Reidar Thomte's Kierkegaard's Philosophy of Religion is an excellent read for students beginning their study of one of the "greats" of nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy. Thomte directly appropriates Kierkegaard's insightful language and discussion of the theological and philosophical issues that stimulated him, all of which are still alive and well today. This approach has the happy result that readers seeking an introduction do not have to be led through technical debates in order to approach Kierkegaard's thought. Thomte is a master of incisive summary; his presentations of crucial distinctions are level-headed and to the point. Kierkegaard's categories such as "the stages on life's way" (the aesthetic, the ethical, Religiousness A, and Religiousness B), the individual, subjectivity, the Paradox, the varieties of love, faith and knowledge, etc., are provocative and illuminating. Not only is this book a good a "starter," it is also a comprehensive review of the principal issues in Kierkegaard's philosophy of religion.
(by Robert L. Perkins, Editor, International Kierkegaard Commentary)
Søren Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript has provoked a lively variety of divergent interpretations for a century and a half. It has been both celebrated and condemned as the chief inspiration for twentieth-century existential thought, as a subversive parody of philosophical argument, as a critique of mass society, as a forerunner of phenomenology and of postmodern relativism, and as an appeal for a renewal of religious commitment. These 2010 essays written by international Kierkegaard scholars offer a plurality of critical approaches to this fundamental text of existential philosophy. They cover hotly debated topics such as the tension between the Socratic-philosophical and the Christian-religious; the identity and personality of Kierkegaard's pseudonym 'Johannes Climacus'; his conceptions of paradoxical faith and of passionate understanding; his relation to his contemporaries and to some of his more distant predecessors; and, last but not least, his pertinence to our present-day concerns.
John Heywood Thomas was probably the earliest twentieth-century British scholar to study Kierkegaard's texts. Here he offers, as the fruit of a lifetime's devotion to that study, what Kierkegaard would call a "fragment"--a little of what needs to be said about the legacy of this radical Danish writer, philosopher, and theologian. This book, based on lectures given at the University of Calgary, seeks to explore different aspects of Kierkegaard's work in its original context and its legacy. Chapters include studies on Kierkegaard the writer (located within the history and development of European literature and nineteenth-century aesthetic theory) and Kierkegaard the philosopher (understood within the context of the development of philosophy in the first quarter of the nineteenth century). Also, since he always described himself as a religious thinker, Kierkegaard's view of religion is explored and in particular his attitude to the possibility of Christianity without the confines of an established church. Because Kierkegaard's philosophy is never separate from his religious thinking, Heywood Thomas also offers studies on the issues of metaphysics in Kierkegaard--its relation to theology, the scope of reason, the problem of time, and the meaning of death. Finally, to appreciate Kierkegaard as a man of his time as well as a "man for all seasons," his views on education are considered.
The articles in this volume employ source-work research to trace Kierkegaard's understanding and use of authors from the Greek tradition. A series of figures of varying importance in Kierkegaard's authorship are treated, ranging from early Greek poets to late Classical philosophical schools. In general it can be said that the Greeks collectively constitute one of the single most important body of sources for Kierkegaard's thought. He studied Greek from an early age and was profoundly inspired by what might be called the Greek spirit. Although he is generally considered a Christian thinker, he was nonetheless consistently drawn back to the Greeks for ideas and impulses on any number of topics. He frequently contrasts ancient Greek philosophy, with its emphasis on the lived experience of the individual in daily life, with the abstract German philosophy that was in vogue during his own time. It has been argued that he modeled his work on that of the ancient Greek thinkers specifically in order to contrast his own activity with that of his contemporaries.
Both/And is a new interpretation of Kierkegaard's writings which attempts to make sense of a very diverse authorship by offering a comprehensive interpretation of both Kierkegaard's so-called aesthetic and his religious writings. Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) stands for a turning point in philosophy from a systematic philosophy - which, with its focus on objectivity, attempts to place itself on the secure path of science - to a philosophythat focuses its attention in subjectivity and openly acknowledges itself as fragmentary and provisional. Strawser examines Kierkegaard's works as religious, aesthetic/poetic, and philosophical and argues that irony runs through both the aesthetic and the religious works - indeed, Kierkegaard referred to himself as the Magister of Irony. But Strawser goes beyond these boundaries to draw in the interpretation of Kierkegaard's writing not a line which cuts off the aesthetic from the religious, but connects them. This is what Strawser calls the line from irony to edification. This line is the line of both/and, the line of connection. Strawser addresses the problematic but natural relationship between Kierkegaard and postmodernism and offers exciting possibilities. Strawser believes that contemporary postmodern philosophical considerations aid a critical reading of Kierkegaard, but such a reading must not be overwhelmed by them. Such a comprehensive reading is what Strawser offers the reader in Both/And.
When he heard the voice that ordered him to sacrifice his son, was Abraham deluded? When is faith merely a form of self-deception? The existential challenge of attaining and preserving faith is as difficult today as ever before and perhaps even more so in a scientifically, technologically oriented culture. Faith can turn into inauthenticity as easily today as in Kierkegaard’s era. This book presents Kierkegaard’s illuminating responses to the existentially haunting questions of faith and authenticity.
Although the ideas of Soren Kierkegaard played a pivotal role in the shaping of mainstream German philosophy and the history of French existentialism, the question of how philosophers should read Kierkegaard is a difficult one to settle. His intransigent religiosity has led some philosophers to view him as essentially a religious thinker of a singularly anti-philosophical attitude who should be left to the theologians. In this major new survey of Kierkegaard's thought, George Pattison addresses this question head on and shows that although it would be difficult to claim a "philosophy of Kierkegaard" as one could a philosophy of Kant, or of Hegel, there are nevertheless significant points of common interest between Kierkegaard's central thinking and the questions that concern philosophers today. The challenge of self-knowledge in an age of moral and intellectual uncertainty that lies at the heart of Kierkegaard's writings remains as important today as it did in the culture of post-Enlightenment modernity.
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