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De Vises Sten

I have started the first book of the Harry Potter's series. And its titel "the Philosopher's Stone" is translated to danish as "De Vises Sten". I do not really understand why it is as it is and where it comes from and what it means. My danish teacher tried to explain it to me, but it did not help much =(

Maybe someone out here could help?

By the way this book is fantastic for inermediate learners. I am about to finish this one, which took me only 4 weeks (i am very close to get my b2 exam passed, after 10 month of learnign danish).

September 7, 2018



In either language, this refers to the alchemists' old concept of the lapis philosophorum. This thing was called "De vises sten" in Danish, the philosophers' stone in English. "De vise" means "the wise ones' " or "of the wise", "philosopher" means, literally "one who loves wisdom", so there is some overlap. In Irish, the stone is called "órchloch", "goldstone" and the book is "Harry potter agus an órchloch". The lapis was supposed to be a stone or a mineral with wonderful properties, able to tranmute base matter (including lead) into gold, purify substances, neutralise poison and more. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosopher%27s_stone . So, long story short, the philospher's stone is called "de vises sten" in Danish. This kind of change is quite common in translation: Shakespeare's "Twelfth night" is called "Helligtrekongersnat" in Danish, just as the date is. Other works get completely new titles: "Bringing up baby" is called "Han, hun og jaguaren" ("He, she and the jaguar") and "Jaws" is called "Dødens gab" ("Maw of death").

September 7, 2018


Is vises (in Danish) related to seer (in english)? I am thinking about vise meaning show. And “Dødens gab” makes me think of “the gape of death”! Pretty terrifying either way. I just like the way there are so many similarities between Danish and English, many more than dictionaries would have you believe I think.

September 9, 2018


no, "vise" (as a verb) is to show.

"Vis" however is related to "visdom" = wisdom. Here is the etymology of wise:


Old English wisean, "wise or knowing" , cognate with Old Frisian wisa, Old Saxon wisian, Middle Dutch wisen, Dutch wijzen, Old High German wisan, German weisen; from the source of wise .

September 9, 2018


Thanks for you explantion. It was just a though.

September 10, 2018


Good thought! I learn the same way, trying to make connections as much as possible.

September 12, 2018


that is impressive! Thank you for the mentioning this book, I'll use it as a suggestion, this would be a great book for me to read in Spanish!

Well done, and congratulations on all your hard work!

September 9, 2018


May I ask what your approach and resources have been in reaching B2 Danish in 10 months?

September 17, 2018


Where did you find it????? I've been going nuts trying to find a copy for a long time.

September 19, 2018


You can buy the eBook from:


October 3, 2018
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