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Funny Philosophers

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David Bentley Hart contests Thomas Oden's claim that Kierkegaard is the most humorous of Western philosophers, offering Hamann as an alternative. In challenging Oden's nomination, Hart has this important comment about Kierkegaard's attack on Christendom, particularly K's complaint about Christian "whoremongers":

Yes, in fact there are "Christian" whorehouses, and whoremongers, and whores, and they are nothing like their pagan predecessors, because the formation of conscience within even a defectively Christian culture is something altogether novel; the whorehouse is now full of sinners, whose memories necessarily bear the impress of moral grammars and spiritual promises that the pagan order never knew, and who in consequence may yet awaken to their sin, and who may even find themselves at unexpected moments haunted by charity or tormented by grace. And it is the repeated failure of Kierkegaard to understand just this that makes his treatment of the whole question of Christendom finally so boring Eand so humorless.

posted by Peter J. Leithart on Monday, January 10, 2005 at 10:35 PM

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