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Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1539-7785
  • E-ISSN: 2048-0717



The consummate scholar, Walter J. Ong wrote with clarity and grace detailed investigations and far-reaching speculations within a dozen disciplines. But Ong not only presented a model for how scholarship should be done; he also modeled a rationale for why it should be done. He urged that scholarship be dialogue, conversation rooted in I-thou relationships, with a recognition of the historicity of all human knowing, the radical incompleteness of all human utterance, and the consequent need to interpret all statement within the living present. His own scholarship is an expression of his personalist philosophical leanings and his Incarnational Christian beliefs, but those who do not share his philosophical and religious orientations can still appreciate his remarkable insights and profit from the example he gave for how teaching and scholarship are anchored in trust. This personalism is a motivation for Ong’s several investigations into media ecology, into the transformations of the word. The promise of electronic technology, with its implications of secondary orality, is not a return to a primitive or pristine oral-aural psychodynamics, but rather an attempt, through reflection, to find how, within an evolving consciousness and evolving world, new media can promote personalist encounters in original ways.


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  • Article Type: Article
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