Emerson on Jesus

I don’t know why more people don’t read Emerson. He speaks exactly to our condition. Take this, from his journal of February, 1855, when he was 52.

“Munroe [his publisher] seriously asked what I believed of Jesus and prophets. I said, as so often, that it seemed to me an impiety to be listening to one and another, when the pure Heaven was pouring itself into each of us, on the simple condition of obedience. To listen to any second-hand gospel is perdition of the First Gospel. Jesus was Jesus because he refused to listen to another, and listened at home.”

There’s a world of wisdom in that little paragraph, and a world of encouragement. Why don’t more people read Emerson?

7 thoughts on “Emerson on Jesus

  1. Frank, Emerson is splendid by no doubt, thank you.
    I`m into 3 books at the time being.
    In the one book by Elsa Barker titled as “Letters from The Light.”
    Printed 1914, Emerson were quoted too.

    It is a new title of the same old book, and reprinted, now available at Amazon, as “Letters from The Afterlife” by Elsa Barker. In my eyes the book is genuine, as well as Rita`s.

    But, the one ZEN book to have bought (I have never been interested in Zen before at all, it is new to me), there it is many “sayings” by ancient Masters.

    And quote (one of the sitates) from the ZEN book titled as “Boundless Intimacy:”

    “The true human being is
    not anyone in particular;
    But, like the deep blue color
    of the limitless sky, it is everyone,
    everywhere in the world.”

    (Dogen Zenji 1238 A.D)….did not knew anything about him before now of course.

    B & B, Inger Lise

  2. Emerson was another one of those individuals arriving before his time (kind of like Jesus in a way). A favorite Emerson quote for me …

    “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

    I have attempted to live this comment over the years – although I might re-word my experiences now in this way. “If I do not feel enthusiasm about something, I am not attracted to it.”

    Thanks for sharing ‘some Emerson’.

  3. Emerson’s prose is a bit idiosyncratic and I think many? some? most? find it a little difficult to digest. I also think his writings are presumed to fall within the broad category of popular moral hortatory that was so common in the 19th century. That perception is not wrong, but it’s somewhat like saying that Faulkner is just a “southern writer.”

    More irritating to me over the years has been the relatively constant condescension toward Emerson from academics I’ve encountered in person or in print. His work is frequently misunderstood and the insights available therein are mostly ignored or go unrecognized. And yet Nietzsche said of him (approximately): no 19th century thinker was richer in ideas than Emerson. Not much more need be said than that.

    Nietzsche also lamented that Emerson had not received more intensive formal training. “As it is, in Emerson we have lost a philosopher.” Perhaps. Though it is impossible to know what might have been lost to Emerson in that process.

    Generosity of spirit coupled to a cheerful certainty that nothing and no one is ever lacking in this world–that’s Emerson to me.

  4. Well, Frank, I am currently spending most of my time reading YOU. 🙂 Maybe my upstairs folk can feed me some Emerson while my body sleeps.

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