Johann Georg Hamann

I am currently studying Johann Georg Hamann (1730–1788).  The following are three short passages by him that I find particularly striking.

The first is from his work Aesthetica in Nuce and is translated by Gwen Griffith Dickson (in her book, Johann Georg Hamann’s Relational Metacriticism, pp. 420-1):

This analogy of the human being to the Creator imparts to all creatures their value and their stamp on which fidelity and faith in all of nature depend.  The more vivid this idea of the image of the invisible God is in our minds; the more able we are to see and taste, to contemplate and feel with our hands, His friendliness in His creatures.  Every impression of nature on the human being is not only a reminder, but also a pledge of the fundamental truth: who the LORD is.  Every counter-effect of the human being in creatures is a letter and seal of our share in the divine nature, and that we are His family.

The second is from his work Philological ideas and doubts and is translated by Kenneth Haynes (in his book, Johann Georg Hamann: Writings on Philosophy and Language, p. 116):

Presumably the senses stand in the same relation to understanding as the stomach does to the vessels which secrete the finer and higher fluids of the blood, without whose circulation and influence the stomach could not perform its office.  Everything that is in our understanding has previously been in our senses, just as everything that is in our entire body has once passed through our own stomachs or our parents’.  The stamina and the menstrua of our reason are thus in the truest understanding revelations and traditions which we accept as our property, transform into our fluids and powers, and by this means we become equal to our destiny, both to reveal the critical and archontic office of a political animal and to transmit it.

The third is from his work Golgotha and Sheblimini! and is translated by Robert Alan Sparling (in his book, Johann Georg Hamann and the Enlightenment Project, p. 151):

He spake, and it was done! ‘and whatsoever man called every living creature, that was the name thereof.’  According to this model and likeness of determination, every word of a man should be and remain the thing itself.  On this, the stamp and the title’s similarity with the pattern of our race and the guide of our youth – on this right of nature to use words as the truest, noblest, and most powerful means towards revelation and transmission of our most inner declaration of will [Willenserklärung], the validity of all contracts is grounded, and this mighty fortress of the hidden truth is superior to all political arithmetic, machinery, school-foxiness, and charlatanism.  The misuse of language and its natural signs is, then, the grossest perjury, and makes the violater of this first law of reason and its justice into the wickedest misanthrope.

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