communication belabored by mediation, and therefore interpretation. But as I’veshown elsewhere (and Derrida well before that), the non-visual nature of sound does notmake it immaterial. Sound is still solidly linked to the reality of matter (air, ears,tympans, eardrums, etc.) and is highly mediated. Therefore it does not deserve any special privilege—which also means that it’s not any worse off than seeing. The pointcuts both ways.Second, while Webb rightly seeks to revalue sound, I think it is mistaken totopple vision from the throne and set up hearing as the new queen of the senses. Webbtends to do so when he claims, for instance, that “the idea that we are
present toeach other in sound is also true about God’s relationship to us.
the sense of hearing can do justice to the way God is simultaneously with us and beyond us” (39,emphases added). Or when he suggests that “the invisible God is revealed
though the audible, not the visual” (42, emphasis added). But this kind of privileging of voice or hearing is just
reductionism. A more properly holistic, fully-orbedtheological anthropology will equally value
of the senses. Why should taste andtouch and smell not receive similar affirmations? Why should vision be a whipping boy?(I see no reason to conclude, as Webb sometimes does, that vision is somehow inherently “objectifying” ; vision, too, is a feature of a good creation [see Col. 1:15].)Admittedly, in other places Webb seems to conclude the same, rightly noting that “theredemption of the world will entail the restoration of
of our senses” (30; cp. 42). Butthe force of his argument tends to mute this more egalitarian account of the senses.Finally, I found Webb’s project just a bit too Protestant. While he rightly pointsus to Luther, Calvin, and Barth, and while it might be the unique apostolate of theProtestant churches to keep sound on center stage, I found the portrayal of the3