© Fraktalwerk Projektraum

… like the calm in the eye of a hurricane.

Security, confidence, courage, entrustment, but also surrender and as synonyms: consolation – these are the meanings of the Middle High German noun Vertrûwe(n). From 1600 onwards, the verb vertrûwe/vertriuwe opens up even more courts of meaning, including such diverse meanings as to accept, to vouch for, to believe in, to place one’s trust in, to dare, to take into care/give into care, to betroth/marry, to pledge allegiance (to the state, to the employer) – and these are by no means all.

Strangely enough, this abundance of connotations on the negating side as missvertruwen/mißtruwen/mißverthruwen is countered only by slander and doubt.

In the 19th century, familiarity (Vertrautheit) asserted itself against vertrauglichkeit/vertreulichkeit, which was also in use from the 16th century onwards. The double face of familiarity on one hand as a state of trust in a legitimate and permissible, even desirable way, is thus set off against confidentiality, which now attracts the negative, reprehensible side of connotations: taking advantage of familiarity that are not one’s due.

The extent to which angels maintain familiar contact with humans remains a secret that is better not revealed. After all, draconian punishments are threatened, as reported in the 1st Book of Enoch. Enoch, an early chronicler with sadistic tendencies, delights in describing the “just punishments” for angels and for humans in great detail. Distinguished as righteous, he is not subjected to the human fate of dying as a reward, but is raptured by God himself.

The intimacy between humans and angels, on the other hand, is considered good, even encouraged – how else could one explain the countless images and sculptures that inhabit human dwellings.

Marlen Wagner