Again we have the self-contemplation of political power which thinks that everything should be arranged at the political level by political means, and that everything has political signification.

       The Politics of God and the Politics of Man

          Libertatea ca o comedie

Like every other social organization, politics continues to exist as a kind of theater in which we play out the comedy of freedom.

        What I Believe

        Politicul se foloseste si se adreseaza numai domeniului vizibil

Politics involves the disclosure of everything latent, bringing these elements to the light of day so their efforts can be evaluated. Politics means power and capturing the means of power. And power is necessarily located in the visual sphere. Even biblically, when the Word is revealed as power, it produces visible results (the Creation!). But according to Paul’s reasoning, the things that can be seen were
made by the invisible ones. Politics, on the contrary, tries to go only from visible
things to visible, and to circumscribe everything within the efficacy of power.
This is the opposite of the process of witnessing, which never coerces and never gets involved in competition for power. It always leaves the listener with his independence, because the witness always proceeds from the visual to the word.

         Humiliation of the Word


       Progresul tehnologic – un proces inexorabil

 An objective characteristic of the technological system is that technology is
necessarily progressive.  It cannot, “by nature,” remain stationary. It cannot stop advancing. We always think in terms of linear expansion: a “step forward,” an improved technology succeeding another.  But this progressivity is also spatial expansion; technology cannot find sufficient breadth unless it is applied everywhere.  It cannot leave any domain intact, because it always has to keep mobilizing more and more energy, resources, raw materials, etc.

       The Tehnological System

       Omul ca instrument al progresului tehnologic

Self-augmentation thus encompasses two phenomena.  On the one hand, technology has reached a point of evolution at which it keeps changing and progressing, with no decisive human intervention, by a kind of inner force, which compels it to grow and necessarily entails nonstop development.  On the other hand, all people in our time are so passionate about technology, so utterly shaped by it, so assured of its superiority, so engulfed in the technological environment, that they are all, without exception, oriented toward technological progress, all working toward it, no matter what their trade, each individual seeking the best way to use his instrument or perfect a method, a device, etc.  Thus, technology progresses thanks to the efforts of all people (except for the nonintegrated nations of the third world and the very tiny number of antitechnological individuals in technological society.

       The Tehnological System

       Tehnologia este din ce in ce mai inovatoare exact in punctele neesentiale

So, Teissier du Cos: “The more an industry responds to a basic need, the less it innovates.” In other words, technological growth (i.e., innovation) occurs first in  the areas of the superfluous, the useless, the gratuitous, the secondary. And this  seems to be generalizable. In the period of spontaneity, innovation was applied  to things that did not respond to essential needs. Thus, no innovation is in man’s true interest.  The obvious things we note today (more innovation for walking on the moon than for feeding people) have always been a trait of technological progress.  And this confirms the trait of self-augmentation.  It actually means that technological growth has taken place in terms of itself and by its own process, and that there has never been a clear human intentionality able to direct it.

      The Tehnological System

       Ceea ce da rezultate este moral

In reality, today what justifies the means is the means itself, for in our day everything that “succeeds,” everything that is effective, everything in itself “efficient,” is justified. The means, by being applied, produces a result, and this result is judged by the simplest criteria­e.g. everything to which we can apply the adjective “more”: that is, greater, quicker, more precise, etc. If we can do this, the means is declared to be good. Everything that succeeds is good; everything that fails is bad. Now technics  infallibly teaches us to discern the means, the only means which contains within itself the most brilliant success. Technics always succeeds. All technical objectives (which are not ends, and we must be very careful not to confuse them in our minds) are necessarily attained by the most perfect technical means. Thus a political system of means will be triumphant.

      The Presence of The Kingdom

       Bani si Har

For Mammon’s work is the exact opposite of God’s work.  Given this opposition, we understand why Jesus demands a choice between Mammon and God.  He is not speaking of just any other power, just any other god; he is speaking of the one who goes directly against God’s action, the one who makes “nongrace” reign in the world.  Of course any other power and any other god is in a sense God’s opposite, but none is more opposite than Mammon from the standpoint of behavior.  For Mammon is unable to be more or less in agreement with grace.  It loses all reason for existence, all power over us, as soon as grace enters our heart.

