Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard

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Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (ˈsɔrən ˈkɪərkəɡɑrd or ˈkɪərkəɡɔr; ˈsɶːɐn ˈkiɐ̯gəɡɒːˀ) (5 May 1813 –11 November 1855) was a Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, theologian
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and religious author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Fichte, his mentor prior to 1800, and Hegel, his former university roommate and erstwhile friend...

 and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel. He was also critical of the state and practice of Christianity in his lifetime, primarily that of the Church of Denmark
Church of Denmark
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Church of Denmark or Danish National Church, is the state church and largest denomination in Denmark and Greenland...

. He is widely considered to be the first existentialist.

Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment.

His theological work focuses on Christian ethics
Christian ethics
The first recorded meeting on the topic of Christian ethics, after Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, Great Commandment, and Great Commission , was the Council of Jerusalem , which is seen by most Christians as agreement that the New Covenant either abrogated or set aside at least some of the Old...

, institution of the Church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

, and on the difference between purely objective proofs of Christianity
Quest for the Historical Jesus
The quest for the historical Jesus is the attempt to use historical rather than religious methods to construct a verifiable biography of Jesus. As originally defined by Albert Schweitzer, the quest began in the 18th century with Hermann Samuel Reimarus, up to William Wrede in the 19th century...

. He wrote of the individual's subjective relationship to Jesus Christ, the God-Man, which comes through faith.

His psychological work explores the emotion
Emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...

s and feeling
Feeling
Feeling is the nominalization of the verb to feel. The word was first used in the English language to describe the physical sensation of touch through either experience or perception. The word is also used to describe experiences, other than the physical sensation of touch, such as "a feeling of...

s of individuals when faced with life choices. His thinking was influenced by Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 and the Socratic method
Socratic method
The Socratic method , named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas...

.

Kierkegaard's early work was written under various pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

ous characters who present their own distinctive viewpoints and interact with each other in complex dialogue. He assigns pseudonyms to explore particular viewpoints in-depth, which may take up several books in some instances, while Kierkegaard, openly or under another pseudonym, critiques that position. He wrote many Upbuilding Discourses under his own name and dedicated them to the "single individual" who might want to discover the meaning of his works. Notably, he wrote:

"Science and scholarship want to teach that becoming objective is the way. Christianity teaches that the way is to become subjective, to become a subject." The scientist can learn about the world by observation but can the scientist learn about the inner workings of the spiritual world by observation? Kierkegaard said no, and he said it emphatically. In 1847 Kierkegaard described his own view of the single individual.

"God is not like a human being; it is not important for God to have visible evidence so that he can see if his cause has been victorious or not; he sees in secret just as well. Moreover, it is so far from being the case that you should help God to learn anew that it is rather he who will help you to learn anew, so that you are weaned from the worldly point of view that insists on visible evidence. (...) A decision in the external sphere is what Christianity does not want; (...) rather it wants to test the individual’s faith."

Early years (1813–1836)



Søren Kierkegaard was born to an affluent family in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

. His mother, Ane Sørensdatter Lund Kierkegaard, had served as a maid in the household before marrying his father, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard. She was an unassuming figure: quiet, plain, and not formally educated. She is not directly referred to in Kierkegaard's books, although she affected his later writings. His father was a "very stern man, to all appearances dry and prosaic, but under his 'rustic cloak' manner he concealed an ardent imagination which not even his great age could blunt"; he read the philosophy of Christian Wolff
Christian Wolff (philosopher)
Christian Wolff was a German philosopher.He was the most eminent German philosopher between Leibniz and Kant...

. Kierkegaard preferred the comedies of Ludvig Holberg
Ludvig Holberg
Ludvig Holberg, Baron of Holberg was a writer, essayist, philosopher, historian and playwright born in Bergen, Norway, during the time of the Dano-Norwegian double monarchy, who spent most of his adult life in Denmark. He was influenced by Humanism, the Enlightenment and the Baroque...

 and the writings of Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was a German writer, philosopher, dramatist, publicist, and art critic, and one of the most outstanding representatives of the Enlightenment era. His plays and theoretical writings substantially influenced the development of German literature...

 and Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, especially those referring to Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

.

Copenhagen in the 1830s and 1840s had crooked streets where carriages rarely went. Kierkegaard loved to walk those streets. In 1848, Kierkegaard wrote, "I had real Christian satisfaction in the thought that, if there were no other, there was definitely one man in Copenhagen whom every poor person could freely accost and converse with on the street; that, if there were no other, there was one man who, whatever the society he most commonly frequented, did not shun contact with the poor, but greeted every maidservant he was acquainted with, every manservant, every common laborer." At one end of the town was Our Lady's Church
Church of Our Lady (Copenhagen)
The Church of Our Lady is the cathedral of Copenhagen and the National Cathedral of Denmark. It is situated on Vor Frue Plads and next to the main building of the University of Copenhagen....

 where Bishop Mynster
Jacob Peter Mynster
Jacob Peter Mynster was a Danish theologian and Bishop of Zealand, Denmark from 1834 until his death....

 preached the Gospel and at the other end was the Royal Theatre
Royal Danish Theatre
The Royal Danish Theatre is both the national Danish performing arts institution and a name used to refer to its old purpose-built venue from 1874 located on Kongens Nytorv in Copenhagen. The theatre was founded in 1748, first serving as the theatre of the king, and then as the theatre of the...

 where Fru Heiberg
Johanne Luise Heiberg
Johanne Luise Heiberg was one of the greatest Danish actresses of the 19th century. She is most famous for her work at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, where she achieved great success.-Early life:...

 performed aesthetic plays. Kierkegaard walked between the two of them.

Based on a speculative interpretation of anecdotes in Kierkegaard's unpublished journals, especially a rough draft of a story called "The Great Earthquake", some early Kierkegaard scholars argued that Michael believed he had earned God's wrath and that none of his children would outlive him. He is said to have believed that his personal sins, perhaps indiscretions like cursing the name of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 in his youth or impregnating Ane out of wedlock, necessitated this punishment. Though five of his seven children died before he did, both Kierkegaard and his brother Peter Christian Kierkegaard
Peter Kierkegaard
Peter Christian Kierkegaard , was a Danish theologian, politician and Lutheran bishop of Aalborg from 1857 until 1875, and brother of Søren Kierkegaard. As a theologian of the official church, he had on several occasions criticized his brother's works, notably at the Roskilde Ecclesiastical...

, outlived him. Peter, who was seven years Kierkegaard's elder, later became bishop in Aalborg
Aalborg
-Transport:On the north side of the Limfjord is Nørresundby, which is connected to Aalborg by a road bridge Limfjordsbroen, an iron railway bridge Jernbanebroen over Limfjorden, as well as a motorway tunnel running under the Limfjord Limfjordstunnelen....

.

Kierkegaard attended the School of Civic Virtue, Østre Borgerdyd Gymnasium, in 1830 when the school was situated in Klarebodeme, where he studied Latin and history among other subjects. He went on to study theology at the University of Copenhagen
University of Copenhagen
The University of Copenhagen is the oldest and largest university and research institution in Denmark. Founded in 1479, it has more than 37,000 students, the majority of whom are female , and more than 7,000 employees. The university has several campuses located in and around Copenhagen, with the...

, but he wasn't interested in historical works, philosophy dissatisfied him, and he couldn't see "dedicating himself to Speculation". He said, "What I really need to do is to get clear about "what am I to do", not what I must know
Knowledge
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information, facts, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject...

". He wanted to "lead a completely human life and not merely one of knowledge." Kierkegaard didn't want to be a philosopher in the traditional or Hegelian sense and he didn't want to preach a Christianity that was an illusion. "But he had learned from his father that one can do what one wills, and his father's life had not discredited this theory." He became a spy for God. In 1848 Kierkegaard wrote, "Supposing that I had been free to use my talents as I pleased (and that it was not the case that another Power was able to compel me every moment when I was not ready to yield to fair means), I might from the first moment have converted my whole productivity into the channel of the interests of the age, it would have been in my power (if such betrayal were not punished by reducing me to naught) to become what the age demands, and so would have been (Goetheo-Hegelian) one more testimony to the proposition that the world is good, that the race is the truth and that this generation is the court of last resort, that the public is the discoverer of the truth and its judge, &c. For by this treason I should have attained extraordinary success in the world. Instead of this I became (under compulsion) a spy.

One of the first physical descriptions of Kierkegaard comes from an attendee, Hans Brøchner, at his brother Peter's wedding party in 1836: "I found [his appearance] almost comical. He was then twenty-three years old; he had something quite irregular in his entire form and had a strange coiffure. His hair rose almost six inches above his forehead into a tousled crest that gave him a strange, bewildered look."

Kierkegaard's mother "was a nice little woman with an even and happy disposition," according to a grandchild's description. She was never mentioned in Kierkegaard's works. Ane died on 31 July 1834, age 66, possibly from typhus. His father died on 8 August 1838, age 82. On 11 August, Kierkegaard wrote:

Troels Frederik Lund
Troels Frederik Lund
Troels Frederik Troels-Lund was a Danish historian born in Copenhagen. He was the youngest son of Henrik Ferdinand Lund, Søren Kierkegaard’s brother in law...

, his nephew, provided biographers with much information regarding Soren Kierkegaard.

Journals




According to Samuel Hugo Bergmann
Hugo Bergmann
Samuel Hugo Bergman, or Samuel Bergman was a German and Israeli Jewish philosopher.-Biography:...

, "Kierkegaard's journals are one of the most important sources for an understanding of his philosophy". Kierkegaard wrote over 7000 pages in his journals on events, musings, thoughts about his works and everyday remarks. The entire collection of Danish journals has been edited and published in 13 volumes which consist of 25 separate bindings including indices. The first English edition of the journals was edited by Alexander Dru in 1938. The style is "literary and poetic [in] manner". Kierkegaard saw his journals as his legacy:
Kierkegaard's journals are also the source of many aphorism
Aphorism
An aphorism is an original thought, spoken or written in a laconic and memorable form.The term was first used in the Aphorisms of Hippocrates...

s credited to the philosopher. The following passage, from 1 August 1835, is perhaps his most oft-quoted aphorism and a key quote for existentialist studies: "What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die."

Although his journals clarify some aspects of his work and life, Kierkegaard took care not to reveal too much. Abrupt changes in thought, repetitive writing, and unusual turns of phrase are some among the many tactics he uses to throw readers off track. Consequently, there are many varying interpretations of his journals. Kierkegaard did not doubt the importance his journals would have in the future. In a journal entry in December 1849, he wrote: "Were I to die now the effect of my life would be exceptional; much of what I have simply jotted down carelessly in the Journals would become of great importance and have a great effect; for then people would have grown reconciled to me and would be able to grant me what was, and is, my right."

Regine Olsen and graduation (1837–1841)




An important aspect of Kierkegaard's life, generally considered to have had a major influence on his work, was his broken engagement to Regine Olsen
Regine Olsen
Regine Schlegel née Olsen was a Danish woman who was engaged to the philosopher and theologian Søren Kierkegaard from September 1840 to October 1841...

 (1822–1904). Kierkegaard and Olsen met on 8 May 1837 and were instantly attracted but sometime around 11 August 1838 he had second thoughts. In his journals, Kierkegaard wrote about his love for her:
On 8 September 1840, Kierkegaard formally proposed to Olsen. Kierkegaard soon felt disillusioned about the prospects of the marriage. He broke off the engagement on 11 August 1841, though it is generally believed that the two were deeply in love. In his journals, Kierkegaard mentions his belief that his "melancholy" made him unsuitable for marriage, but his precise motive for ending the engagement remains unclear. The following quote from his Journals sheds some light on the motivation.

