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Andrzej SZOSTEK, MIC – The Testament of Kołakowski?


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Leszek Kołakowski’s Jezus ośmieszony [Jesus Ridiculed] (trans. D. Zańko, Znak, Kraków 2014) is an unfinished book although the author began it already in the 1980’s and repeatedly returned, in his other works, to the issues it explores. Jezus ośmieszony is an exceptional work, but the reason for this opinion is by no means the fact that the author left it unfinished, rather, that its style is thoroughly personal. Its significant subtitle, which reads, Esej apologetyczny i sceptyczny [An Apologetic and Skeptical Essay], suggests that in the course of the book Kołakowski develops a controversy with himself. On the one hand, he stresses that the phenomenon of ridiculing Jesus, so frequent in contemporary Western culture, is a manifestation of its deep crisis, since its most important foundation is precisely Jesus, who both shows the prospect of the Kingdom of God and portends the forthcoming apocalypse. Yet, on the other hand, Kołakowski recognizes that an acceptance of the fundamental truth of the faith, namely, of the fact of the resurrection of Jesus, does not fit into the scientific mentality, of which he approves and which has been worked out by this same culture. In this sense, it appears that the discourse between Kołakowski, an apologist of Jesus and Christianity, and Kołakowski, a skeptic and an advocate of science, recorded on the pages of the essay, remains unresolved. It was the philosopher himself who decided to leave it unfinished and intended it to serve as his specific testament and encouragement to the generations to come to continue the culturally significant dialogue between the ‘truth of a myth’ and the ‘truth of science.’

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: culture, Jesus, Christianity, science, skepticism, ethics

Contact: Department of Ethics, Institute of Theoretical Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy,
John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland

E-mail: http://www.kul.pl/kontakt,art_22355.html
Phone: +48 81 4454039
http://www.kul.pl/andrzej-szostek,2748.html



  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887