In 1962 the Provincial administration of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great (USA) and the faculty of the College of St. Thomas Aquinas (River Forest, Il.) (Studium S. O. P.) started a journal: Reality.
The goal of this periodical was to encourage members of the Province, especially those in formation, to contribute to theological and philosophical publications in the United States. At that time articles and books by Dominicans were few. The journal appeared once a year and described itself as “A Yearly Journal of Historical and Scientific Studies in Theology and Philosophy.” It expected mainly to publish articles by members of the Province, and that took place. The articles, mostly by the students studying for the priesthood, were usually considerations in terms of Aristotelian and neo-Thomistic philosophy of basic, traditional, or contemporary issues. These ranged from animal instinct to the Eucharist as sacrifice.
In 1961 the Ecumenical Movement had entered the world of the Dominican school in Dubuque (soon to become Aquinas Institute of Theology), and the Ecumenical Council, Vatican II brought some knowledge of contemporary theologians. In 1965 a Dominican student from Madison, Wisconsin, Matthew Fox, was asked to be the next editor of Reality. Influenced by those new directions he transformed the journal into Listening (the emergence of Listening from Reality is described at length in Matthew Fox, Confessions. The Making of a Postdenominational Priest, Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2015).
The title was suggested by the thinking of the philosopher Martin Heidegger: “Being-with develops in listening to one another.” Fox found a willing group of Dominican students to help him with the new journal which appeared in Fall, 1965. In its first years Listening published some remarkable articles: a recent interview with Hans Küng; a meditation on world and nature by Heidegger; M.-D. Chenu’s view of “The End of the Constantinian Era;” and reflections on contemporary cultural figures ranging from Flannery O’Connor to Hugh Hefner. Subscriptions went far beyond those of seminaries and Dominican priories and reached in a few years eight thousand. Fox went to pursue doctoral studies in Paris. When he returned after three years he was asked to be editor which he did for two or so years. Fox would later be internationally known for his publications and his institute on Creation-Centered Spirituality. In a dozen of those years Fox founded and edited another journal: Creation Spirituality.
After Fox’s time the production of Listening became the responsibility of some Dominican teacher. It was soon taken over by Victor La Motte, O.P., professor at Lewis College (Romeoville, Il.), and he managed energetically both the editorial and business aspects for some years. The cover at that time acquired its lasting subtitle: “Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture.” When La Motte became seriously ill, it was handed over to the faculty of Lewis University where it stayed for some years. It may have been directed briefly by faculty at De Paul University (Chicago, Il.). Eventually, around 2000 or before, it came to be published by professors at Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Pa.). On the opening page the editor is listed as a member of “The Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies.” Three “consulting editors” are mentioned from Lewis University, Loyola University (Chicago, Il.), and St. Mary’s University (Moraga, Ca.). It is published three times a year and the subscription price is $35.00 for individuals, and $75 for institutions and can be found online at http://www.listeningjournal.us .
The cover presents the theme for that issue, although all the articles inside are not necessarily devoted to that topic. A brief introduction opens each issue. The themes vary: for Fall, 2014, it is, “Human Rights as Social Constructions”; for Winter, 2014, it is “Contemplative Ways of Knowing in Higher Education.” A recent issue Winter, 2020, gives as its theme: “Listening to Our Limits.” Among its articles are “The Rhetoric of Plastic Surgery,” “Ethos, Topoi, and the Limits of Public Moral Argument,” and a study of a French postmodern philosopher, “Levinas’ View on Responsibility: an Asymmetrical Exploration.”
Some issues and articles have theological and religious themes. For Fall, 2012, the theme is “Reflections on the Second Gospel. Listening to Mark.” A recent issue for 2019 states its theme to be “Catholic Art after Christendom.” Articles consider the religious side of recent trends in art, the influence of the Incarnation on artists, and the theme of Culture and Christ in recent papal writings. Michael Monshau published in 2017 “The Responsibility of Every Christian: To Preach Jesus Christ.”