      Money and Power


Realism, as generally understood, leads to the conclusion that “things being as they are, this is the realistic line to take.” The Christian must indeed see things as they are, but he will not derive his principles of action from them. This realism gives him a clear idea of what the choices are in the given situation, but he will not take the action that is automatically indicated‑though he will be tempted to do so; for reality, once seen, is hard to escape from.

        Violence: Reflections from a Christian Perspective

       Cuvant si imagine

The same language can produce certainty in one person and doubt in another. The same phrase is true at a given moment, but then no longer. The path followed by discourse, however logical and rigorous, is not able to give a watertight demonstration. We all know contradictory arguments that are equally probable and convincing; this uncertain quality has caused people to lose patience with language. But let’s be careful: people lost patience with language only when visualization began to triumph. The time came when technique was identified with the visual realm, and technically produced visual images gave people undeniable evidence. At the same time, images gave a feeling of unlimited power. This is when language began to be thought of as just “talk,” because it did not give the same kind of clear certainty and indisputable results that visualization and technique did (considered separately as well as in tandem and identified with each other).

       Humiliation of the Word

       Cuvantul impersonal este golit de sens

The word has become anonymous and therefore has no importance, since its only reality involved the meaning of two living persons who needed to know and recognize each other and to exchange something. Words are just wind. They pass by and have no importance: as long as no one puts the weight of his entire life behind the word he speaks, how can we take one statement more seriously than any other?

      Humiliation of the Word

       Hristos Cuvantul

In the Bible the word is an integral part of the person. It is true if the person is true. Jesus’ words have no value or importance whatever if they are separated from the person of Jesus. In him there is perfect unity of life, action, word, relationship, and knowledge. The current rupture between the speaker and the word strips the word, but soon it takes on value again. But from where? Necessarily from something
nonhuman, so that this value will be related to reason, science, some opinion, a social tendency, or a concept of beauty or truth. A concept rather than the beauty of an experience lived in harmony with itself, or the truth of a person’s unity. Once related only to a concept, the word is at the mercy of all sorts of winds and changes; it loses all weight and meaning. It becomes an instrument, to be manipulated. It does not commit anyone to anything.

       Humiliation of the Word


       Criza morala

For half a century now, we have been referring to the moral crisis of the Western world.  One feels, one knows, one diagnoses the point at which this moral crisis becomes a threat to the entire society.  The crisis is manifest precisely in the fact that society does not furnish the individual with imperatives and values.  Each one searches on his own.  Each person prescribes the moral law for himself, and each little group for itself. There is no longer a common base for action.  No longer is there any ground for civic virtue and for loyalty freely given.  This lack of a common morality not only vitiates individual conduct, but jams the political mechanisms and the economic organizations as well. Everyone agrees that institutional reforms are powerless without the moral reform of the individual.

       To Will and To Do

       Cu toate ca dorim sa schimbam lucrurile , civilizatia merge spre uniformitate. Sclavia omului. Imposibilitatea revolutiei.

This profound immobility, this incapacity for revolution‑which is certainly the essential characteristic of our epoch‑ in opposition to the exasperated desire for this most necessary revolution, creates a formless kind of society. In spite of all the political struggles, which have never been so violent, in spite of apparent tradictions, there is a progress toward uniformity, an alignment of all values, of all ideologies, based upon a few essential elements of civilization. Thus man divests himself of his true dignity, and he who should dominate things and the world becomes the slave of “facts”; this “slavery” is more complete than that which any intellectual dictatorship ever hoped to achieve. Thus man, who wants to master the material world, submits to the dominion of matter, as expressed in the fact; henceforth his thought, his life, his sentiments are all under the control of experience, of the fact. Now so far as our present discussion is concerned, it is important to note that this submission to the fact is the antirevolutionary position par excellence. As between Creon and
Antigone modern man would take the side of Creon. The revolutionary act, to the
extent in which it enters into the struggle against the power of the fact, is a desperate effort, but modern man no longer fights against facts.

      The Presence of The Kingdom

       O societate a actiunii

Our world is entirely directed toward action. Everything is interpreted in terms of action, nothing is more beautiful than action, and people are always looking for slogans, programs, ways of action; indeed, our world is so obsessed by activity that it is in danger of losing its life. We know that the great slogan of all dictatorships is this‑action for action’s sake. This brings us back, once more, to the problem of the end and the means.

