Fan shells

On the thirteenth of March, 1758, Johann Georg Hamann began to read the Bible. A twenty-eight-year-old flâneur, deep in debt and subsisting on a daily meal of only coffee and porridge in a low-rent London apartment, Hamann did not seem a likely candidate to become the thinker whom Goethe would call “the brightest mind of his day,” or whom Kierkegaard would deem “the greatest humorist in the world.” But Hamann’s encounter with God was essential in what scholar John Betz calls “the making of a Christian Socrates.”

Unlike Socrates, Hamann has been mostly forgotten in our time.