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On the Pedagogy of Suffering

Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations


Edited By David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey

This text articulates how and why suffering can be pedagogical in character and how it is often key to authentic and meaningful acts of teaching and learning. This is an ancient idea from the Greek tragedies of Aeschylus (c. 525 BCE) – pathei mathos or «learning through suffering». In our understandable rush to ameliorate suffering at every turn and to consider every instance of it as an error to be avoided at all costs, we explore how the pedagogy that can come from suffering becomes obscured and something vital to a rich and vibrant pedagogy can be lost. This collection threads through education, nursing, psychiatry, ecology, and medicine, through scholarship and intimate breaths, and blends together affinities between hermeneutic conceptions of the cultivation of character and Buddhist meditations on suffering and its locale in our lives. This book will be useful for graduate courses on hermeneutic research in education, educational psychology, counseling, and nursing/medicine.


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Chapter Twenty-One: “Nobody Understood Why I Should Be Grieving” (David W. Jardine)


c h a p t e r t w oC T T e n T y - o n e “Nobody Understood Why I Should Be Grieving” david w. jardine Near the end of the film, near the end of his life, Benjamin Kasparian, once a re- spected professor whose identity depended on his research and finds, sneaks into the university lab after hours. He steals a brain, bones, some blood. At a place outside the city Benjamin digs a pit in the ground. He lays out the image of a running figure, a brain on legs. After covering this strange grave with earth, he lays down upon it and falls asleep. When Benjamin awakens, his memory is gone. He has gifted himself, his life, his work, back to the layers of the earth already taking him into its own meaning. (Seidel, 2014, p. 150) Nobody understood why I should be grieving. (Disenfranchised Grief, Dr. Ken Doka, Springer Publishing Company, 2013) i I’m nearing the end of teaching a course on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s Truth and Method for about the 25th time. I’ve often been asked, and often mulled myself, about how I can go back to the same text over and over again. One colleague half-joked, years ago, “It’s not the only book, you know?” 158 | david w. jardine Another, years ago, spoke of a course in seminary where the year’s readings consisted of re-reading the same biblical text every day, over and over and over again and nothing else...

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