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JOHANNES DE SILENTIO

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  • ROBERT
    HOW+WHERE DID K DEVELOP THIS PSEUDO NAME? DID IT MEAN ANYTHING FOR HIM? COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT LITERARY FORMS DID HE USE? OUR LIBRARY IS NOT FORTUNATE TO
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 25, 2003
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      HOW+WHERE DID K DEVELOP THIS "PSEUDO" NAME? DID IT MEAN ANYTHING
      FOR HIM? COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT LITERARY FORMS DID HE USE?

      OUR LIBRARY IS NOT FORTUNATE TO HAVE A COLLECTION OF HIS
      WRITINGS. WHAT WE HAVE HERE ARE GENERAL HISTORY BOOKS ON
      PHILOSOPHY.

      PLEASE BEAR WITH MY IGNORANCE.

      THANK YOU!

      ROBERTO
    • ROBERT
      HOW+WHERE DID K DEVELOP THIS PSEUDO NAME? DID IT MEAN ANYTHING FOR HIM? COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT LITERARY FORMS DID HE USE? OUR LIBRARY IS NOT FORTUNATE TO
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 25, 2003
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        HOW+WHERE DID K DEVELOP THIS "PSEUDO" NAME? DID IT MEAN ANYTHING
        FOR HIM? COULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT LITERARY FORMS DID HE USE?

        OUR LIBRARY IS NOT FORTUNATE TO HAVE A COLLECTION OF HIS
        WRITINGS. WHAT WE HAVE HERE ARE GENERAL HISTORY BOOKS ON
        PHILOSOPHY.

        PLEASE BEAR WITH MY IGNORANCE.

        THANK YOU!

        ROBERTO
      • iain3232000
        Yes, the pseudonym: Johannes de silentio is meaningful. I m quoting from Kierkegaard s fear and trembling (Penguin classics)- We notice that Kierkegaard
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 27, 2003
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          Yes, the pseudonym: 'Johannes de silentio' is meaningful. I'm quoting
          from Kierkegaard's 'fear and trembling' (Penguin classics)- "We
          notice that Kierkegaard has given his author the name 'Johannes de
          silentio', which is allegedly borrowed from one of the Grimms' fairy-
          tales, 'The Faithful Servant'. (The claim for this origin is made by
          E.Hirsch in 'Teologisk Tidsskrift for den danske Folkekirke' <1931>.
          pp.214) Kierkegaard's John of silence is not, however, at all a
          silent person. If he was he wouldn't be an author. Nor was the
          faithful servant in the fairy-tale. He told his master, the young
          king, of three dangers threatening him, though realizing that in
          doing so he would be turned to stone. (To anticipate a further
          connection with 'fear and trembling', when the royal couple later got
          two sons they gave the lives of these in sacrifice in order to bring
          Johannes back to life.) Johannes, the author, is no slouch with
          words; and yet he finds it difficult to say anything about faith
          except that it is something which, if you have it, you will not be
          able to explain to anyone else. Instead of seeing faith from some
          elevated point of view likw that of Hegel's 'system' (Hegel's own
          word for complete account of ascent to the Absolute Mind's
          transparency), Kierkegaard's author conveys to us the hard fact that
          faith, if it is anything, simply has no place in a system of thought,
          that 'faith begins precisely where thinking leaves off'. Faith, for
          Johannes de silentio, is an expression rather of the limit of what
          can be thought. A person who has it cannot say what it is he has; or
          at least he cannot say what faith is from any 'systematic' or
          scientific point of view. But having read Fear and Trembling we might
          even suppose that Kierkegaard has wanted he pseudonym to tell us that
          if someone genuinely has faith, as Abraham the father of Issac is
          said to have proved by his willingness to sacrifice Issac, then that
          person has in that respect exiled himself from the realm of human
          discourse. His faith is an affront to humanity as we generally
          understand this, that is as a more or less well-defined set of
          dispositions that we expect or recognize in each other and value."

          I think a good comparison of trying to communicate 'faith' and trying
          to communicate any unique (personal) experience is interesting. In
          language we must make generalizations, whether they be conceptual or
          objective, we make them in order to understand one another. Both
          people (parties) must have some kind of an understanding of what's
          meant or signified by the conversation. For example, I may say to
          you, 'I'm happy today' or 'I'm sad', this has relational meaning and
          is easily communicated because we all have these feelings and have
          experienced them: we understand them. These statements can be
          understood immediately because of their relational value to other
          individuals who have had the same experiences. But let's say that the
          experience was unique and individual, well how then would it be
          expressed? (defining 'unique' as unlike anything else)
          You may be able to attempt to describe the unique experience with
          analogy or comparison, but that will never capture its precise
          meaning. So in a way certain unique experiences can be said to fall
          out of the reach of language, since language is predicated on this
          notion of generalizations. (that's the basic idea) But maybe this
          leads us to clue about another medium: art. What can't be spoken in
          words is often sung.
          thanks,Iain
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