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Yeah, translations need to take into account changes in writing style over the centuries in addition to changes in language.

Here's the joke in "modern English":

Instead of joining the state's church, I propose instead the following. I will buy a flag, a uniform, a gun, and one of those battery-powered toy jeeps that little kids drive around their yards. Then, with grave seriousness, I will declare my faith in God's protection, furl out my flag, and call for the members of the state's church to follow me into battle. I will then hop in my toy jeep and begin driving toward the battle field.




Maybe I'm slow, but I still don't get it. Is he saying that members of the state's church will follow him blindly (making them out to be dumb / sheeple)? Or is he saying that even such a ridiculous sight is less ridiculous than the church? Maybe he's satirizing the state's enthusiasm for war? I feel like I'm missing context here. Or maybe this is why people say his humor is weird...


It's funny to think of a grown man on a little toy jeep/horse all dressed up for war and taking seriously his trip to the front line and into the battlefield. That's the "funny" part of the joke. And it's not weird funny, it's just normal funny.

The deeper point being made isn't possible to ascertain from just this snippet; you'd have to put the joke back into its context and find the larger point being made in the text around the joke. (edit: but, see racer-v's explanation)


I see, thank you, so he's making fun of how silly swearing fidelity is and taking it seriously is.


Yes; there's a certain unwholesome smugness in a person who conflates civic duty (e.g. fighting for his country) with religious purpose, which Kierkegaard mocks here.




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