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The Voice Does Not Deceive Us: Jean-Louis Chrétien on the Nature of Faithful Witness

"It is the testimony that makes the witness and the witness the testimony (which is also a way of understanding the absence of the word 'witness' in the gospel of John, which cannot be fortuitous). "And this is true also of the link between strength and fragility in the word of testimony: it is obviously not the fragility of the witness that makes for the strength of the testimony, but the latter reveals the former in a sovereign clarity. "It belongs to the sovereign nature of this clarity to preside in the tone, in the position of the voice of the witness speaking his fragility. We all know there exists a bad religious rhetoric of the unworthiness of the witness in which a saccharine voice, at the same plaintive and greedy, seems to expect all the more to be heeded because it is sweetly whispering that it is not worthy—but then the voice does not deceive us, nor the breath.

"The witness's center of gravity is not situated in him, but outside himself, in the object of his testimony, and that is why there is in him, as a witness, an essential disequilibrium and an essential fragility... The testimony is stronger than the witness, and the object of the testimony stronger than the testimony... [O]ne is not worthy in advance of being a witness; it is the act of bearing witness that will make one worthy..."


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