Kierkegaard turned attention to his examinations. On May 13, 1839 Kierkegaard wrote, "I have no alternative than to suppose that it is God's will that I prepare for my examination and that it is more pleasing to him that I do this than actually coming to some clearer perception by immersing myself in one or another sort of research, for obedience is more precious to him than the fat of rams." The death of his father and the death of Poul Møller
Poul Martin Møller
Poul Martin Møller was a Danish academic, writer, and poet. During his lifetime, he gained renown in Denmark for his poetry. After his death, his posthumously published fiction and philosophical writings were well received. He also devoted several decades of study to classical languages and...

 also played a part in his decision.

On September 29, 1841, Kierkegaard wrote and defended his dissertation, On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates
On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates
On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates is Søren Kierkegaard's university thesis paper that he submitted in 1841...

. The university panel considered it noteworthy and thoughtful, but too informal and witty for a serious academic thesis. The thesis dealt with irony
Irony
Irony is a rhetorical device, literary technique, or situation in which there is a sharp incongruity or discordance that goes beyond the simple and evident intention of words or actions...

 and Schelling's
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling , later von Schelling, was a German philosopher. Standard histories of philosophy make him the midpoint in the development of German idealism, situating him between Fichte, his mentor prior to 1800, and Hegel, his former university roommate and erstwhile friend...

 1841 lectures, which Kierkegaard had attended with Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Bakunin
Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin was a well-known Russian revolutionary and theorist of collectivist anarchism. He has also often been called the father of anarchist theory in general. Bakunin grew up near Moscow, where he moved to study philosophy and began to read the French Encyclopedists,...

, Jacob Burckhardt
Jacob Burckhardt
Carl Jacob Christoph Burckhardt was a historian of art and culture, and an influential figure in the historiography of each field. He is known as one of the major progenitors of cultural history, albeit in a form very different from how cultural history is conceived and studied in academia today...

, and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

; each had come away with a different perspective. Kierkegaard graduated from university on 20 October 1841 with a Magister Artium, which today would be designated a Ph.D.
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Philosophy, abbreviated as Ph.D., PhD, D.Phil., or DPhil , in English-speaking countries, is a postgraduate academic degree awarded by universities...

 He was able to fund his education, his living, and several publications of his early works with his family's inheritance of approximately 31,000 rigsdaler
Danish rigsdaler
The rigsdaler was the name of several currencies used in Denmark until 1873. The similarly named Reichsthaler, riksdaler and rijksdaalder were used in Germany and Austria-Hungary, Sweden and the Netherlands, respectively....

.

Authorship (1843–1846)


Kierkegaard published some of his works using pseudonyms and for others he signed his own name as author. On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates was his university thesis, mentioned above. His first book, De omnibus dubitandum est (Latin: "Everything must be doubted"), was written in 1841–42 but was not published until after his death. It was written under the pseudonym
Pseudonym
A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

 "Johannes Climacus".

Either/Or
Either/Or
Published in two volumes in 1843, Either/Or is an influential book written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, exploring the aesthetic and ethical "phases" or "stages" of existence....

was published February 20, 1843; it was mostly written during Kierkegaard's stay in Berlin, where he took notes on Schelling's Philosophy of Revelation. Edited by Victor Eremita, the book contained the papers of an unknown "A" and "B" Kierkegaard writes in Either/Or, "one author seems to be enclosed in another, like the parts in a Chinese puzzle box,"; the puzzle box would prove to be complicated. Kierkegaard claimed to have found these papers in a secret drawer of his secretary
Secretary desk
A secretary desk is made of a base of wide drawers topped by a desk with a hinged desktop surface, which is in turn topped by a bookcase usually closed with a pair of doors, often made of glass...

.

In Either/Or, he stated that arranging the papers of "B" was easy because "B" was talking about ethical situations, whereas arranging the papers of "A" was more difficult because he was talking about chance, so he left the arranging of those papers to chance. Both the ethicist and the aesthetic writers were discussing outer goods, but Kierkegaard was more interested in inner goods.

Three months after the publication of Either/Or, he published Two Upbuilding Discourses, in which he writes, "There is talk of the good things of the world, of health, happy times, prosperity, power, good fortune, a glorious fame. And we are warned against them; the person who has them is warned not to rely on them, and the person who does not have them is warned not to set his heart on them. About faith there is a different kind of talk. It is said to be the highest good, the most beautiful; the most precious, the most blessed riches of all, not to be compared with anything else, incapable of being replaced. Is it distinguished from the other good things, then, by being the highest but otherwise of the same kind as they are—transient and capricious, bestowed only upon the chosen few, rarely for the whole of life? If this were so, then it certainly would be inexplicable that in these sacred places it is always faith and faith alone that is spoken of, that it is eulogized and celebrated again and again."

Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
Soren Kierkegaard published Two Upbuilding Discourses three months after the publication of his big book, Either/Or, which ended without a conclusion to the argument between A, the aesthete and B, the ethicist, as to which is the best way to live one's life. Kierkegaard hoped the book would...

was published under his own name, rather than a pseudonym. On October 16, 1843 Kierkegaard published three books: Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling is an influential philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio...

, under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio; Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 under his own name; and Repetition
Repetition (Kierkegaard)
Kierkegaard said "Seneca has said that when a person has reached his thirtieth year he ought to know his constitution so well that he can be his own physician; I likewise believe that when a person has reached a certain age he ought to be able to be his own pastor...

as Constantin Constantius. He later published Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
Kierkegaard writes these discourses because he's not sure that the other two have done their job. He revisits the story of Job once more but here he puts the emphasis not on what he said but what he did...

, again using his own name.

In 1844, he published Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
Soren Kierkegaard wrote Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses in the years 1843-1844. These discourses were translated from Danish to English in the 1940's, and from Danish to German in the 1950's, and then to English again in 1990. These Discourses were published along with Kierkegaard's pseudonymous...

, and Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
Soren Kierkegaard published his Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses throughout the years 1843 and 1844. He followed the Socratic Method by publishing his own view of life under his own name and different views of life under pseudonyms...

under his own name, Philosophical Fragments
Philosophical Fragments
Philosophical Fragments was a Christian philosophic work written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1844. It was the first of three works written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, the other two were Johannes Climacus, 1841 and Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical...

under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, The Concept of Anxiety under two pseudonyms Vigilius Haufniensis, with a Preface, by Nicolaus Notabene, and finally Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 under his own name.

Kierkegaard published Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions under his own name on April 29, and Stages on Life's Way
Stages on Life's Way
Stages on Life's Way is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1845. The book was written as a continuation of Kierkegaard's masterpiece Either/Or...

edited by Hilarius Bookbinder, April 30, 1845. Kierkegaard went to Berlin for a short rest. Upon returning he published his Discourses of 1843–44 in one volume, Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, May 29, 1845.

Pseudonymous authorship


Pseudonyms were used often in the early 19th century as a means of representing viewpoints other than the author's own; examples include the writers of the Federalist Papers
Federalist Papers
The Federalist Papers are a series of 85 articles or essays promoting the ratification of the United States Constitution. Seventy-seven of the essays were published serially in The Independent Journal and The New York Packet between October 1787 and August 1788...

 and the Anti-Federalist Papers
Anti-Federalist Papers
The Anti-Federalist Papers are a collection of articles, written in opposition to the ratification of the 1787 United States Constitution. Unlike the Federalist Papers written in support of the Constitution, the authors of these articles, mostly operating under pen names, were not engaged in a...

. Kierkegaard employed the same technique.

This was part of Kierkegaard's theory of "indirect communication." He wrote, "No anonymous author can more slyly hide himself, and no maieutic can more carefully recede from a direct relation than God can. He is in the creation, everywhere in the creation, but he is not there directly, and only when the single individual turns inward into himself (consequently only in the inwardness of self-activity
Self-Determination Theory
Self-determination theory is a macro theory of human motivation and personality, concerning people's inherent growth tendencies and their innate psychological needs. It is concerned with the motivation behind the choices that people make without any external influence and interference...

) does he become aware and capable of seeing God." According to several passages in his works and journals, such as The Point of View of My Work as an Author
The Point of View of my Work as an Author
The Point of View For my Work as an Author is an autobiographical account of the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard's use of his pseudonyms. It was written in 1848, published in part in 1851 , and published in full posthumously in 1859...

, Kierkegaard used pseudonyms in order to prevent his works from being treated as a philosophical system with a systematic structure. In the Point of View, Kierkegaard wrote:

Later he would write:
Early Kierkegaardian scholars, such as Theodor W. Adorno
Theodor W. Adorno
Theodor W. Adorno was a German sociologist, philosopher, and musicologist known for his critical theory of society....

 and Thomas Henry Croxall
Thomas Henry Croxall
Thomas Henry Croxall was an English minister in Copenhagen, instrumental in translating the work of Soren Kierkegaard and introducing him to an English audience....

 argue that the entire authorship should be treated as Kierkegaard's own personal and religious views. This view leads to confusions and contradictions which make Kierkegaard appear philosophically incoherent. Many later scholars, such as the post-structuralists
Post-structuralism
Post-structuralism is a label formulated by American academics to denote the heterogeneous works of a series of French intellectuals who came to international prominence in the 1960s and '70s...

, have interpreted Kierkegaard's work by attributing the pseudonymous texts to their respective authors. Postmodern Christians
Postmodern Christianity
Postmodern Christianity is an outlook of Christianity that is closely associated with the body of writings known as postmodern philosophy. Although it is a relatively recent development in the Christian religion, some Christian postmodernists assert that their style of thought has an affinity with...

 present a different interpretation of Kierkegaard's works. Kierkegaard uses the category of "The Individual" to stop the endless Either/Or.

Kierkegaard's most important pseudonyms, in chronological order, are:
  • Victor Eremita, editor of Either/Or
    Either/Or
    Published in two volumes in 1843, Either/Or is an influential book written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, exploring the aesthetic and ethical "phases" or "stages" of existence....

  • A, writer of many articles in Either/Or
  • Judge William, author of rebuttals to A in Either/Or
  • Johannes de silentio, author of Fear and Trembling
    Fear and Trembling
    Fear and Trembling is an influential philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio...

  • Constantin Constantius, author of the first half of Repetition
    Repetition (Kierkegaard)
    Kierkegaard said "Seneca has said that when a person has reached his thirtieth year he ought to know his constitution so well that he can be his own physician; I likewise believe that when a person has reached a certain age he ought to be able to be his own pastor...

  • Young Man, author of the second half of Repetition
  • Vigilius Haufniensis, author of The Concept of Anxiety
  • Nicolaus Notabene, author of Prefaces
    Prefaces
    Prefaces is a book by Søren Kierkegaard published under the pseudonym Nicolaus Notabene. It is a series of prefaces for unwritten books, books unwritten because the fictitious Notabene's wife has sworn to divorce him if he ever becomes a writer....

  • Hilarius Bookbinder, editor of Stages on Life's Way
    Stages on Life's Way
    Stages on Life's Way is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1845. The book was written as a continuation of Kierkegaard's masterpiece Either/Or...

  • Johannes Climacus, author of Philosophical Fragments
    Philosophical Fragments
    Philosophical Fragments was a Christian philosophic work written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1844. It was the first of three works written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, the other two were Johannes Climacus, 1841 and Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical...

    and Concluding Unscientific Postscript
  • Inter et Inter, author of The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
    The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
    The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress was a series of articles written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1847 and published in the Danish newspaper Fædrelandet in 1848 under the pseudonym Inter et Inter....

