How to Silence Scripture

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Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

edited by Charles E. Moore
Plough, 428 pp., $14.00

The witty and devout Soren Kierkegaard (d. 1855) is sometimes difficult to spot in his "thick" philosophical writings. With Charles Moore's judicious sifting, though, we now have a readable and spiritually vibrant selection of the brooding Dane's religious writings. What follows is a condensed excerpt from the chapter "Kill the Commentators!":

Today's mass of Bible interpreters have damaged, more than they have helped, our understanding of the Bible. In reading the scholars, it has become necessary to do as one does at a play where a profusion of spectators and spotlights prevent, as it were, our enjoyment of the play itself, and instead we are treated to little incidents. To see the play, one has to overlook them, if possible, or enter by a way that has not been blocked. The commentator has indeed become a most hazardous meddler.

Of course, the commentators are not the only ones at fault. God wants to force each one of us out again into the essential, back to a childlike beginning. But being naked before God in this way, this we do not want at all. We all prefer the commentaries. So with each passing generation we grow more and more spiritless.

The current emphasis on getting back to the Bible has, sadly, created religiosity out of learning and literalistic chicanery—a sheer diversion. Tragically this kind of knowledge has gradually trickled down to the masses so that no one can read the Bible simply anymore. All our Bible learning has become nothing but a fortress of excuses and escapes.

When it comes to existence, to obedience, there is always something else we have to first take care of. We live under the illusion that ...

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