A few years ago, when I began speaking to audiences, I had the rather naive idea that it would be sufficient—indeed entirely sufficient—to say each thing exactly once. Only gradually did I understand that saying a thing once is tantamount to saying it not at all. It is indeed sufficient for people to hear the laws of thermodynamics once, and to understand that they’re written down somewhere, should they ever be needed again, but there are other truths, of a different human order, that must be enunciated again and again and again—in the same words and in different words: again and again and again.
As you know, I’ve not spoken at Der Bau before this night. Yet some of you may have heard me speak elsewhere, and you may say to yourselves, “Haven’t I heard him say these things in Salzburg or Dresden or Stuttgart or Prague or Wiesbaden?” The answer to that question is yes. And when Jesus spoke in Galilee, there were those who asked: “Didn’t I hear him say these things in Capernaum or Jerusalem or Judaea or Gennesaret or Caesarea Phillippi?” Of course they heard him say them in all these places. All the public statements attributed to Jesus in the gospels could be delivered in three hours or less, and if he didn’t repeat himself everywhere he went, then he was silent during ninety-nine percent of his public life.