       The Presence of The Kingdom

       Societatea imaginilor, imaginea societatii

In order to succeed images must genuinely reflect our society. Then they involve the spectator’s thought in judgments and decisions that are related only to technical, economic, and political life. It is certainly not by accident that precisely at the time we
were invaded by images, scholars came up with the theory of the need for commitment in thought. This commitment cannot remain independent of what is shown to it; and what is shown is nothing but the political-social context.

       The Presence of The Kingdom

       Umbra realitatii ca mediu propice propagandei

Our contemporaries only see the presentations that are given them by the press, the radio, propaganda, and publicity. The man of the present day does not believe in his own experiences, in his own judgment, in his own thought: he leaves all that to what he sees in print or hears on the radio. In his eyes, a fact becomes true when he has read an account of it in the paper, and he measures its importance by the size of the headlines! What he himself has seen does not count, if it has not been officially interpreted, if there is not a crowd of people who share his opinion. This statement, which may seem oversimplified, is in reality at the basis of all propaganda.

       Humiliation of the Word

       Democratizarea raului

The democratization of evil involves two things.  First, the more people reach a higher standard of living, the more they have means to provoke disagreements with others.  Second, the use of more potent and efficient means of action demands people who are not only competent but who also have control of themselves, who have respect for others and take into account the effects of what they undertake.  In other words, what we need are more moral people.  To be sure, people in our society are no worse than those in past centuries.  But they are also no better, and they now have more powerful agents at their disposal.

       What I Believe

       Omul  care doreste binele in timp ce face raul

Human beings are the most surprising beings imaginable for the very people who are so evil have a fundamental thirst for good.  They do evil but they aspire after
good.  They want a world of justice and liberty.  They are moved by the sight of
the misery of starving people.  Even when they do ill to others, they always try to justify themselves.

      What I Believe

       Societatea care cauta putere

Our society is the very spirit of power.  The main difference from previous
societies is that they also undoubtedly sought power but did not have the means
to achieve it.  Our society now has the means to achieve unlimited power.  Thus
we Christians today are placed in the most difficult of all situations.  We have to repudiate both the spirit of the age and the means that it employs.  If we do not, if we yield even a fraction to these forces, we will betray Jesus Christ just as surely as if we committed some individual and limited sin.  For this is a choice for life (nonviolence being part of it), and no other is possible. Pretending that we can express the Christian faith in works of love (aid to the poor and sorrowing, etc.), or in revolutionary acts to achieve justice, is treason if we engage thereby in the use of power.  For the last word of love is that never in any circumstances will it express or indicate power in relation to others.

       What I Believe

        Legea Sacrului

I have shown that it is almost certain historically that when there is a process of desacralization, the very factor that produces it gives birth to a new form of the sacred. It is as if we invest with the sacred the very power that triumphs over the previous form of it. A more powerful god is needed to overcome the older god, and it is thus normal to recognize the conquering god as the true god. I regard this as a
veritable “law” of the sacred.

       Subversion of Christianity


       Crestinismul triumfalist o contradictie

Success and the alliance with social categories of power initiated a process whereby the church became an affair of the masses. Jesus told his disciples that they were a little flock. All his comparisons tend to show that the disciples will necessarily be small in number and weak: the leaven in the dough, the salt in the soup, the sheep among wolves, and many other metaphors. Jesus does not seem to have had a vision of a triumphant and triumphal church encircling the globe. He always depicts for us a secret force that modifies things from within, that acts spiritually, that shows us community, unable to be anything else but community.

The kingdom of heaven is the little grain, the seed buried in the soil, the treasure hidden in a field. If as God’s kingdom it is called upon to encircle the whole globe, this is not its present role, nor that of the church on earth. But the situation is now the very opposite. It is no longer possible to live in community, not merely for the reasons adduced above, but simply because of the numbers involved. The little flock yields to the masses. How can masses of this kind conceivably be organized as a community? How can they conceivably have a faith that is personal, profound, militant, and enlightened? How can they conceivably abandon their ancient prejudices and lifestyles and beliefs?

The relation of Christianity to numbers is different. A single Christian gives it reality. Christianity bears indeed an inverse relation to numbers. When all become Christians, the concept of Christianity is void. This concept is indeed a polemical one. One can be a Christian only in opposition. When opposition is suppressed, there is no more sense in saying “Christian.” Christianity has been abolished by its propagation. Again, history probably does not offer any other example of a religion being abolished by reason of its prospering. (All of this from Kierkegaard.)

