„But the imparting of religion is not to be sought in books, like that of intellectual conceptions and scientific knowledge.“

— Friedrich Schleiermacher, Context: But the imparting of religion is not to be sought in books, like that of intellectual conceptions and scientific knowledge. The pure impression of the original product is too far destroyed in this medium, which, in the same way that dark-colored objects absorb the greatest proportion of the rays of light, swallows up everything belonging to the pious emotions of the heart, which cannot be embraced in the insufficient symbols from which it is intended again to proceed. Nay, in the written communications of religious feeling, everything needs a double and triple representation; for that which originally represented, must be represented in its turn; and yet the effect on the whole man, in its complete unity, can only be imperfectly set forth by continued and varied reflections. It is only when religion is driven out from the society of the living, that it must conceal its manifold life under the dead letter. Neither can this intercourse of heart with heart, on the deepest feelings of humanity, be carried on in common conversation. Friedrich Schleiermacher, On The Social Element in Religion (1799), The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 5 http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/12888


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