gershon hepner

(5 3 38 / leipzig)

messianic ardor


To messianic ardor lacking
enlightened skepticism
Berlin refused to give his backing,
withdrawing from the chasm
created by the minds of men
who dabble in extremes,
and, Daniel in a lions' den,
deplored fanatics' dreams.
He welcomed idiosyncrasies
that other men deplore,
believing we should to try please
by making love, not war.
We need this third Isaiah now,
for his ideas so fecund
that tolerantly taught us how
we ought to read the second.

Richard Bernstein quotes Isaiah Berlin in 'Foxes, Hedgehogs and the Defense of Freedom, ' a review of 'Isaiah Berlin: A Life, ' by Michael Ignatieff (Henry Holt) in the NYT, November 25,1998:

What the age calls for is not (as we are often told) more faith, or stronger leadership, or more scientific organization. Rather, it is the opposite - less Messianic ardor, more enlightened skepticism, more toleration of idiosyncrasies.

11/25/98

Submitted: Monday, August 17, 2009

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