The present author is no philosopher, he has not understood the System, nor does he know if there really is one, or if it has been completed. As far as his own weak head is concerned the thought of what huge heads everyone must have in order to have such huge thoughts is already enough. Even if one were able to render the whole of the content of faith into conceptual form, it would not follow that one had grasped faith, grasped how one came to it, or how it came to one. The present author is no philosopher, he is poetice et eleganter [to put it in poetic and well-chosen terms], a freelancer who neither writes the System nor makes any promises about it, who pledges neither anything about the System nor himself to it. He writes because for him doing so is a luxury, the more agreeable and conspicuous the fewer who buy and read what he writes. In an age where passion has been done away with for the sake of science he easily forsees his fate – in an age when an author who wants readers must be careful to write in a way that he can be comfortably leafed through during the after-dinner nap, and be sure to present himself to the world like the polite gardener's boy in the Advertiser who, hat in hand and with good references from his previous place of employment, recommends himself to a much-esteemed public. He foresees his fate will be to be completely ignored; has a dreadful foreboding that the scourge of zealous criticism will more than once make itself felt; and shudders at what terrifies him even more, that some enterprising recorder, a paragraph swallower who to rescue learning is always willing to do to others' writings what, to `preserve good taste`, Trop nobly did to The Destruction of the Human Race, will slice him into sections as ruthlessly as the man who, in the service of the science of punctuation, divided up his speech by counting the words and putting a full-stop after every fifty and a semi-colon after every thirty-five. No, i prostrate myself before any systematic bag-searcher; this is not the System, it hasn't the slightest thing to do with the System. I wish all good on the System and on the Danish shareholders in that omnibus; for it will hardly become a tower. I wish them good luck and prosperity one and all.

Johannes De Silentio

Here's an online version of fear and trembling. I don't like the translation much. But it is free.


  1. you are too kind to me d.

    to elucidate, the above quote was typed by me from a copy i have not from the online version.