  • H.H., author of Two Ethical-Religious Essays
  • Anti-Climacus, author of The Sickness Unto Death
    The Sickness Unto Death
    The Sickness Unto Death is a book written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1849 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus...

    and Practice in Christianity
    Practice in Christianity
    Practice in Christianity is a work by 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was published on September 27, 1850 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, the author of The Sickness Unto Death. Kierkegaard considered it to be his "most perfect and truest book"...


The Corsair Affair


On 22 December 1845, Peder Ludvig Møller
Peder Ludvig Møller
Peder Ludvig Møller was a Danish literary critic. On 22 December 1845, Møller published an article critiquing Stages on Life's Way, a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard.-External links:...

, a young author of Kierkegaard's generation who studied at the University of Copenhagen at the same time as Kierkegaard, published an article indirectly criticizing Stages on Life's Way
Stages on Life's Way
Stages on Life's Way is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1845. The book was written as a continuation of Kierkegaard's masterpiece Either/Or...

. The article complimented Kierkegaard for his wit and intellect, but questioned whether he would ever be able to master his talent and write coherent, complete works. Møller was also a contributor to and editor of The Corsair
Corsaren
Corsaren was a weekly satirical and political magazine published by Meïr Aron Goldschmidt who also wrote most of its content. The first issue was published on the 8 October 1840 in Copenhagen, Denmark....

, a Danish satirical paper that lampooned everyone of notable standing. Kierkegaard published a sarcastic response, charging that Møller's article was merely an attempt to impress Copenhagen's literary elite.

Kierkegaard wrote two small pieces in response to Møller, The Activity of a Traveling Esthetician and Dialectical Result of a Literary Police Action. The former focused on insulting Møller's integrity while the latter was a directed assault on The Corsair, in which Kierkegaard, after criticizing the journalistic quality and reputation of the paper, openly asked The Corsair to satirize him.

Kierkegaard's response earned him the ire of the paper and its second editor, also an intellectual Kierkegaard's own age, Meïr Aron Goldschmidt
Meïr Aron Goldschmidt
Meïr Aron Goldschmidt was a Danish publisher, journalist and novelist with a Jewish background. Goldschmidt was born in Vordingborg but raised in Copenhagen...

. Over the next few months, The Corsair took Kierkegaard up on his offer to "be abused", and unleashed a series of attacks making fun of Kierkegaard's appearance, voice, and habits. For months, Kierkegaard perceived himself to be the victim of harassment on the streets of Denmark. In a journal entry dated March 9, 1846, Kierkegaard made a long, detailed explanation of his attack on Møller and The Corsair, and also explained that this attack made him rethink his strategy of indirect communication.

On February 27, 1846 Kierkegaard published Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments is a major work by Søren Kierkegaard. The work is a poignant attack against Hegelianism, the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel. The work is also famous for its dictum, Subjectivity is Truth...

, under his first pseudonym, Johannes Climacus. On March 30, 1846 he published Two Ages: A Literary Review
Two Ages: A Literary Review
Two Ages: A Literary Review is the first book in Søren Kierkegaard's second authorship and was published on March 30, 1846. The work followed The Corsair affair in which he was the target of public ridicule and consequently displays his thought on "the public" and an individual's relationship to...

, under his own name. A critique of the novel Two Ages (in some translations Two Generations) written by Thomasine Christine Gyllembourg-Ehrensvärd
Thomasine Christine Gyllembourg-Ehrensvärd
Baroness Thomasine Christine Gyllembourg-Ehrensvärd was a Danish author, born in Copenhagen. Her maiden name was Buntzen....

, Kierkegaard made several insightful observations on what he considered the nature of modernity
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

 and its passionless attitude towards life. Kierkegaard writes that "the present age is essentially a sensible age, devoid of passion [...] The trend today is in the direction of mathematical equality, so that in all classes about so and so many uniformly make one individual". In this, Kierkegaard attacks the conformity and assimilation
Cultural assimilation
Cultural assimilation is a socio-political response to demographic multi-ethnicity that supports or promotes the assimilation of ethnic minorities into the dominant culture. The term assimilation is often used with regard to immigrants and various ethnic groups who have settled in a new land. New...

 of individuals into "the crowd" which becomes the standard for truth, since it is the numerical.

As part of his analysis of the "crowd", Kierkegaard accused newspapers of decay and decadence. Kierkegaard stated Christendom had "lost its way" by recognizing "the crowd," as the many who are moved by newspaper stories, as the court of last resort in relation to "the truth." Truth comes to a single individual, not all people at one and the same time. Just as truth comes to one individual at a time so does love. One doesn't love the crowd but does love their neighbor, who is a single individual. He says, "never have I read in the Holy Scriptures this command: You shall love the crowd; even less: You shall, ethico-religiously, recognize in the crowd the court of last resort in relation to 'the truth.'" Kierkegaard takes out his wrath on the crowd, the public, and especially the newspapers in this short sample of his work. In this quote he also gives an inkling of what true Christianity is like. God must be the middle term.
The crowd is untruth. And I could weep, in every case I can learn to long for the eternal, whenever I think about our age's misery, even compared with the ancient world's greatest misery, in that the daily press and anonymity make our age even more insane with help from "the public," which is really an abstraction, which makes a claim to be the court of last resort in relation to "the truth"; for assemblies which make this claim surely do not take place. That an anonymous person, with help from the press, day in and day out can speak however he pleases (even with respect to the intellectual, the ethical, the religious), things which he perhaps did not in the least have the courage to say personally in a particular situation; every time he opens up his gullet—one cannot call it a mouth—he can all at once address himself to thousands upon thousands; he can get ten thousand times ten thousand to repeat after him—and no one has to answer for it; in ancient times the relatively unrepentant crowd was the almighty, but now there is the absolutely unrepentant thing: No One, an anonymous person: the Author, an anonymous person: the Public, sometimes even anonymous subscribers, therefore: No One. No One! God in heaven, such states even call themselves Christian states. One cannot say that, again with the help of the press, "the truth" can overcome the lie and the error. O, you who say this, ask yourself: Do you dare to claim that human beings, in a crowd, are just as quick to reach for truth, which is not always palatable, as for untruth, which is always deliciously prepared, when in addition this must be combined with an admission that one has let oneself be deceived! Or do you dare to claim that "the truth" is just as quick to let itself be understood as is untruth, which requires no previous knowledge, no schooling, no discipline, no abstinence, no self-denial, no honest self-concern, no patient labor! No, "the truth," which detests this untruth, the only goal of which is to desire its increase, is not so quick on its feet. Firstly, it cannot work through the fantastical, which is the untruth; its communicator is only a single individual. And its communication relates itself once again to the single individual; for in this view of life the single individual is precisely the truth. The truth can neither be communicated nor be received without being as it were before the eyes of God, nor without God's help, nor without God being involved as the middle term, since he is the truth. It can therefore only be communicated by and received by "the single individual," which, for that matter, every single human being who lives could be: this is the determination of the truth in contrast to the abstract, the fantastical, impersonal, "the crowd" - "the public," which excludes God as the middle term (for the personal God cannot be the middle term in an impersonal relation), and also thereby the truth, for God is the truth and its middle term. Søren Kierkegaard, Copenhagen, Spring 1847

Authorship (1847–1855)


Kierkegaard began to write again in 1847. His first work in this period was Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits
Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits
Edifiying Discourses in Diverse Spirits, also Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, was published on March 13, 1847, and is one of the first books in Søren Kierkegaard's second authorship...

, which included Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, and Works of Love
Works of Love
Works of Love is a work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1847. It is one of the works which he published under his own name, as opposed to his more famous "pseudonymous" works. Works of Love deals primarily with the Christian conception of love in contrast with erotic love or preferential love ...

, both authored under his own name. There had been much discussion in Denmark about the pseudonymous authors until the publication of Concluding Unscientific Discourses where he openly admitted to be the author of the books because people began wondering if he was, in fact, a Christian or not.

In 1848 he published Christian Discourses
Christian Discourses
Christian Discourses is one of the first books in Søren Kierkegaard's second authorship and was published on April 26, 1848. The work consists of four parts:* Part One - The Cares of the Pagans...

under his own name and The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress was a series of articles written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1847 and published in the Danish newspaper Fædrelandet in 1848 under the pseudonym Inter et Inter....

under the pseudonym Inter et Inter. Kierkegaard also developed The Point of View of My Work as an Author
The Point of View of my Work as an Author
The Point of View For my Work as an Author is an autobiographical account of the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard's use of his pseudonyms. It was written in 1848, published in part in 1851 , and published in full posthumously in 1859...

, his autobiographical explanation for his prolific use of pseudonyms. The book was finished in 1848, but not published until after his death.

The Second edition of Either/Or and The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air were both published early in 1849. Later in 1849 he published The Sickness Unto Death
The Sickness Unto Death
The Sickness Unto Death is a book written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1849 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus...

, under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus; four months later he wrote Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays under his own name. Another work by Anti
Anti
Anti may refer to:* Anti , the ferryman who carried Isis to Set's island in Egyptian mythology* Anti, or Campa, a tribe of South American Indians* ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival, a yearly international live-art festival held in Kuopio, Finland...

-Climacus, Practice in Christianity
Practice in Christianity
Practice in Christianity is a work by 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was published on September 27, 1850 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, the author of The Sickness Unto Death. Kierkegaard considered it to be his "most perfect and truest book"...

, was published in 1850, but edited by Søren Kierkegaard. This work was called Training in Christianity when Walter Lowrie translated it in 1941.

In 1851, Kierkegaard began openly presenting his case for Christianity to the "Single Individual". In Practice In Christianity, his last pseudonymous work, he said, "In this book, originating in the year 1848, the requirement for being a Christian is forced up by the pseudonymous authors to a supreme ideality." He now pointedly referred to the single individual in his next three publications; For Self-Examination
For Self-Examination
For Self-Examination is a work by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was published on September 20, 1851 as part of Kierkegaard's second authorship...

, Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays, and in 1852 Judge for Yourselves!
Judge for Yourselves!
Judge for Yourselves! is a work by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was written as part of Kierkegaard's second authorship and published posthumously in 1876. This work is a continuation of For Self-Examination...

. In 1843 he had written in Either/Or "I ask: What am I supposed to do if I do not want to be a philosopher, I am well aware that I like other philosophers will have to mediate
Mediation
Mediation, as used in law, is a form of alternative dispute resolution , a way of resolving disputes between two or more parties. A third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate their own settlement...

 the past. For one thing, this is no answer to my question “What am I supposed to do?” for even if I had the most brilliant philosophical mind there ever was, there must be something more I have to do besides sitting and contemplating the past. Second, I am a married man and far from being a philosophical brain, but in all respect I turn to the devotees of this science to find out what I am supposed to do. But I receive no answer, for philosophy mediates the past and is in the past-philosophy hastens so fast into the past that, as a poet says of and antiquarian, only his coattails remain in the present. See, here you are at one with the philosophers. What unites you is that life comes to a halt. For the philosopher, world history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 is ended, and he mediates. This accounts for the repugnant spectacle that belongs to the order of the day in our age-to see young people who are able to mediate Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and paganism
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

, who are able to play games with the titanic forces of history, and who are unable to tell a simple human being what he has to do here in life, nor do they know what they themselves have to do." A journal entry about Practice in Christianity from 1851 clarifies his intention.

