By Howard A. And Niels Thulstrup Johnson

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All of us proceed upon the notion that all the conceivable truths would, if finally gathered, agree with one another and be free of contrariety and contradiction. The goal (evasive as it is in fact) is always a kind of historical understanding which would never have to be redone because it is adequate to the facts that really are. Even granted the fulfilment of this desire, all possible knowledge about Denmark, Regina, and S0ren, everything about every book and the circumstances of its writing, would still not promise an understanding of Kierkegaard's writings.

Then, however, the immediacy is restored. Yet they must be so communicated that the relation between them and the reader or hearer is also immediate. Every thinking person in turn must make them immediate by virtue of giving them existence in his thought which thinks them and in his language which describes them. For it is undoubtedly true that one does not think and know a possible unless one is able to describe it linguistically. Everything which we have noted thus far argues principally for what we shall hereafter call cognitive immediacy in order to distinguish it from other kinds of immediacy which Kierkegaard notes.

The trouble, however, is that God, the infinite concretion, keeps control with infinite ease and is not afraid to lose control if he permits differences; no, his majestic security finds expression precisely in the fact that he can keep control by differentiation everywhere. 7 Kierkegaard's attacks on the cult of the family have basically j«e same origin. Birth, baptism, confirmation, marriage, and death have in reality again become opportunities for salvation in the vitaljstic religious sense. The character of spiritual religion with its knowledge of the condition of "non-salvation," the individual's selfdecision with its conscious avowal of the extraordinary: all this has been lost.

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A Kierkegaard Critique: An International Selection of Essays Interpreting Kierkegaard by Howard A. And Niels Thulstrup Johnson


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