2011 | 6 | 452-461
Article title

Wymiary świętości. Eseistyka Jana Józefa Szczepańskiego jako inne spojrzenie na motyw współczesnego „Świętego”

Title variants
The Measurement of Saintliness. Jan Jozef Szczepanski’s essays as an alternative way of understanding “The Modern Saint” motive
Languages of publication
Jan Jozef Szczepanski is one of the most uncommon, postwar polish writers and publicist. His wide and rich co-operation with “Tygodnik Powszechny” and the most famous narrations such as: “The Shoes” or novel “The Polish Autumn” are strictly connected with problems like: honor, heroism and dignity of a human being. He is also known as one of the greatest continuator of Joseph Conrad’s tradition and thoughts, especially with understanding the meaning of writer’s responsibility for the world. Szczepanski has created a very special attitude – a pose of contemporaneousness witness, which brings reflections about modern morality and obligates readers to confront different values and ideas. Despite his relationship with catholic “Tygodnik Powszechny”, Szczepanski always declared, that the most important and timeless ethic is not connected with any religion, but is a total amount of all human experiences. That point of view brought the writer nearer the philosophical conception of Jaques Mounier and the idea of humanistic personalization. His publicist debut in 1946 called “The Saint against the Imperium” – a reflection about Mahatma Gandhi – was an introduction to Jan Jozef Szczepanski’s thoughts about modern saintliness without religious labels. His general idea concerned ethic and moral saintliness, without any connections with ontologic position of a person. Mahatma Gandhi’s example shown that every person in modern world could be The Saint, no matter what kind of religion or culture had represented. The Saintliness in Szczepański’s reflection was an original, moral value. That value was also very important in one of his most affecting essays “The Saint”. A history of Maria Maksymilian Kolbe – a catholic priest, who had voluntarily tendered his own life for other Auschwitz’s prisoner freedom – shown that even savaged time of war could bring a shadow of hope. Szczepanski was far from popular hagiography. As he said: “Modern, lay world probably needs saintliness more than any time before. But – I suppose – less than any time before needs hagiography” Szczepanski was trying to find a key to victory of a human morality in modern world through reflections about ethical sources of mankind. The affirmation of summum bonum exists in all religious and ethical systems, but – as the writer admitted – words are sometimes too weak to express essence of modern saintliness.
Physical description
  • Filologiczne Studium Doktoranckie Wydział Filologiczny Uniwersytet Gdański
  • Szczepański J. J. , „Święty” przeciw Imperium, „Tygodnik Powszechny”, Kraków 1946, nr 20.
  • Szczepański J.J. , Święty [w:] Przed Nieznanym Trybunałem, Warszawa 1975 r.
  • Szczepański J.J. [w:] H. Zaworska, Nam idzie o życie: dzienne rodaków rozmowy, Warszawa 1991 r.
  • Szczepański J. J. , Świętość w świecie współczesnym [w:] Wszyscy szukamy, Warszawa 1998 r.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
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