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Why the Scribes Didn't Travel

Although the scribes could say where the Messiah should be born, they remained quite unperturbed in Jerusalem. They did not accompany the Wise Men to seek him. Similarly one may know the whole of Christianity, yet make no movement. What a difference! The three kings had only a rumor to go by. But it moved them to make that long journey. The scribes were much better informed. They sat and studied the Scriptures like so many scholars, but it did not make them move. Who had more truth? The three kings who followed a rumor, or the scribes who remained sitting with all their knowledge?

What a vexation it must have been for the kings, that the scribes who gave them the news remained quiet in Jerusalem! We are being mocked, the kings might have thought. For indeed it is serious self-contradiction that the scribes had the knowledge and yet remained still. It is just as serious as if a person knows about Christianity, and his own life expresses the opposite. We are tempted to suppose that he wishes to fool us, unless we admit that he is only fooling himself.

- Søren Kierkegaard, from Becoming Christian (excerpted from Provocations, Spiritual Writings of Søren Kierkegaard, an e-book available on Bruderhof.com)