        Subversion of Christianity

        Crestinismul ca ideologie

Theologians made exactly the same mistake in political and social matters. Instead of taking the path indicated by Paul (a faithful expositor of the work of Jesus), they put themselves on the same level and in the same field as the world. A political question, they thought, should be treated as a political question, a social question as a social question, with the appropriate interpretations and remedies. Again the gospel becomes morality. The same mistake is made in the fourth century, the sixth, and the seventh. The procedure is also the same, for once a moral, political, or social solution is given, since it is Christians who give it, they add a small whitewash of theological terms and biblical references for anybody who wants them. Today, as under Constantine, Christians do exactly the, same. They first take up political or moralistic positions and then toss in some theology to justify themselves, to give themselves a good conscience, to give validity to the use of the term Christian. In this way the content of the faith becomes an ideology.

       Subversion of Christianity

      Crestinismul care se pierde in timp ce castiga

The scandal is that the church tries to use political power to ensure its own authority and to secure advantages. What was pure grace is thus radically subverted into a politics of give and take. The church buys the possibility of maintaining itself at the price of concessions (e.g., to the regimes of Hitter or of the Soviets). In so doing it disavows its martyrs. Martyrs are not agitators or obstinate people. They are primarily dedicated to God. They want to obey God, not men. But the church trades its support for advantages, honors, titles, and money. It comes tinder the rule of mammon. Finally, it lets itself be bought so as to gain facilities for its celebrations, its evangelism, its good works, its preaching of the good Word.

      Subversion of Christianity

      Rolul crestinului

The Holy Spirit gives hope where all is despair, the strength to endure in the midst of disaster, perspicacity not to fall victim to seduction, the ability to subvert in turn all the powers that are involved.  Believers, then, are those who have the wisdom and strength to rob material realities of their seductive power, to unmask them for what they are, no more, and to put them in the service of God, diverting them totally from their own law.

       Subversion of Christianity

       Crestinismul revolutionar

If the Christian is not being revolutionary, then in some way or another he has been unfaithful to his calling in the world.

       The Presence of The Kingdom

      Eficienta crestinului

As the world sees it, action which is faithful to God will always fail, just as Jesus Christ necessarily went to the cross. Such action always leads to a dead end. It is always a fiasco from the standpoint of worldly power. But this should not worry us. It does not mean that our action is in truth ineffectual. Efficacy measured in terms of
faithfulness cannot be compared at any point with efficacy measured in terms of
success. Furthermore, in the efficacy which is granted to us by the Holy Spirit
there can be no question of securing the approval of the world or its conformity to us. Israel did not have to aim at other nations becoming Israel. Jehu saw this clearly, and
so too did David. We have simply to be, and we can only be a question put within the world and to the world, a question invincibly confronting it. This is our efficacy. It is the efficacy of the question, a question which society and sociological movements cannot assimilate. Israel and the church have never been efficacious except to the degree that the world has been unable to assimilate them. This is a vocation of the people of God incomparably more authentic than “service” or “works.”

       The Politics of God and the Politics of Man


7 thoughts on “Citate

  1. Gasesc regretabil fapul ca intre citatele de mai sus nu gasesc macar unul, daca nu am trecut eu prea repede prin pagina aceasta, in franceza. Elull este francez, a scris in franceza si nu vad de ce citatels sunt in engleza. Chiar nu se mai cunoaste limba franceza in Romania?

    • Din pacate nu cunosc bine limba franceza si de aceea am pus citatele in limba engleza. In plus, dupa evaluarea mea personala, engleza este mai cunoscuta in Romania decat franceza.
      Imi doresc sa invat franceza, doar pentru a-l citi pe Ellul in original.

