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GOTT-July 12, 2006

Kierkegaard’s Own Words

Thanks to those who tracked down the Kierkegaard quotation I was looking for in the comments to my previous post.  For anyone who’s interested, I now have a copy of the relevant volume of the Danish edition of Soren Kierkegaards Papirer, and will paste the relevant paragraph here.  (Update: I now also have here a little information about when in his life SK wrote this passage.)

Soren Keirkegaard original text

Soren Kierkegaard original text

As noted in the comments to the previous post, the reference is:

Soren Kierkegaards Papirer, ed. P. A. Heiberg, V. Kuhr and E. Torsting; 11:3:B:57 (1854)

About the date (I’ve been told it helps — well, it helps those who know enough — in understanding things SK wrote to know when in his life SK wrote them): This appears to have been written in December of 1854 — a little less than a year before SK’s death (Nov. 11, 1855).

And the English translation in Soren Kierkegaard’s Journals and Papers, Vol. 6 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), edited and translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, assited by Gregor Malantschuk, p. 557, is as follows:

What I have repeated again and again should be kept in mind: “I am without authority, am only a poet, an average man.” I do not claim to be better than others, only that I am not bound by a pledge to the New Testament and am not an ordained man, either. No, in no way do I pretend to be better than others, but I do want it made known that this is the way we carry on-I want some truth here and want it said honestly, loudly, and clearly. But I do not pretend to be better than others. Therefore what the old Bishop once said to me is not true–namely, that I spoke as if the others were going to hell. No, if I can be said to speak at all of going to hell then I say something like this: If the others are going to hell, then I am going along with them. But I do not believe that; on the contrary, I believe that we will all be saved, I, too, and this awakens my deepest wonder.

Posted by Keith DeRose | Permalink


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Have you concluded anything? Is the above translation accurate from the original language?

Posted by: bruced | July 20, 2006 at 10:20 PM

Bruce: There was an interesting discussion in the comments to the previous post, “Help with a Kierkegaard Quotation?”. No: Nobody’s checked the translations we have against the original Danish for us, but in the previous post’s comments, we do have two apparently independent translations from Danish to English.

Posted by: Keith DeRose | July 20, 2006 at 11:16 PM

Hi, is anyone allowed to post on this site? if so, how do you post more than just comments? thanks.

Posted by: matt | July 20, 2006 at 11:33 PM

It’s my understanding that only the “Contributors” — the current list of whom is on the left of the page — can contribute their own posts here, though anyone can comment.

Posted by: Keith DeRose | July 21, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Hey. I speak Danish and that’s an accurate translation.

Posted by: Arni | July 21, 2006 at 03:51 AM

Thanks, Arni

Posted by: Keith DeRose | July 21, 2006 at 02:30 PM

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