Attack upon the State Church and death


Kierkegaard's final years were taken up with a sustained, outright attack on the Church of Denmark
Church of Denmark
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, Church of Denmark or Danish National Church, is the state church and largest denomination in Denmark and Greenland...

 by means of newspaper articles published in The Fatherland (Fædrelandet) and a series of self-published pamphlets called The Moment (Øjeblikket). These pamphlets are now included in Kierkegaard's Attack Upon Christendom

Kierkegaard first moved to action after Professor (soon bishop) Hans Lassen Martensen
Hans Lassen Martensen
Hans Lassen Martensen was a Danish bishop and academic.- Early life :Martensen was born in a middle-class Lutheran family in Flensburg, Duchy of Schleswig , as their only son. At that time Schleswig was a duchy between Holstein and Denmark...

 gave a speech in church in which he called the recently deceased Bishop Jakob P. Mynster a "truth-witness, one of the authentic truth-witnesses." Kierkegaard explained, in his first article, that Mynster's death permitted him—at last—to be frank about his opinions. He later wrote that all his former output had been "preparations" for this attack, postponed for years waiting for two preconditions: 1) both his father and bishop Mynster should be dead before the attack and 2) he should himself have acquired a name as a famous theologic writer. Kierkegaard's father had been Mynster's close friend, but Søren had long come to see that Mynster's conception of Christianity was mistaken, demanding too little of its adherents. Kierkegaard strongly objected to the portrayal of Mynster as a 'truth-witness'.

During the ten issues of Øjeblikket the aggressiveness of Kierkegaard's language increased; the “thousand Danish priests“ “playing Christianity“ were eventually called “man-eaters“ after having been “liars“, “hypocrites“ and “destroyers of Christianity" in the first issues. This verbal violence caused a sensation in Denmark, but today Kierkegaard is often considered to have lost control of himself during this campaign.

Before the tenth issue of his periodical The Moment could be published, Kierkegaard collapsed on the street and was taken to a hospital. He stayed in the hospital for over a month and refused to receive communion from a pastor. At that time Kierkegaard regarded pastors as mere political officials, a niche in society who was clearly not representative of the divine. He said to Emil Boesen, a friend since childhood who kept a record of his conversations with Kierkegaard, that his life had been one of immense suffering, which may have seemed like vanity to others, but he did not think it so.


Kierkegaard died in Frederik's Hospital
Frederiks Hospital
The royal Frederiks Hospital was Denmark's first hospital in the present-day meaning of the word. It was founded by king Frederik V and financed by the earnings from the Norwegian Postal Service....

 after being there for over a month, possibly from complications from a fall he had taken from a tree in his youth. He was interred in the Assistens Kirkegård in the Nørrebro
Nørrebro
Nørrebro is one of the 10 official districts of Copenhagen, Denmark. It is northwest of the city centre, beyond the location of the old Northern Gate , which, until dismantled in 1856, was near the current Nørreport station.-Geography:...

 section of Copenhagen. At Kierkegaard's funeral, his nephew Henrik Lund caused a disturbance by protesting the burying of Kierkegaard by the official church. Lund maintained that Kierkegaard would never have approved, had he been alive, as he had broken from and denounced the institution. Lund was later fined for his public disruption of a funeral.

In Kierkegaard's pamphlets and polemical books, including The Moment, he criticized several aspects of church formalities and politics. According to Kierkegaard, the idea of congregations keeps individuals as children since Christians are disinclined from taking the initiative to take responsibility for their own relation to God. He stresses that "Christianity is the individual, here, the single individual." Furthermore, since the Church was controlled by the State, Kierkegaard believed the State's bureaucratic mission was to increase membership and oversee the welfare of its members. More members would mean more power for the clergymen: a corrupt ideal. This mission would seem at odds with Christianity's true doctrine, which, to Kierkegaard, is to stress the importance of the individual, not the whole. Thus, the state-church political structure is offensive and detrimental to individuals, since anyone can become "Christian" without knowing what it means to be Christian. It is also detrimental to the religion itself since it reduces Christianity to a mere fashionable tradition adhered to by unbelieving "believers", a "herd mentality" of the population, so to speak. In the Journals, Kierkegaard writes:

Reception


Søren Kierkegaard has been interpreted and reinterpreted since he published his first book. Some authors change with the times as their productivity progresses and sometimes interpretations of an author changes with each new generation. The interpretation of Søren Kierkegaard is still in the process of becoming.

19th century reception


In September 1850, the Western Literary Messenger wrote: "While Martensen with his wealth of genius casts from his central position light upon every sphere of existence, upon all the phemomena of life, Søren Kierkegaard stands like another Simon Stylites, upon his solitary column, with his eye unchangeably fixed upon one point. Upon this he places his microscope and examines its minutest atoms; scrutinizes its most fleeting movements; its innermost changes, upon this he lectures, upon this he writes again and again, infinite volumes. Everything exists for him in this one point. But this point is-the human heart: and as he ever reflects this changing heart in the eternal unchangeable, in ‘that’ “which became flesh and dwelt among us,” and as he amidst his wearisome logical wanderings often says divine things, he has found in the gay, lively Copenhagen not a small public, and that principally of the ladies. The philosophy of the heart must be near to them". The Western literary messenger, Volume 13, Issue 1–Volume 14, Issue 5, 1850 p. 182

In 1855, the Danish National Church published his obituary. Kierkegaard did have an impact there judging from the following quote from their article: “The fatal fruits which Dr. Kierkegaard show to arise from the union of Church and State, have strengthened the scruples of many of the believing laity, who now feel that they can remain no longer in the Church, because thereby they are in communion with unbelievers, for there is no ecclesiastical discipline. Thus, the desire of leaving the Church becomes increasingly strengthened among them. They wish to see J. Lursen (the reader) ordained. One of his friends has lately declared in their journal, that pious laymen are more fit to ordain ministers than the unbelieving priests. An independent Lutheran Church was formed at Copenhagen last December.’’ Evangelical Christendom: Christian Work and the News of the Churches (1855), The Doctrines of Dr Kierkegaard, p. 129

Changes did occur in the administration of the Church and these changes are linked to Kierkegaard's writings. The Church noted that dissent was “something foreign to the national mind.” On April 5, 1855 the Church enacted new policies, “every member of a congregation is free to attend the ministry of any clergyman, and is not, as formerly, bound to the one whose parishioner he is”. In March 1857, compulsory infant baptism was abolished. The King as the head of the Church changed and a debate over having a constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 or not evolved, Martensen was for the establishment of a Church Constitution and Gruntvig
Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig
Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig , most often referred to as simply N. F. S. Grundtvig, was a Danish pastor, author, poet, philosopher, historian, teacher, and politician. He was one of the most influential people in Danish history, as his philosophy gave rise to a new form of nationalism in...

 didn't want any written rules at all. Immediately following this announcement the “agitation occasioned by Kierkegaard" is mentioned. Kierkegaard is accused of Weigelianism
Valentin Weigel
Valentin Weigel was a German theologian, philosopher and mystical writer, from Saxony, and an important precursor of later theosophy. In English he is often called Valentine Weigel....

 and Darbyism
John Nelson Darby
John Nelson Darby was an Anglo-Irish evangelist, and an influential figure among the original Plymouth Brethren. He is considered to be the father of modern Dispensationalism. He produced a translation of the Bible based on the Hebrew and Greek texts called The Holy Scriptures: A New Translation...

, but the article goes on to say, “One great truth has been made prominent, viz (namely): That there exists a worldly-minded clergy; that many things in the Church are rotten; that all need daily repentance; that one must never be contented with the existing state of either the Church or her pastors. But there is no truth in the assertion that Christianity does not aim at the formation of the Church, or Christianizing the world; that the Church is a mere Babel: that where there is no suffering for Christ’s sake, the Gospel of the New Testament is at an end.” Evangelical Christendom, Volumes 11–12 J.S. Phillips, 1857 Denmark: Remarks on the State of the Danish National Church, by The Rev. Dr. Kalkar, Copenhagen, August 1, 1858. pp. 269–274 quote from pp. 269–270

Hans Martensen wrote a monograph about Kierkegaard in 1856, a year after his death, Dr. S. Kierkegaard mod Dr. H. Martensen: et indlaeg but it hasn't been translated into English and mentioned him extensively in Christian Ethics, (1871). "Kierkegaard's assertion is therefore perfectly justifiable, that with the category of "the individual" the cause of Christianity must stand and fall; that, without this category, Pantheism had conquered unconditionally. From this, at a glance, it may be seen that Kierkegaard ought to make common cause with those philosophic and theological writers who specially desire to promote the principle of Personality
Personality psychology
Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:* Constructing a coherent picture of the individual and his or her major psychological processes...

 as opposed to Pantheism
Pantheism
Pantheism is the view that the Universe and God are identical. Pantheists thus do not believe in a personal, anthropomorphic or creator god. The word derives from the Greek meaning "all" and the Greek meaning "God". As such, Pantheism denotes the idea that "God" is best seen as a process of...

. This is, however, very far from being the case. For those views which upheld the category of existence and personality, in opposition to this abstract idealism, did not do this in the sense of an either—or, but in that of a both—and. They strove after unity of existence and idea, which may be specially seen from the fact that they desired system, totality. Martensen accused Kierkegaard and Alexandre Vinet
Alexandre Vinet
Alexandre Rodolphe Vinet , was a Swiss critic and theologian.-Life:He was born near Lausanne in Switzerland.Educated for the Protestant ministry, he was ordained in 1819, when already teacher of the French language and literature in the gymnasium at Basel; and throughout his life he was as much a...

 of not giving society its due. He said both of them put the individual above society, and in so doing, above the Church. Christian ethics : (General part) Vol. XXXIX, by Hans Martensen, Translated by C. Spence pp. 206–236

Another early critic was Magnús Eiríksson
Magnús Eiríksson
Magnús Eiríksson was an Icelandic theologian and a contemporary critic of Søren Aabye Kierkegaard and Hans Lassen Martensen in Copenhagen....

 who criticized Martensen and wanted Kierkegaard as his ally in his fight against speculative theology.

Otto Pfleiderer
Otto Pfleiderer
Otto Pfleiderer was a German Protestant theologian.-Biography:He was born at Stetten in Württemberg. From 1857 to 1861 he studied at the University of Tübingen under FC Baur, and afterwards in England and Scotland...

 in The Philosophy of Religion: On the Basis of Its History (1887), says, Kierkegaard presents an anti-rational view of Christianity. He goes on to say the ethical side of a human being has to disappear completely in his one-sided view of faith as the highest good. He writes, "Kierkegaard can only find true Christianity in entire renunciation of the world, in the following of Christ in lowliness and suffering especially when met by hatred and persecution on the part of the world. Hence his passionate polemic
Polemic
A polemic is a variety of arguments or controversies made against one opinion, doctrine, or person. Other variations of argument are debate and discussion...

 against ecclesiastical Christianity, which he says has fallen away from Christ by coming to a peaceful understanding with the world and conforming itself to the world’s life. True Christianity, on the contrary, is constant polemical pathos
Pathos
Pathos represents an appeal to the audience's emotions. Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric , and in literature, film and other narrative art....