  2. Un citat in romaneste – traducere personala

    La subversion du christianisme
    Mai intii, Biblia ebraica,Torah, nu este un cod de legii construt de un moralist sau trait de un grup de oameni. Torah, Cuvintul lui Dumnezeu , este revelatia lui Dumnezeu, revelatie de sine, afirmare a ceea ce separa viata de moarte, si simbolul suveranitatii lui Dumnezeu. In aceasi masura ceea ce afirama Isus in Evanghelii nu este de ordin moral ci de ordin existential si purcede, izvoreste, din radaciinele Fiintei, ale existentei, a vietii in sine. Cea ce afirma Pavel in epistolele sale nu este o morala ci sunt indicatii utile cu scop de exemple.
    A doua presupositie, nu exista morala crestina propriu zisa. Contrar ideilor transmise, nu exista nici un sistem moral in sine, in Revelatia lui Dumnezeu in Isus Christos, adica nu exista un cod moral care ar putea exista de o maniera independenta.
    In al treila rind Revelatia este antimorala. Evanghelile si epistolele nu sunt tratate de morala ci proclamarea harului, a gratiei, a iertarii si deschiderea vietii spre libertate. Ele sunt de fapt contrare unei moralitaii ca religie, dat fiind ca orice conduita, chiar si cea mai pioasa, cea mai morala este invaluita in pacat.

  3. Isus nu da un cod de legi ci El spune. Urmeaza-ma…..
    Genesa ne prezita originea pacatului si ea nu consta in faptul ca omul ar fi vrut sa ajunga la cunoastere (cum s-a spus adesea ca Dumnezeu intrezicea prin aceasta dezvoltarea intelectuala a omului, ceea ce este absurd) ci cunosterea binelui si a raului. Ori in textul acesta cunostere inseamna decizie. Ceea ce nu este acceptabil inaintea lui Dumnezeu este ca omul sa poata decide singur, prin sine insusi, de ce este Bine si ce este Rau. De fapt in limbaj biblic Binele este voia lui Dumnezeu, si nimic mai mult. Adica ceea ce decide Dumnezeu, acela este Binele. In consecinta ceea ce face omul si ce decide omul autonom fata de Deumnezeu ce decide el sigur de Bine si de Rau, este a substitui vointa sa proprie vointei lui Dumnezeu. Atunci cind omul construieste un cod de legi morale, cind el decide, edicteaza ce este Bine (chiar si atunci cind il practica), in momentul acela el este in mod esential pacatos. Elaborarea unei morale este a se opune lui Dumnezeu, adica a se presupune in locul lui si acesta este pacatul, nu din cauza unei conduite rele ci din cauza une conduite bune dar o bunatate proprie care nu izvoreste din Dumnezeu.
    Iata de ce Isus ii condamna cu atita aspirime pe farisei care sunt oamenii cei mai morali, cei care au conduita cea mai ireprosabila, cei care sunt ascultarori perfecti si virtuosi. Perfectii in moralitatea lor careia i-au substituit Cuvintul lui Dumnezeu vesnic viu, actual si neintepenit in portunci.
    Adevarul va va face liberi dar aceasta libertate nu inseamna orice. Este libertatea Dragostei. Dragostea se substitue Legii si dragostea nu poate fi regimentalizata. Relatia la vis-à-vis-ul nostru nu este o relatie de obligatie ci una de dragoste.
    Dragostea este un fel de a trai, un model de viata, imprevizibila, riscanta, si vesnic in reinoire. Viata crestina este antirepetitiva ori morala este un act repetitiv.

    Anbele citate sunt extrase din La subversion de Christianisme

  4. Si una in franceza despre, un subiect actual – islamul
    La guerre est inhérente à l’Islam. Elle est inscrite dans sa doctrine……Elle est cohérente à la conception même de Dar al ahrb, le monde entier ayant la vocation d’être islamisé par la conquête arabe. La preuve de ceci n’est pas seulement théologique, elle est historique ; à peine la religion musulmane a-t-elle était prêchée, aussitôt et comme conséquence immédiate, la conquête militaire commence. De 632 à 651, en vingt ans après la mort du Prophète c’est une fulgurante guerre de conquête, invasion à l’ouest de l’Egypte et de la Cyrénaique, au centre de reste de l’Arabie, à l’este de l’Arménie, de la Syrie, de la Perse. Dans le siècle qui suit, la totalité de l’Afrique du Nord et de l’Espagne, et à l’Est jusqu’à l’Inde et au Turkestan. Tout cela non par la vertu et la sainteté mais par la guerre.
    Pendant trois cents ans, le christianisme s’est étendu lui, par la prédication, la bonté, l’exemple, la moralité, l’encouragement aux pauvres. Et quand l’Empire devient chrétien la guerre est mal tolérée par les chrétiens, elle reste quoique mené par un Empereur chrétien douteuse et mal jugé. Elle est souvent condamnée. On accusera les chrétiens de miner intérieurement la force politique et la puissance militaire de l’Impire.
    Dans l’Islam, au contraire, elle était toujours juste et constituait un devoir sacré. Cette guerre destiné à convertir les infidèles est juste et légitime, parce que, répète –t- on dans la pensée musulmane, l’Islam est la seule religion conforme de façon à la Nature. Si l’homme restait naturel il serrait forcement musulman.

