Saturday, March 07, 2020


Without a Commentary

Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks, Vol. 7: Journals NB15-20 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014), pp. 153-154 (NB16:84):
Above all, read the N.T. without a commentary. Would it ever occur to a lover to read a letter from his beloved with a commentary!

A commentator is an extremely dangerous interference in connection with everything that makes a qualitative claim of having purely personal significance for me.

If the letter from the beloved were in a language I did not understand―well, then I learn the language―but I do not read the letter with commentaries by others. I read it, and because the thought of the beloved is truly present to me, and there is the intention, in everything, to will as the beloved wills and wishes: then I will surely understand it. It is the same with the Holy Scriptures. With God's help I will surely understand them. Every commentator detracts. The person who can sit with 10 open commentaries and read the Holy Scriptures―well, perhaps he will write the 11th, but he is associating with the Holy Scriptures contra naturam.

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