, a battle against reason, nature, and the world; its commandment is enmity with the world; its way of life is the death of the naturally human. The Philosophy of Religion: On the Basis of Its History, Otto Pfleiderer, 1887 p. 212

An article from an 1889 dictionary of religion gives the reader a good idea of how Søren Kierkegaard was regarded at that time. “Having never left his native city more than a few days at a time, excepting once, when he went to Germany to study Schelling's philosophy. He was the most original thinker and theological philosopher the North ever produced. His fame has been steadily growing since his death, and he bids fair to become the leading religio-philosophical light of Germany, not only his theological, but also his aesthetic works have of late become the subject of universal study in Europe. (...) Søren Kierkegaard’s writings abound in psychological observations and experiences, great penetration and dexterous experimentations, all of which enable him to speak of that which but few know and fewer still can express, his diction is noble, his dialectics refined and brilliant; scarcely a page of his can be found which is not rich in poetic sentiment and passionate though pure enthusiasm. It is generally conceded that his literary productions overflow with intellectual wonders, still it must be said that he is often more fascinating and seductive than convincing. He defined his task to be “to call attention to Christianity," to make himself an instrument to summon people to the truly Human. Ideal or true Christianity, so little known, as he claimed, and to which he wanted to call attention, is neither a theory, scientific or otherwise, but a life and a mode of existence; a life which nature can neither define nor teach. It is an existence rooted wholly in the beyond, though it must be realized in actual life. Christian truth is not and cannot be the subject of science, for it is not objective, but purely subjective. He does not deny the value of objective science; he admits its use and necessity in a real world, but he utterly discards any claims it may lay to the spiritual relations of the Christian—relations which are and can be only subjective, personal, and individual. Defined, his perception is this, "Subjectivity is the truth"—a doubtful proposition, and only true with regard to the One who could say about himself, "I am the truth." Rightly understood, it is the speculative principle of Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

; but wrongly conceived, it leads to a denial of the church idea. The main element of this philosophy would not have met with any determined opposition had Kierkegaard moderated his language. As it was he defiantly declared war against all speculation as a source of Christianity, and opposed those who seek to speculate on faith—as was the case in his day and before—thereby striving to get an insight into the truths of revelation. Speculation, he claimed, leads to a fall, and to a falsification of the truth." The Concise Dictionary of Religious Knowledge and Gazetteer 1889, Kierkegaard, Søren Aaby, Edited by Talbot Wilson Chambers, Frank Hugh Foster, Samuel Macauley Jackson pp. 473–475

The dramatist Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

 became interested in Kierkegaard and introduced his work to the rest of Scandinavia.

Early 20th century reception


The first academic to draw attention to Kierkegaard was his fellow Dane Georg Brandes
Georg Brandes
Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

, who published in German as well as Danish. Brandes gave the first formal lectures on Kierkegaard in Copenhagen and helped bring Kierkegaard to the attention of the rest of the European intellectual community. Brandes published the first book on Kierkegaard's philosophy and life. Sören Kierkegaard, ein literarisches Charakterbild. Autorisirte deutsche Ausg (1879) and compared him to Hegel in Reminiscences of my Childhood and Youth (1906).

He also introduced Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

 to Europe in 1915 by writing a biography about him. Brandes opposed Kierkegaard's ideas. He wrote elegantly about Christian doubt. "But my doubt would not be overcome. Kierkegaard had declared that it was only to the consciousness of sin that Christianity was not horror or madness. For me it was sometimes both. I concluded there from that I had no consciousness of sin, and found this idea confirmed when I looked into my own heart. For however violently at this period I reproached myself and condemned my failings, they were always in my eyes weaknesses that ought to be combatted, or defects that could be remedied, never sins that necessitated forgiveness, and for the obtaining of this forgiveness, a Saviour. That God had died for me as my Saviour,—I could not understand what it meant; it was an idea that conveyed nothing to me. And I wondered whether the inhabitants of another planet would be able to understand how on the Earth that which was contrary to all reason was considered the highest truth." Reminiscences of My Childhood and Youth, By George Brandes September, 1906 p. 108

He also mentions him extensively in volume 2 of his 6 volume work, Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature.

During the 1890s, Japanese philosophers began disseminating the works of Kierkegaard, from the Danish thinkers. Tetsuro Watsuji
Tetsuro Watsuji
Tetsuro Watsuji was a Japanese moral philosopher, cultural historian, and intellectual historian.-Early life:...

 was one of the first philosophers outside of Scandinavia to write an introduction on the philosophy of Kierkegaard in 1915.

Harald Høffding
Harald Høffding
Harald Høffding was a Danish philosopher.-Life:Born and educated in Copenhagen, he became a schoolmaster, and ultimately in 1883 a professor at the University of Copenhagen...

 has an article about him in A brief history of modern philosophy (1900). Høffding mentions Kierkegaard in his Philosophy of Religion 1906, and the American Journal of Theology (1908) has an article about Hoffding's Philosophy of Religion. Then Høffding repents of his previous convictions in The problems of philosophy (1913). Høffding was also a friend of the American philosopher William James
William James
William James was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He wrote influential books on the young science of psychology, educational psychology, psychology of religious experience and mysticism, and on the philosophy of pragmatism...

, and although James had not read Kierkegaard's works, as they were not yet translated into English at the time, he attended the lectures about Kierkegaard by Høffding and agreed with much of those lectures. James' favourite quote from Kierkegaard came from Høffding: "We live forwards but we understand backwards". This was, however a misquote, Kierkegaard wrote, "It is quite true what philosophy says; that life must be understood backwards. But then one forgets the other principle: that it must be lived forwards. Which principle, the more one thinks it through, ends exactly with the thought that temporal life can never properly be understood precisely because I can at no instant find complete rest in which to adopt a position: backwards."

The Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics had an acticle about him in (1908). The beginning of the article says, “The life of Søren Kierkegaard has but few points of contact with the external world; but there were, in particular, three occurrences—a broken engagement, and attack by a comic paper, and the use of a word by H. L. Martensen—which must be referred to as having wrought with extraordinary effect upon his peculiarly sensitive and high-strung nature. The intensity of his inner life, again—which finds expression in his published works, and even more directly in his notebooks and diaries (also published)—cannot be properly understood without some reference to his father.” Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics, Vol. 7 (1908), by James Hastings, John Alexander Sebie and Louis H. Gray p. 696

Theodor Haecker
Theodor Haecker
Theodor Haecker was a German writer, translator and cultural critic.He was a translator into German of Kierkegaard and Cardinal Newman. He wrote an essay, Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of Inwardness in 1913 at a time when few had heard of Haecker and even fewer had heard of Kierkegaard...

 wrote and essay titled, Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of Inwardness in 1913 and David F. Swenson wrote a biography of Søren Kierkegaard in 1920. Lee M. Hollander translated parts of Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Stages on Life's Way, and Preparations for the Christian Life (Practice in Christianity) into English in 1923, but no one paid attention to the work. Swenson said,

German and English translators of Kierkegaard's works


Hermann Gottsche published Kierkegaard's Journals in 1905. It took academics 50 years to arrange his journals. Kierkegaard's main works were translated into German by Christoph Schrempf
Christoph Schrempf
Christoph Schrempf was an evangelical theologian and philosopher.-Life:Christoph Schrempf was a pastor and writer from Besigheim, Germany. He had a difficult childhood due to his fathers alcoholism. His mother suffered from the violence until she fled, taking the children...

 from 1909 onwards, a German edition of Kierkegaard's collected works was done by Emmanuel Hirsch from 1950 on.

In the 1930s, the first academic English translations, by Alexander Dru, David F. Swenson, Douglas V. Steere
Douglas V. Steere
Douglas Van Steere was an American Quaker ecumenist.He served as a professor of philosophy at Haverford College from 1928 to 1964 and visiting professor of theology at Union Theological Seminary from 1961 to 1962...

, and Walter Lowrie appeared, under the editorial efforts of Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

 editor Charles Williams
Charles Williams (UK writer)
Charles Walter Stansby Williams was a British poet, novelist, theologian, literary critic, and member of the Inklings.- Biography :...

, one of the members of the Inklings
Inklings
The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949. The Inklings were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction, and encouraged the writing of fantasy...

. Thomas Henry Croxall
Thomas Henry Croxall
Thomas Henry Croxall was an English minister in Copenhagen, instrumental in translating the work of Soren Kierkegaard and introducing him to an English audience....

, another early translator, Lowrie, and Dru all hoped that people would not just read about Kierkegaard but would go on and actually read his works. Dru published an English translation of Kierkegaard's Journals in 1958; Alastair Hannay
Alastair Hannay
Alastair Hannay is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo. He was born in Plymouth, England and has been a resident of Norway since 1961. He has written about and translated several works of Kierkegaard and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His parents were...

 has translated some of Kierkegaard's works.

Later 20th century reception


Kierkegaard's comparatively early and manifold philosophical and theological reception in Germany was one of the decisive factors of expanding his works, influence, and readership throughout the world. Important for the first phase of his reception in Germany was the establishment of the journal Zwischen den Zeiten (Between the Ages) in 1922 by a heterogeneous circle of Protestant theologians: Karl Barth
Karl Barth
Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

, Emil Brunner
Emil Brunner
Heinrich Emil Brunner was a Swiss Protestant theologian. Along with Karl Barth , he is commonly associated with neo-orthodoxy or the dialectical theology movement....

, Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg...

 and Friedrich Gogarten
Friedrich Gogarten
Friedrich Gogarten was a Lutheran theologian, co-founder of dialectical theology in Germany in the early 20th Century. He was born in Dortmund.-Career:...

. Their thought would soon be referred to as dialectical theology
Neo-orthodoxy
Neo-orthodoxy, in Europe also known as theology of crisis and dialectical theology,is an approach to theology in Protestantism that was developed in the aftermath of the First World War...

. At roughly the same time, Kierkegaard was discovered by several proponents of the Jewish-Christian philosophy of dialogue
Philosophy of dialogue
Philosophy of dialogue is a type of philosophy based on the work of the Austrian-born Jewish philosopher Martin Buber best known through its classic presentation in his 1920s little book I and Thou...

 in Germany, namely by Martin Buber
Martin Buber
Martin Buber was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship....

, Ferdinand Ebner
Ferdinand Ebner
Ferdinand Ebner , was an Austrian elementary school teacher and philosopher. Together with Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, he is considered one of the most outstanding representatives of dialogical thinking...

, and Franz Rosenzweig
Franz Rosenzweig
Franz Rosenzweig was an influential Jewish theologian and philosopher.-Early life:Franz Rosenzweig was born in Kassel, Germany to a middle-class, minimally observant Jewish family...

. In addition to the philosophy of dialogue
Philosophy of dialogue
Philosophy of dialogue is a type of philosophy based on the work of the Austrian-born Jewish philosopher Martin Buber best known through its classic presentation in his 1920s little book I and Thou...

, existential philosophy
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

 has its point of origin in Kierkegaard and his concept of individuality. Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

 sparsely refers to Kierkegaard in Being and Time
Being and Time
Being and Time is a book by the German philosopher Martin Heidegger. Although written quickly, and despite the fact that Heidegger never completed the project outlined in the introduction, it remains his most important work and has profoundly influenced 20th-century philosophy, particularly...

(1927), obscuring how much he owes to him. In 1935, Karl Jaspers
Karl Jaspers
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

 emphasized Kierkegaard's (and Nietzsche's) continuing importance for modern philosophy. Walter Kaufmann discussed Sartre, Jaspers, and Heidegger in relation to Kierkegaard, and Kierkegaard in relation to the crisis of religion.

