rests.”1 That is how Heidegger describes what he calls the Realm (die Gegnet). There is a vision of return (epistrophe in Greek) in every vision of the origin of things, creation and emanation and ...

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The Far Point on the Circle

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pp. 83-113

If “the love is from God and of God and towards God,” as the old Bedouin said to Lawrence of Arabia, then there is a far point on the circle where “even love must pass through loneliness,”1 where even light must pass through darkness, where even life must pass through ...

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The Vision of God with Us

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pp. 115-128

“My life is a journey in time, and God is my companion on the way.” So I wrote years ago in a diary when I was setting out on a journey through Latin America. Now I realize how bold these words were. One of my graduate students said “Dante had Virgil and Beatrice ...

Circle Songs

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pp. 129-134


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pp. 135-157


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pp. 159-163

E-ISBN-13: 9780268077716
E-ISBN-10: 0268077711
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268026059
Print-ISBN-10: 026802605X

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2010

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Subject Headings

  • Spiritual life -- Catholic Church.
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