  5. La Parole Humiliée
    Pentru ca tot Crestinismul se bazeaza pe Cuvintul Intrupat, pe Cuvintul facut trup, putem afirma ca nu exista credinta Crestina in afara Cuvintului. Ca imaginea pe care ne-o facem despre Dumnezeu, o imagine care vorbeste, care il descrie pe Dumnezeu este tocmai ceea ce este specific particular revelatiei Crestine si aceasta ne conduce la a accorda Cuvintului o importanta uimitoare si unica.

  6. Cu scuzle de rigoare prezint versiunea coerenta a primelor doua citate, Cele din cartea La subversion de Christianisme. De fapt o avea pe parnassienne passagere in primul articol despre Biblie si morala.

    “Mai intii in Biblia ebraica Legea nu este o morala si nu se prezinta ca o morala construita de un moralist, nici ca morala traita de un grup. Torah, este Revelatia lui Dumnezeu, revelatie de sine, revelatie care explica ceea ce separa viata de moarte si simbolul superioritatii totale a lui Dumneze. Astfel ceea ce afirma Isus in Evanghelii nu este de ordin moral ci existential si purcede din mutatia Fiintei . De asemena ceea ce scrie Pavel in epistolele sale nu este o morala ci sunt indicatii utile sub forma de exemple. Nu exista o morala crestina in sine. Nu exista nici un fel de sistem moral in Revelatia lui Dumnezeu in Isus Cristos. Nu exista percepte morale care pot exista de sine insesi, adica independent de Revelatie, un fel de percepte universale de sine statatoare. Nu numai ca nu putem extrage un sistem moral din Evanghelii si Epistole ci mai mult proclamarea harului, a declaratiei iertarii, a deschiderii vietii spre libertate care sunt punctele centrale ale Evangheliilor sunt contrarul moralei dat fiind faptul ca orice morala, orice conduita cit de pioasa ar fi ea este inglobata in pacat.
    In Geneza cand se vorbeste de caderea omului in pacat, de interdictia impusa omului de a nu minca din pomul cunostintei binelui si a raului nu este vorba de a interzice omului cunostinta, ca si cum Dumnezeu ar interzice omului dezvoltarea intelectuala. O asemena intelegere este absurda, ci este vorba de cuoasterea binelui si raului intelgand prin cunoastere decizie. Ceea ce nu este acceptabil pentru Dumnezeu este ca omul sa decida singur, prin sine, ce este Binele si ce este Raul. Din puctul de vedere al Biblie binele este voia lui Dumnezeu. Ceea ce Dumnezeu decide acela este binele. In consecinta ceea ce face omul in neascultarea lui, atunci cand vrea sa fie el acela care decide ce este bine si rau, si ea insemna a substitui vointa omului voii lui Dumnezeu. Atunci cand omul construieste o morala, atunci cand el stabileste ce este “Binele” si chiar atunci cand il practica, atunci omul este pacatos in mod radical. Nu pentru ca se comporta rau ci pentru ca se comporta de o maniera care a decis el ca este buna, dar nu de o maniera care este dupa voia lui Dumnezeu.
    De aceea Isus ataca cu atita vehementa fariseii care erau printre cei mai morali dintre oameni, cei care aveau cel mai exemplar comportament, cei care erau cei mai virtuosi. Dar dupa morala lor pe care o substituisera celei vii, celei adevarate care este totdeauna actuala, niciodata intepenita in niste reguli rigide, ci mereu vie prin ceea ce este Cuvintul care locuieste in noi. In Evanghelii Isus nu inceteaza sa incalce regulile religioase. Porunca lui Isus este: “Urmeaza-ma.””

    Cred ca mai vorbesc inca romaneste. Precedentul poate fi sters.

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