Philosophy



Kierkegaard has been called a philosopher, a theologian, the Father of Existentialism, both atheistic
Atheist existentialism
Atheist existentialism or atheistic existentialism is a kind of existentialism which strongly diverged from the Christian works of Søren Kierkegaard and has developed within the context of an atheistic worldview....

 and theistic
Christian existentialism
Christian existentialism describes a group of writings that take a philosophically existentialist approach to Christian theology. The school of thought is often traced back to the work of the Danish philosopher and theologian considered the father of existentialism, Søren Kierkegaard...

 variations, a literary critic, a social theorist, a humorist, a psychologist, and a poet. Two of his influential ideas are "subjectivity", and the notion popularly referred to as "leap of faith".

The leap of faith
Leap of faith
A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence...

 is his conception of how an individual would believe in God or how a person would act in love. Faith is not a decision based on evidence that, say, certain beliefs about God are true or a certain person is worthy of love. No such evidence could ever be enough to pragmatically justify the kind of total commitment involved in true religious faith or romantic love. Faith involves making that commitment anyway. Kierkegaard thought that to have faith is at the same time to have doubt. So, for example, for one to truly have faith in God, one would also have to doubt one's beliefs about God; the doubt is the rational part of a person's thought involved in weighing evidence, without which the faith would have no real substance. Someone who does not realize that Christian doctrine is inherently doubtful and that there can be no objective certainty about its truth does not have faith but is merely credulous. For example, it takes no faith to believe that a pencil or a table exists, when one is looking at it and touching it. In the same way, to believe or have faith in God is to know that one has no perceptual or any other access to God, and yet still has faith in God. As Kierkegaard writes, "doubt is conquered by faith, just as it is faith which has brought doubt into the world".

Kierkegaard also stressed the importance of the self, and the self's relation to the world, as being grounded in self-reflection and introspection. He argued in Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments is a major work by Søren Kierkegaard. The work is a poignant attack against Hegelianism, the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel. The work is also famous for its dictum, Subjectivity is Truth...

that "subjectivity is truth" and "truth is subjectivity." This has to do with a distinction between what is objectively true and an individual's subjective relation (such as indifference or commitment) to that truth. People who in some sense believe the same things may relate to those beliefs quite differently. Two individuals may both believe that many of those around them are poor and deserve help, but this knowledge may lead only one of them to decide to actually help the poor. This is how Kierkegaard put it:

Kierkegaard primarily discusses subjectivity with regard to religious matters. As already noted, he argues that doubt is an element of faith and that it is impossible to gain any objective certainty about religious doctrines such as the existence of God or the life of Christ. The most one could hope for would be the conclusion that it is probable that the Christian doctrines are true, but if a person were to believe such doctrines only to the degree they seemed likely to be true, he or she would not be genuinely religious at all. Faith consists in a subjective relation of absolute commitment to these doctrines.

Philosophical criticism


Kierkegaard's famous philosophical critics in the 20th century include Theodor Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas
Emmanuel Lévinas
Emmanuel Levinas was a Lithuanian-born French Jewish philosopher and Talmudic commentator.-Life:Emanuelis Levinas received a traditional Jewish education in Lithuania...

. Atheistic philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

 and Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

 support many aspects of Kierkegaard's philosophical views, but criticize and reject some of his religious views.

Several Kierkegaardian scholars argue Adorno's take on Kierkegaard's philosophy has been less than faithful to the original intentions of Kierkegaard. One critic of Adorno writes that his book Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic is "the most irresponsible book ever written on Kierkegaard" because Adorno takes Kierkegaard's pseudonyms literally, and constructs an entire philosophy of Kierkegaard which makes him seem incoherent and unintelligible. Another reviewer says that "Adorno is [far away] from the more credible translations and interpretations of the Collected Works of Kierkegaard we have today."

Levinas' main attack on Kierkegaard is focused on his ethical and religious stages, especially in Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling
Fear and Trembling is an influential philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio...

. Levinas criticises the leap of faith
Leap of faith
A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence...

 by saying this suspension of the ethical and leap into the religious is a type of violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

. He states:
Levinas points to the Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 belief that it was God who first commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and that it was an angel who commanded Abraham to stop. If Abraham were truly in the religious realm, he would not have listened to the angel to stop and should have continued to kill Isaac. "Transcending ethics" seems like a loophole to excuse would-be murderers from their crime and thus is unacceptable. One interesting consequence of Levinas' critique is that it seems to reveal that Levinas views God not as an absolute moral agent but as a projection of inner ethical desire.

On Kierkegaard's religious views, Sartre offers an objection to the existence of God
Existence of God
Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others. In philosophical terms, arguments for and against the existence of God involve primarily the sub-disciplines of epistemology and ontology , but also of the theory of value, since...

: If existence precedes essence, it follows from the meaning of the term sentient that a sentient being cannot be complete or perfect. In Being and Nothingness, Sartre's phrasing is that God would be a pour-soi
Pour soi
Pour soi or being-for-itself is a term used by Jean-Paul Sartre in his Existentialist work Being and Nothingness. Contrasted with the being-in-itself which rejects its own freedom and objectifies itself, the being-for-itself actively exercises its own freedom to impart essence and meaning to its...

[a being-for-itself; a consciousness] who is also an en-soi [a being-in-itself; a thing]: which is a contradiction in terms. Critics of Sartre have rebutted this objection by stating that it fails as it rests on a false dichotomy and a misunderstanding of the traditional Christian view of God.

Sartre agrees with Kierkegaard's analysis of Abraham undergoing anxiety (Sartre calls it anguish), but Sartre doesn't agree that God told him to do it. In his lecture, Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre wonders if Abraham ought to have doubted whether God actually spoke to him or not. In Kierkegaard's view, Abraham's certainty had its origin in that 'inner voice' which cannot be demonstrated or shown to another ("The problem comes as soon as Abraham wants to be understood"). To Kierkegaard, every external "proof" or justification is merely on the outside and external to the subject. Kierkegaard's proof for the immortality of the soul, for example, is rooted in the extent to which one wishes to live forever.

Influence



Many 20th-century philosophers
20th-century philosophy
20th-century philosophy saw the development of a number of new philosophical schools including logical positivism, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, existentialism and poststructuralism...

, both theistic and atheistic, and theologians drew many concepts from Kierkegaard, including the notions of angst, despair, and the importance of the individual. His fame as a philosopher grew tremendously in the 1930s, in large part because the ascendant existentialist movement pointed to him as a precursor, although he is now seen as a highly significant and influential thinker in his own right. As Kierkegaard was raised as a Lutheran, he is commemorated as a teacher in the Calendar of Saints
Calendar of Saints (Lutheran)
The Lutheran Calendar of Saints is a listing which details the primary annual festivals and events that are celebrated liturgically by some Lutheran Churches in the United States. The calendars of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod are from the...

 of the Lutheran Church on 11 November and in the Calendar of Saints of the Episcopal Church with a feast day on 8 September.

Philosophers and theologians influenced by Kierkegaard include Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Hans Urs von Balthasar was a Swiss theologian and priest who was nominated to be a cardinal of the Catholic Church...

, Karl Barth
Karl Barth
Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

, Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, often shortened to Simone de Beauvoir , was a French existentialist philosopher, public intellectual, and social theorist. She wrote novels, essays, biographies, an autobiography in several volumes, and monographs on philosophy, politics, and...

, Niels Bohr
Niels Bohr
Niels Henrik David Bohr was a Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. Bohr mentored and collaborated with many of the top physicists of the century at his institute in...

, Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian and martyr. He was a participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was involved in plans by members of the Abwehr to assassinate Adolf Hitler...

, Emil Brunner
Emil Brunner
Heinrich Emil Brunner was a Swiss Protestant theologian. Along with Karl Barth , he is commonly associated with neo-orthodoxy or the dialectical theology movement....

, Martin Buber
Martin Buber
Martin Buber was an Austrian-born Jewish philosopher best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of religious existentialism centered on the distinction between the I-Thou relationship and the I-It relationship....

, Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg...

, Albert Camus
Albert Camus
Albert Camus was a French author, journalist, and key philosopher of the 20th century. In 1949, Camus founded the Group for International Liaisons within the Revolutionary Union Movement, which was opposed to some tendencies of the Surrealist movement of André Breton.Camus was awarded the 1957...

, Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

, Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel was a Polish-born American rabbi and one of the leading Jewish theologians and Jewish philosophers of the 20th century.-Biography:...

, Karl Jaspers
Karl Jaspers
Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

, Gabriel Marcel
Gabriel Marcel
Gabriel Honoré Marcel was a French philosopher, a leading Christian existentialist, and author of about 30 plays.He focused on the modern individual's struggle in a technologically dehumanizing society...

, Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Maurice Merleau-Ponty was a French phenomenological philosopher, strongly influenced by Karl Marx, Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger in addition to being closely associated with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir...

, Reinhold Niebuhr
Reinhold Niebuhr
Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr was an American theologian and commentator on public affairs. Starting as a leftist minister in the 1920s indebted to theological liberalism, he shifted to the new Neo-Orthodox theology in the 1930s, explaining how the sin of pride created evil in the world...

, Franz Rosenzweig
Franz Rosenzweig
Franz Rosenzweig was an influential Jewish theologian and philosopher.-Early life:Franz Rosenzweig was born in Kassel, Germany to a middle-class, minimally observant Jewish family...

, Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

, Joseph Soloveitchik
Joseph Soloveitchik
Joseph Ber Soloveitchik was an American Orthodox rabbi, Talmudist and modern Jewish philosopher. He was a descendant of the Lithuanian Jewish Soloveitchik rabbinic dynasty....

, Paul Tillich
Paul Tillich
Paul Johannes Tillich was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century...

, Malcolm Muggeridge
Malcolm Muggeridge
Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy...

, Miguel de Unamuno
Miguel de Unamuno
Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright and philosopher.-Biography:...

. Paul Feyerabend
Paul Feyerabend
Paul Karl Feyerabend was an Austrian-born philosopher of science best known for his work as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for three decades . He lived a peripatetic life, living at various times in England, the United States, New Zealand,...

's epistemological anarchism
Epistemological anarchism
Epistemological anarchism is an epistemological theory advanced by Austrian philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge...

 in the philosophy of science was inspired by Kierkegaard's idea of subjectivity as truth. Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 was immensely influenced and humbled by Kierkegaard, claiming that "Kierkegaard is far too deep for me, anyhow. He bewilders me without working the good effects which he would in deeper souls". Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

 referred to Kierkegaard as "the great reformer of Christian ethics, who exposed the official Christian morality of his day as anti-Christian and anti-humanitarian hypocrisy".

Contemporary philosophers such as Emmanuel Lévinas
Emmanuel Lévinas
Emmanuel Levinas was a Lithuanian-born French Jewish philosopher and Talmudic commentator.-Life:Emanuelis Levinas received a traditional Jewish education in Lithuania...

, Hans-Georg Gadamer
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Hans-Georg Gadamer was a German philosopher of the continental tradition, best known for his 1960 magnum opus, Truth and Method .-Life:...

, Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida
Jacques Derrida was a French philosopher, born in French Algeria. He developed the critical theory known as deconstruction and his work has been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy...

, Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his theory on the concepts of 'communicative rationality' and the 'public sphere'...

, Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair MacIntyre
Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre is a British philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology...

, and Richard Rorty
Richard Rorty
Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher. He had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia, and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University...

, although sometimes highly critical, have also adapted some Kierkegaardian insights. Hilary Putnam
Hilary Putnam
Hilary Whitehall Putnam is an American philosopher, mathematician and computer scientist, who has been a central figure in analytic philosophy since the 1960s, especially in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of mathematics, and philosophy of science...

 admires Kierkegaard, "for his insistence on the priority of the question, 'How should I live?'".

