Compare 08/30/2013

Tom's picture

Questions show the mind's range, and answers its subtlety.
  --Joseph Joubert, essayist (1754-1824)

(123:2.3)  From the time Jesus was five years old until he was ten, he was one continuous question mark. While Joseph and Mary could not always answer his questions, they never failed fully to discuss his inquiries and in every other possible way to assist him in his efforts to reach a satisfactory solution of the problem which his alert mind had suggested.

(125:5.8) And all the day through, those who listened marveled at these questions, and none was more astonished than Simon. For more than four hours this Nazareth youth plied these Jewish teachers with thought-provoking and heart-searching questions. He made few comments on the remarks of his elders. He conveyed his teaching by the questions he would ask. By the deft and subtle phrasing of a question he would at one and the same time challenge their teaching and suggest his own. In the manner of his asking a question there was an appealing combination of sagacity and humor which endeared him even to those who more or less resented his youthfulness. He was always eminently fair and considerate in the asking of these penetrating questions. On this eventful afternoon in the temple he exhibited that same reluctance to take unfair advantage of an opponent which characterized his entire subsequent public ministry. As a youth, and later on as a man, he seemed to be utterly free from all egoistic desire to win an argument merely to experience logical triumph over his fellows, being interested supremely in just one thing: to proclaim everlasting truth and thus effect a fuller revelation of the eternal God.

(132:4.2) Jesus' usual technique of social contact was to draw people out and into talking with him by asking them questions. The interview would usually begin by his asking them questions and end by their asking him questions. He was equally adept in teaching by either asking or answering questions. As a rule, to those he taught the most, he said the least. Those who derived most benefit from his personal ministry were overburdened, anxious, and dejected mortals who gained much relief because of the opportunity to unburden their souls to a sympathetic and understanding listener, and he was all that and more. And when these maladjusted human beings had told Jesus about their troubles, always was he able to offer practical and immediately helpful suggestions looking toward the correction of their real difficulties, albeit he did not neglect to speak words of present comfort and immediate consolation. And invariably would he tell these distressed mortals about the love of God and impart the information, by various and sundry methods, that they were the children of this loving Father in heaven.

    Joseph Joubert was a French moralist and essayist, remembered today largely for his Pensées (Thoughts), which was published posthumously. From the age of fourteen Joubert attended a religious college in Toulouse, where he later taught until 1776. In 1778 he went to Paris where he met D'Alembert and Diderot, amongst others, and later became friends with a young writer and diplomat, Chateaubriand.
    He alternated between living in Paris with his friends and life in the privacy of the countryside in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne. He was appointed inspector-general of universities under Napoleon.
    Joubert published nothing during his lifetime, but he wrote a copious amount of letters and filled sheets of paper and small notebooks with thoughts about the nature of human existence, literature, and other topics, in a poignant, often aphoristic style. After his death his widow entrusted Chateaubriand with these notes, and in 1838, he published a selection entitled, Recueil des pensées de M. Joubert (Collected Thoughts of Mr. Joubert). More complete editions were to follow, as were collections of Joubert's correspondence.
    Somewhat of the Epicurean school of philosophy, Joubert even valued his own frequent suffering of ill health, as he believed sickness gave subtlety to the soul.  Joubert's works have been translated into numerous languages. An English translation version was made by Paul Auster.