Kierkegaard has always enjoyed a rich reception in the fields of theology and religious studies. This reception might seem obvious given that he is one of the most important Christian writers of the nineteenth century, but Kierkegaard was by no means a straightforward theologian in any traditional sense. He had no enduring interest in some of the main fields of theology such as church history or biblical studies, and he was strikingly silent on many key Christian dogmas. Moreover, he harbored a degree of animosity towards the university theologians and churchmen of his own day. Despite this, he has been a source of inspiration for numerous religious writers from different denominations and traditions. Tome II is dedicated to tracing Kierkegaard's influence in Anglophone and Scandinavian Protestant religious thought. Kierkegaard has been a provocative force in the English-speaking world since the early twentieth century, inspiring almost contradictory receptions. In Britain, before World War I, the few literati who were familiar with his work tended to assimilate Kierkegaard to the heroic individualism of Ibsen and Nietzsche. In the United States knowledge of Kierkegaard was introduced by Scandinavian immigrants who brought with them a picture of the Dane as much more sympathetic to traditional Christianity. The interpretation of Kierkegaard in Britain and America during the early and mid-twentieth century generally reflected the sensibilities of the particular theological interpreter. Anglican theologians generally found Kierkegaard to be too one-sided in his critique of reason and culture, while theologians hailing from the Reformed tradition often saw him as an insightful harbinger of neo-orthodoxy. The second part of Tome II is dedicated to the Kierkegaard reception in Scandinavian theology, featuring articles on Norwegian and Swedish theologians influenced by Kierkegaard.
The nature of Kierkegaard’s political legacy is complicated by the religious character of his writings. Exploring Kierkegaard’s relevancy for this political-theological moment, this volume offers trans-disciplinary and multi-religious perspectives on Kierkegaard studies and political theology. Privileging contemporary philosophical and political-theological work that is based on Kierkegaard, this volume is an indispensable resource for Kierkegaard scholars, theologians, philosophers of religion, ethicists, and critical researchers in religion looking to make sense of current debates in the field. While this volume shows that Kierkegaard’s theological legacy is a thoroughly political one, we are left with a series of open questions as to what a Kierkegaardian interjection into contemporary political theology might look like. And so, like Kierkegaard’s writings, this collection of essays is an argument with itself, and as such, will leave readers both edified and scratching their heads—for all the right reasons.
Tome III explores the reception of Kierkegaard's thought in the Catholic and Jewish theological traditions. In the 1920s Kierkegaard's intellectual and spiritual legacy became widely discussed in the Catholic Hochland Circle, whose members included Theodor Haecker, Romano Guardini, Alois Dempf and Peter Wust. Another key figure of the mid-war years was the prolific Jesuit author Erich Przywara. The second part of Tome III focuses on the reception of Kierkegaard's thought in the Jewish theological tradition, introducing the reader to authors who significantly shaped Jewish religious thought both in the United States and in Israel.
The orthodox doctrine of the incarnation affirms that Christ is both truly divine and truly human. This, however, raises the question of how these two natures can co-exist in the one, united person of Christ without undermining the integrity of either nature. Kenotic theologians address this problem by arguing that Christ 'emptied' himself of his divine attributes or prerogatives in order to become a human being. David R. Law contends that a type of kenotic Christology is present in Kierkegaard's works, developed independently of the Christologies of contemporary kenotic theologians. Like many of the classic kenotic theologians of the 19th century, Kierkegaard argues that Christ underwent limitation on becoming a human being. Where he differs from his contemporaries is in emphasizing the radical nature of this limitation and in bringing out its existential consequences. The aim of Kierkegaard's Christology is not to provide a rationally satisfying theory of the incarnation, but to highlight the existential challenge with which Christ confronts each human being. Kierkegaard advances 'existential kenoticism', a form of kenotic Christology which extends the notion of the kenosis of Christ to the Christian believer, who is called upon to live a life of kenotic discipleship in which the believer follows Christ's example of lowly, humble, and suffering service. Kierkegaard thus shifts the problem of kenosis from the intellectual problem of working out how divinity and humanity can be united in Christ's Person to the existential problem of discipleship.
George Pattison provides a bold and innovative reassessment of Kierkegaard's neglected Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses and reading of his work as a whole. The first full length assessment of the discourses in English, this volume will be essential reading for philosophers and theologians, and anyone interested in Kierkegaard and the history of philosophy.
Soren Kierkegaard sought to clarify what it means to be a Christian. He concluded that a one-on-one relationship with God is required, to encounter the "Absolute Paradox," defined as an immutable being entering into and transforming human history. Kierkegaard's dim view of a systematic Christian theology includes a preoccupation with theological exposition that distracts from the essential task of achieving a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Alternatively, Paul Tillich's theology is based on a triadic relationship of being, nonbeing and Being-Itself (God), a doctrine of symbols, and a reinterpretation of the Incarnation. It correlates a culture's questions and concerns with the Christian message to certain criteria of acceptability that, to Tillich, must satisfy the "Protestant Principle," stipulating that a theological system both restates the present-time Christian message and acknowledges that this restatement cannot be the definitive, ultimate expression of that message. Theology on Trial presents and assesses whether, and to what degree, Tillich's theology satisfies his own criteria of acceptability. An acceptable theology must be logically consistent and free of equivocation. The concluding section of the book examines the views of each author from the standpoint of the other.
Kierkegaard and the Theology of the Nineteenth Century
This study shows how Kierkegaard's mature theological writings reflect his engagement with the wide range of theological positions which he encountered as a student, including German and Danish Romanticism, Hegelianism and the writings of Fichte and Schleiermacher. George Pattison draws on both major and lesser-known works to show the complexity and nuances of Kierkegaard's theological position, which remained closer to Schleiermacher's affirmation of religion as a 'feeling of absolute dependence' than to the Barthian denial of any 'point of contact', with which he is often associated. Pattison also explores ways in which Kierkegaard's theological thought can be related to thinkers such as Heidegger and John Henry Newman, and its continuing relevance to present-day debates about secular faith. His volume will be of great interest to scholars and students of philosophy and theology.
No thinker has reflected more deeply on the role of religion in human life than Søren Kierkegaard, who produced in little more than a decade an astonishing number of works devoted to an analysis of the kind of personality, character, and spiritual qualities needed to become an authentic human being or self. Understanding religion to consist essentially as an inward, passionate, personal relation to God or the eternal, Kierkegaard depicts the art of living religiously as a self through the creation of a kaleidoscope of poetic figures who exemplify the constituents of selfhood or the lack thereof. The present study seeks to bring Kierkegaard into conversation with contemporary empirical psychology and virtue ethics, highlighting spiritual dimensions of human existence in his thought that are inaccessible to empirical measurement, as well as challenging on religious grounds the claim that he is a virtue ethicist in continuity with the classical and medieval virtue tradition.
Kierkegaard and the Paradox of Religious Diversity
Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) famously critiqued Christendom — especially the religious monoculture of his native Denmark. But what would he make of the dizzying diversity of religious life today? In this book George Connell uses Kierkegaard’s thought to explore pressing questions that contemporary religious diversity poses. Connell unpacks an underlying tension in Kierkegaard, revealing both universalistic and particularistic tendencies in his thought. Kierkegaard’s paradoxical vision of religious diversity, says Connell, allows for both respectful coexistence with people of different faiths and authentic commitment to one’s own faith. Though Kierkegaard lived and wrote in a context very different from ours, this nuanced study shows that his searching reflections on religious faith remain highly relevant in our world today.