Kierkegaard has also had a considerable influence on 20th-century literature
20th century in literature
See also: 20th century in poetry, 19th century in literature, other events of the 20th century, 21st century in literature, list of years in literature.Literature of the 20th century refers to world literature produced during the 20th century...

. Figures deeply influenced by his work include W. H. Auden
W. H. Auden
Wystan Hugh Auden , who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet,The first definition of "Anglo-American" in the OED is: "Of, belonging to, or involving both England and America." See also the definition "English in origin or birth, American by settlement or citizenship" in See also...

, Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo , known as Jorge Luis Borges , was an Argentine writer, essayist, poet and translator born in Buenos Aires. In 1914 his family moved to Switzerland where he attended school, receiving his baccalauréat from the Collège de Genève in 1918. The family...

, Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo is an American author, playwright, and occasional essayist whose work paints a detailed portrait of American life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries...

, Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse
Hermann Hesse was a German-Swiss poet, novelist, and painter. In 1946, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature...

, Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

, David Lodge
David Lodge (author)
David John Lodge CBE, is an English author.In his novels, Lodge often satirises academia in general and the humanities in particular. He was brought up Catholic and has described himself as an "agnostic Catholic". Many of his characters are Catholic and their Catholicism is a major theme...

, Flannery O'Connor
Flannery O'Connor
Mary Flannery O'Connor was an American novelist, short-story writer and essayist. An important voice in American literature, O'Connor wrote two novels and 32 short stories, as well as a number of reviews and commentaries...

, Walker Percy
Walker Percy
Walker Percy was an American Southern author whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1962...

, Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke
René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke , better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian–Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language...

, J.D. Salinger and John Updike
John Updike
John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

.

Kierkegaard's profound influence on psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

 is evident. He is widely regarded as the founder of Christian psychology and of existential psychology and therapy
Existential therapy
Existential psychotherapy is a philosophical method of therapy that operates on the belief that inner conflict within a person is due to that individual's confrontation with the givens of existence. These givens, as noted by Irvin D...

. Existentialist (often called "humanistic") psychologists and therapists include Ludwig Binswanger
Ludwig Binswanger
Ludwig Binswanger was a Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of existential psychology...

, Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl
Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D. was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy"...

, Erich Fromm
Erich Fromm
Erich Seligmann Fromm was a Jewish German-American social psychologist, psychoanalyst, sociologist, humanistic philosopher, and democratic socialist. He was associated with what became known as the Frankfurt School of critical theory.-Life:Erich Fromm was born on March 23, 1900, at Frankfurt am...

, Carl Rogers
Carl Rogers
Carl Ransom Rogers was an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology...

, and Rollo May
Rollo May
Rollo May was an American existential psychologist. He authored the influential book Love and Will during 1969. He is often associated with both humanistic psychology and existentialist philosophy. May was a close friend of the theologian Paul Tillich...

. May based his The Meaning of Anxiety on Kierkegaard's The Concept of Anxiety. Kierkegaard's sociological
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

 work Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age provides an interesting critique of modernity
Modernity
Modernity typically refers to a post-traditional, post-medieval historical period, one marked by the move from feudalism toward capitalism, industrialization, secularization, rationalization, the nation-state and its constituent institutions and forms of surveillance...

. Kierkegaard is also seen as an important precursor of postmodernism. In popular culture, he has been the subject of serious television and radio programmes; in 1984, a six-part documentary Sea of Faith: Television series presented by Don Cupitt
Don Cupitt
Don Cupitt is an English philosopher of religion and scholar of Christian theology. He is an Anglican priest, heretic and an emeritus professor of the University of Cambridge, though is better known as a popular writer, broadcaster and commentator...

 featured a programme on Kierkegaard, while on Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday, also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great & Holy Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, is the Christian feast or holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter that commemorates the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels...

 in 2008, Kierkegaard was the subject of discussion of the BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 programme presented by Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg
Melvyn Bragg, Baron Bragg FRSL FRTS FBA, FRS FRSA is an English broadcaster and author best known for his work with the BBC and for presenting the The South Bank Show...

, In Our Time
In Our Time (BBC Radio 4)
In Our Time is a live BBC radio discussion series exploring the history of ideas, presented by Melvyn Bragg since 15 October 1998.. It is one of BBC radio's most successful discussion programmes, acknowledged to have "transformed the landscape for serious ideas at peak listening time"...

.

Kierkegaard predicted his posthumous fame, and foresaw that his work would become the subject of intense study and research. In his journals, he wrote:
In 1784 Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

 challenged the thinkers of Europe to think for themselves.
"Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance (natura-liter maiorennes), nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts."
In 1854 Søren Kierkegaard wrote a note to “My Reader
Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
Soren Kierkegaard published Two Upbuilding Discourses three months after the publication of his big book, Either/Or, which ended without a conclusion to the argument between A, the aesthete and B, the ethicist, as to which is the best way to live one's life. Kierkegaard hoped the book would...

” of a similar nature.

Selected bibliography


  • (1841) On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates
    On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates
    On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates is Søren Kierkegaard's university thesis paper that he submitted in 1841...

    (Om Begrebet Ironi med stadigt Hensyn til Socrates)
  • (1843) Either/Or
    Either/Or
    Published in two volumes in 1843, Either/Or is an influential book written by the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, exploring the aesthetic and ethical "phases" or "stages" of existence....

    (Enten-Eller)
  • (1843) Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
    Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
    Soren Kierkegaard published Two Upbuilding Discourses three months after the publication of his big book, Either/Or, which ended without a conclusion to the argument between A, the aesthete and B, the ethicist, as to which is the best way to live one's life. Kierkegaard hoped the book would...

    (To opbyggelige Taler)
  • (1843) Fear and Trembling
    Fear and Trembling
    Fear and Trembling is an influential philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio...

    (Frygt og Bæven)
  • (1843) Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 (Tre opbyggelige Taler)
  • (1843) Repetition
    Repetition (Kierkegaard)
    Kierkegaard said "Seneca has said that when a person has reached his thirtieth year he ought to know his constitution so well that he can be his own physician; I likewise believe that when a person has reached a certain age he ought to be able to be his own pastor...

    (Gjentagelsen)
  • (1843) Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
    Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
    Kierkegaard writes these discourses because he's not sure that the other two have done their job. He revisits the story of Job once more but here he puts the emphasis not on what he said but what he did...

    (Fire opbyggelige Taler)
  • (1844) Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
    Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
    Soren Kierkegaard wrote Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses in the years 1843-1844. These discourses were translated from Danish to English in the 1940's, and from Danish to German in the 1950's, and then to English again in 1990. These Discourses were published along with Kierkegaard's pseudonymous...

    (To opbyggelige Taler)
  • (1844) Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
    Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
    Soren Kierkegaard published his Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses throughout the years 1843 and 1844. He followed the Socratic Method by publishing his own view of life under his own name and different views of life under pseudonyms...

    (Tre opbyggelige Taler)
  • (1844) Philosophical Fragments
    Philosophical Fragments
    Philosophical Fragments was a Christian philosophic work written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1844. It was the first of three works written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, the other two were Johannes Climacus, 1841 and Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical...

    (Philosophiske Smuler)
  • (1844) The Concept of Anxiety (Begrebet Angest)
  • (1844) Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 (Fire opbyggelige Taler)
  • (1845) Stages on Life's Way
    Stages on Life's Way
    Stages on Life's Way is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1845. The book was written as a continuation of Kierkegaard's masterpiece Either/Or...

    (Stadier paa Livets Vei)
  • (1846) Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
    Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments
    Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments is a major work by Søren Kierkegaard. The work is a poignant attack against Hegelianism, the philosophy of G. W. F. Hegel. The work is also famous for its dictum, Subjectivity is Truth...

    (Afsluttende uvidenskabelig Efterskrift)
  • (1847) Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits
    Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits
    Edifiying Discourses in Diverse Spirits, also Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, was published on March 13, 1847, and is one of the first books in Søren Kierkegaard's second authorship...

    (Opbyggelige Taler i forskjellig Aand), which included Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing
  • (1847) Works of Love
    Works of Love
    Works of Love is a work by Søren Kierkegaard written in 1847. It is one of the works which he published under his own name, as opposed to his more famous "pseudonymous" works. Works of Love deals primarily with the Christian conception of love in contrast with erotic love or preferential love ...

    (Kjerlighedens Gjerninger)
  • (1848) Christian Discourses
    Christian Discourses
    Christian Discourses is one of the first books in Søren Kierkegaard's second authorship and was published on April 26, 1848. The work consists of four parts:* Part One - The Cares of the Pagans...

    (Christelige Taler)
  • (1848, published 1859) The Point of View of My Work as an Author
    The Point of View of my Work as an Author
    The Point of View For my Work as an Author is an autobiographical account of the 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard's use of his pseudonyms. It was written in 1848, published in part in 1851 , and published in full posthumously in 1859...

    "as good as finished" (IX A 293) ((Synspunktet for min Forfatter-Virksomhed. En ligefrem Meddelelse, Rapport til Historien))
  • (1849) The Sickness Unto Death
    The Sickness Unto Death
    The Sickness Unto Death is a book written by Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in 1849 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus...

    (Sygdommen til Døden)
  • (1849) Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays (("Ypperstepræsten" – "Tolderen" – "Synderinden", tre Taler ved Altergangen om Fredagen))
  • (1850) Practice in Christianity
    Practice in Christianity
    Practice in Christianity is a work by 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard. It was published on September 27, 1850 under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, the author of The Sickness Unto Death. Kierkegaard considered it to be his "most perfect and truest book"...

    (Indøvelse i Christendom)

Book

  • Adorno, Theodor W. (1989). Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1186-6
  • Angier, Tom. (2006). Either Kierkegaard/or Nietzsche: Moral Philosophy in a New Key. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-5474-5
  • Beck, M. (1928). Referat und Kritik von M.Heidegger: Sein und Zeit, in: Philosophische Hefte 1 7
  • Bergmann, Samuel Hugo. (1991). Dialogical philosophy from Kierkegaard to Buber. New York: SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-0623-6
  • Bösl, Anton. (1997). Unfreiheit und Selbstverfehlung. Søren Kierkegaards existenzdialektische Bestimmung von Schuld und Sühne. Herder: Freiburg, Basel, Wien
  • Cappelorn, Niels J. (2003). Written Images. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11555-9
  • Carlisle, Claire. (2006). Kierkegaard: a guide for the perplexed‎. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-8611-0
  • Conway, Daniel W. and Gover, K. E. (2002). Søren Kierkegaard: critical assessments of leading philosophers. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-23587-7
  • Dreyfus, Hubert
    Hubert Dreyfus
    Hubert Lederer Dreyfus is an American philosopher. He is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley....

    ' (1998). Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger's Being and Time, Division I. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-54056-8
  • Dru, Alexander. (1938). The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Duncan, Elmer. (1976). Søren Kierkegaard: Maker of the Modern Theological Mind. Word Books, ISBN 0-87680-463-6
  • Evans, C. Stephen. (1996). "Introduction" in Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard, trans. by C. Stephen Evans and Sylvia Walsh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-84810-7
  • Gardiner, Patrick. (1969). Nineteenth Century Philosophy. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-911220-5
  • Garff, Joakim
    Joakim Garff
    Joakim Garff is a Danish theologian and Søren Kierkegaard scholar at Søren Kierkegaard Research Center at the University of Copenhagen. He has written several books on Kierkegaard including Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography.- External links :*...

    . (2005). Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography, trans. by Bruce Kirmmse. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-09165-5
  • Hall, Sharon K. (1983). Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Detroit: University of Michigan. ISBN 978-0-8103-0221-1
  • Hannay, Alastair
    Alastair Hannay
    Alastair Hannay is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo. He was born in Plymouth, England and has been a resident of Norway since 1961. He has written about and translated several works of Kierkegaard and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His parents were...

    . (2003). Kierkegaard: A Biography (new ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53181-0
  • Hannay, Alastair and Gordon Marino (eds). (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47719-0
  • Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
    Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was a German philosopher, one of the creators of German Idealism. His historicist and idealist account of reality as a whole revolutionized European philosophy and was an important precursor to Continental philosophy and Marxism.Hegel developed a comprehensive...

    . (1979). Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-824597-1
  • Hong, Howard V, and Edna Hong. (2000). The Essential Kierkegaard. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03309-9
  • Howland, Jacob. (2006). Kierkegaard and Socrates: A Study in Philosophy and Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86203-5
  • Houe, Poul, and Gordon D. Marino, Eds. (2003). Søren Kierkegaard and the words. Essays on hermeneutics and communication, Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel.
  • Hubben, William. (1962). Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka: Four Prophets of Our Destiny. New York: Collier Books.
  • Hutchens, Benjamin C. (2004). Levinas: a guide for the perplexed‎. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-7282-3.
  • Jaspers, Karl
    Karl Jaspers
    Karl Theodor Jaspers was a German psychiatrist and philosopher who had a strong influence on modern theology, psychiatry and philosophy. After being trained in and practicing psychiatry, Jaspers turned to philosophical inquiry and attempted to discover an innovative philosophical system...

    . (1935). Vernunft und Existenz. Fünf Vorlesungen. Groningen.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (2001). A Literary Review. London: Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044801-2
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1992). Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02082-5
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1985). Johannes Climacus, De Omnibus Dubitandum Est, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02036-5
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1976). Journals and Papers, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-18239-5
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1999). Provocations, edited by Charles Moore. Rifton, NY: Plough Publishing House. ISBN 978-0-87486-981-1
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1989). The Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07354-6.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1998b). The Moment and Late Writings, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14081-0
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1998a). The Point of View. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05855-5.
  • Kierkegaard, Soren (2009). Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs. Oxford, OUP, 2009 (Oxford World's Classics). ISBN 978-0-19-921419-8.
  • Kierkegaard, Søren. (1978). Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age, A Literary Review, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14076-6
  • Kosch, Michelle. (1996). Freedom and reason in Kant, Schelling, and Kierkegaard. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-928911-0
  • Lippitt, John. (2003). Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Kierkegaard and Fear and Trembling. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-18047-4
  • Lowrie, Walter. (1942). A Short Life of Kierkegaard. Prinecton: Princeton University Press.
  • Lowrie, Walter. (1968). Kierkegaard's Attack Upon Christendom. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • MacIntyre, Alasdair
    Alasdair MacIntyre
    Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre is a British philosopher primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy but known also for his work in history of philosophy and theology...

    . (2001). "Once More on Kierkegaard" in Kierkegaard after MacIntyre. Chicago: Open Court Publishing. ISBN 0-8126-9452-X
  • Mackey, Louis
    Louis H. Mackey
    Louis H. Mackey was a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA.-Early life:...

    . (1971). Kierkegaard: A Kind of Poet. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1042-5
  • Mackey, Louis
    Louis H. Mackey
    Louis H. Mackey was a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA.-Early life:...

    . (1986). Points of View: Readings of Kierkegaard. Tallahassee: Florida State University Press. ISBN 978-0813008240
  • Malantschuk, Gregor, and Howard and Edna Hong. (2003). Kierkegaard's concept of existence. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press. ISBN 978-0-87462-658-2
  • Matustik, Martin Joseph and Merold Westphal (eds). (1995). Kierkegaard in Post/Modernity. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-20967-6
  • McGrath, Alister E. (1993). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-19896-2
  • Mooney, Edward F. (2007). On Søren Kierkegaard: dialogue, polemics, lost intimacy, and time‎. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-5822-1
  • Oden, Thomas C. (2004). The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02085-X
  • Ostenfeld, Ib and Alastair McKinnon. (1972). Søren Kierkegaard's Psychology. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurer University Press, ISBN 0-88920-068-8
  • Pattison, George. (2002). Kierkegaard's Upbuilding Discourses: Philosophy, theology, literature. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28370-1.
  • Pattison, George. (2005). The Philosophy of Kierkegaard. Montreal: McGill-Queen's Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2987-8
  • Popper, Sir Karl R.
    Karl Popper
    Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

     (2002). The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol 2: Hegel and Marx. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-29063-5
  • Pyle, Andrew. (1999). Key philosophers in conversation: the Cogito interviews. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-18036-8
  • Rorty, Richard
    Richard Rorty
    Richard McKay Rorty was an American philosopher. He had a long and diverse academic career, including positions as Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Princeton, Kenan Professor of Humanities at the University of Virginia, and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University...

    . (1989). Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36781-6
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul. (1969). Being and nothingness: an essay on phenomenological ontology‎. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-04029-7
  • Skopetea, Sophia. (1995). Kierkegaard og graeciteten, En Kamp med ironi. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel. ISBN 87-7421-963-4 (In Danish with synopsis in English)
  • Staubrand, Jens
    Jens Staubrand
    Jens Staubrand is a Danish freelance journalist, author and philosopher. Staubrand gained a degree in philosophy from the University of Copenhagen in 1987, with a thesis about Søren Kierkegaard and Mozart's opera Don Giovanni. He has written books and articles in the field of culture and art, and...

    . (2009). Jens Staubrand: Søren Kierkegaard's Illness and Death, Copenhagen: Søren Kierkegaard Kulturproduktion. ISBN 978-87-92259-92-9. The book is in English and Danish.
  • Staubrand, Jens. (2009). Søren Kierkegaard: International Bibliography Music works & Plays, New edition, Copenhagen: Søren Kierkegaard Kulturproduktion. ISBN 978-87-92259-91-2. The book is in English and Danish.
  • Stern, Kenneth. (1990). "Kierkegaard on Theistic Proof" in Religious studies
    Religious Studies (journal)
    Religious Studies is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Cambridge University Press. It addresses problems of the philosophy of religion in the context of a variety of religious traditions...

    . Cambridge, Vol. 26, pp. 219–226.
  • Stewart, Jon. (2009). Kierkegaard's International Reception, Vol. 8. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-6496-3
  • Updike, John
    John Updike
    John Hoyer Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic....

    . (1997). "Foreword" in The Seducer's Diary by Søren Kierkegaard. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01737-9
  • Walsh, Sylvia. (2009). Kierkegaard: Thinking Christianly in an Existential Mode‎. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-920836-4
  • Watkin, Julia. (2000). Kierkegaard. Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-5086-9
  • Westfall, Joseph. (2007). The Kierkegaardian Author: Authorship and Performance in Kierkegaard's Literary and Dramatic Criticism. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019302-2
  • Weston, Michael. (1994). Kierkegaard and Modern Continental Philosophy. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10120-4
  • Westphal, Merold. (1996). Becoming a self: a reading of Kierkegaard's concluding unscientific postscript. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue Press. ISBN 978-1-55753-089-9
  • Westphal, Merold. (1997). "Kierkegaard and Hegel" in The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47719-0
  • Wyschogrod, Michael. (1954). Kierkegaard and Heidegger. The Ontology of Existence London: Routledge.

Web

  • The Western literary messenger, Sept 1849
  • Hans Lassen Martensen, 1856 (German translation only)
  • Hans Lassen Martensen, 1856 }
  • Evangelical Christendom: 1856
  • Evangelical Christendom: 1857
  • Hans Lassen Martensen
    Hans Lassen Martensen
    Hans Lassen Martensen was a Danish bishop and academic.- Early life :Martensen was born in a middle-class Lutheran family in Flensburg, Duchy of Schleswig , as their only son. At that time Schleswig was a duchy between Holstein and Denmark...

    , 1871
  • Otto Pfleiderer
    Otto Pfleiderer
    Otto Pfleiderer was a German Protestant theologian.-Biography:He was born at Stetten in Württemberg. From 1857 to 1861 he studied at the University of Tübingen under FC Baur, and afterwards in England and Scotland...

     1887
  • The Concise Dictionary of Religious Knowledge and Gazetteer 1889,
  • Harald Høffding
    Harald Høffding
    Harald Høffding was a Danish philosopher.-Life:Born and educated in Copenhagen, he became a schoolmaster, and ultimately in 1883 a professor at the University of Copenhagen...

    , 1900
  • Hermann Gottsched, 1905
  • Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics, Vol. 7, 1908, p. 696-699
  • Georg Brandes, 1906
  • Georg Brandes
    Georg Brandes
    Georg Morris Cohen Brandes was a Danish critic and scholar who had great influence on Scandinavian and European literature from the 1870s through the turn of the 20th century. He is seen as the theorist behind the "Modern Breakthrough" of Scandinavian culture...

    , 1906
  • David F. Swenson, 1921
  • Karl Barth
    Karl Barth
    Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom critics hold to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century; Pope Pius XII described him as the most important theologian since Thomas Aquinas...

    , 1933, 1968 The Epistle to the Romans By Karl Barth, E. C. Hoskyns
  • Hunt,George Laird, 1958
  • Gates, John A, 1960
  • Malcolm Muggeridge
    Malcolm Muggeridge
    Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy...

    , A Third Testament, 1976, 1983, Little Brown and Company (Examines the lives of St. Augustine
    St. Augustine
    -People:* Augustine of Hippo or Augustine of Hippo , father of the Latin church* Augustine of Canterbury , first Archbishop of Canterbury* Augustine Webster, an English Catholic martyr.-Places:*St. Augustine, Florida, United States...

    , Blaise Pascal
    Blaise Pascal
    Blaise Pascal , was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen...

    , William Blake
    William Blake
    William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age...

    , Soren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky
    Fyodor Dostoevsky
    Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. He is best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov....

    , Leo Tolstoy
    Leo Tolstoy
    Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

    , and Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian and martyr. He was a participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was involved in plans by members of the Abwehr to assassinate Adolf Hitler...

  • Creegan, Charles. 1989
  • MacDonald, William, 1995 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a freely-accessible online encyclopedia of philosophy maintained by Stanford University. Each entry is written and maintained by an expert in the field, including professors from over 65 academic institutions worldwide...

    , Søren Kierkegaard.
  • Lippitt, John and Daniel Hutto. (1998).
  • Kangas, David, 1998
  • Masugata, Kinya, Jul 9, 1999
  • Hampson, Daphne
    Daphne Hampson
    Margaret Daphne Hampson is a British theologian. Educated at Oxford and at Harvard, she held a personal Chair in 'Post-Christian Thought' at the University of St Andrews. Hampson's distinctive theological position has both gained her notoriety and been widely influential...

    , 2001 Christian Contradictions: The Structures of Lutheran and Catholic Thought. Cambridge, 2004
  • Morgan, Marcia, September, 2003
  • "Kierkegaard for Grownups" (2004), by Richard John Neuhaus
    Richard John Neuhaus
    Richard John Neuhaus was a prominent Christian cleric and writer. Born in Canada, Neuhaus moved to the United States where he became a naturalized United States citizen...

     Retrieved 2012-02-07
  • Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Gyldendal Leksikon, 2008
  • Society for Christian Psychology.

Audio

  • Walter Kaufmann
  • Walter Kaufmann, 1960

External links