The Life and Thought of Kierkegaard For Everyman

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Stephen Evans. Atlantic Highlands, N. Cooper, Robert M. Kierkegaard's Classical Inspiration. Creegan, Charles L. London: New York, Crites, Stephen. In the Twilight of Christendom; Hegel Vs. Kierkegaard on Faith and History. Chambersberg: Pa. American Academy of Religion, Immediacy and Reflection in Kierkegaard's Thought. Leuven: Leuven University Press, Davenport, John J. MacIntyre, and Philip L. Chicago: Open Court, Dewey, Bradley R. Washington: Corpus Books, Deyton, C. Speaking of Love : Kierkegaard's Plan for Faith. Diem, Hermann.

Kierkegaard's Dialectic of Existence. Westport, Conn. Dooley, Mark. New York: Fordham University Press, Downing, Eric. Duncan, Elmer H. Waco, Tex. Dunning, Stephen M. Carlisle, Cumbria: Waynesboro GA, Dunning, Stephen N. Princeton, N. Kierkegaard as Theologian; the Dialectic of Christian Existence. New York: Sheed and Ward, Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, Eller, Vernard.

Grand Rapids: Mich. Kierkegaard and Radical Discipleship, a New Perspective. Princeton: N. Princeton University Press, Elrod, John W. Kierkegaard and Christendom. Being and Existence in Kierkegaard's Pseudonymous Works. Emmanuel, Steven M. Kierkegaard and the Concept of Revelation. Eriksen, Niels Nymann. Kierkegaard's Category of Repetition : A Reconstruction. Evans, C. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, Grand Rapids: Christian University Press, Evans, Calvin D.

Montreal: McGill University Libraries, Evans, Jan E. Some of Kierkegaard's Main Categories. Fendt, Gene. Is Hamlet a Religious Drama? For What May I Hope? New York: P. Lang, Works of Love? Potomac, Md. Fenger, Henning. New Haven: Yale University Press, Fenves, Peter D.

Stanford, Calif. Ferguson, Harvie. Ferreira, M. Oxford: New York, Oxford Clarendon Press: New York, Finn, Mary E. Writing the Incommensurable : Kierkegaard, Rossetti, and Hopkins. University Park, Pa. Fletcher, David Bruce. Washington, D. Furtak, Rick Anthony. Garelick, Herbert M.

The life and thought of Kierkegaard for everyman

The Hague: M. Nijhoff, Garff, Joakim. Gates, John A. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, Gates, John Alexander. The Life and Thought of Kierkegaard for Everyman. Gellman, Jerome I. George, Arapura Ghevarghese. New York: Asia Pub. House, Giles, James. Kierkegaard and Freedom. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: New York, Green, Ronald Michael. Kierkegaard and Kant : The Hidden Debt. Cardiff: Wales U. Guignon, Charles B. Gurney, John. Salzburg: Portland, Hale, Geoffrey A. Kierkegaard and the Ends of Language. Hall, Ronald L. Hampson, Margaret Daphne.

Cambridge, U. Hannay, Alastair, and Gordon Daniel Marino. The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. Harder, Joseph David. Harper, Ralph. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, Harris, Edward. Uppsala Academia Ubsaliensis: Stockholm Sweden, Harrison, Paul R. Hartshorne, M. New York: Columbia University Press, Heinecken, Martin J. The Moment before God, an Interpretation of Kierkegaard. Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, Heiss, Robert. New York: Dell Pub. Henriksen, Jan-Olav. Hopland, Karstein. Houe, Poul, and Gordon Daniel Marino.

Reitzel, Amsterdam: Atlanta GA, Hubben, William. New York: Collier Books, Hunsinger, George. Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and the Concept of Death. Stanford: Calif. Jaspers, Karl. Reason and Existenz : Five Lectures. Billeskov Jansen. Billeskov Jansen New York: Harper, Johnson, Ralph Henry. The Hague: Nijhoff, Kellenberger, James. Kierkegaard and Nietzsche : Faith and Eternal Acceptance.

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New York: St. Martin's Press, Kern, Edith. Khan, Abrahim H. Salighed as Happiness? Waterloo, Ont. If he cared for Regine, as many believe Kierkegaard did, his need to avoid a relationship is not easily understood by most people. Intellectually brilliant, yet emotionally unwilling to deal with ties to others, Kierkegaard wanted to be alone and isolated from much of society. Nothing would tie him to society more than marriage. During his engagement to Regine Olsen, Kierkegaard was beginning to refine his writing style. While many individuals might have been distracted during the engagement and associated emotional strains, Kierkegaard buried himself in his words.

The writing style was like nothing the professors had read before; some were less than impressed while others were stunned. The writing was as complex and convoluted as the author himself. Although the university awarded the degree to Kierkegaard, records indicate it was not an easy decision for the professors accustomed to more traditional works. Kierkegaard had spent the year pondering what career would best suit him, while honoring his family.

He was free to do as he wanted — and he wanted to think and write. After determining his career would be that of a gentleman thinker, Kierkegaard decided he had to better understand the popular thinkers of his day. The center of philosophy during the nineteenth century was Germany; in , Kierkegaard left Copenhagen for Berlin.

Schelling contended that Hegel had attempted to reduce the concrete to a never-ending series of concepts. As a result, Hegel had failed to distinguish between essence and existence. Kierkegaard decided to return to Copenhagen and record his own view of existence. Kierkegaard would not travel far again, remaining close to home after his aborted studies in Germany. The work was a massive undertaking, covering philosophy, literature, and psychology. The work was published in two volumes at the beginning of Within months, Kierkegaard published Repetition and then Fear and Trembling. This period of productivity extended several years.

Concluding Unscientific Postscript was published in In addition to these works, Kierkegaard published eighteen Edifying Discourses , a set of religious writings. Kierkegaard also endeavored to reveal other character flaws of his critic. Among the general population, the newspaper had great influence — much as do modern tabloids. Kierkegaard found himself publicly humiliated; he could go nowhere in Copenhagen without being insulted. Even the butcher's boy almost thinks himself justified in being offensive to me at the behest of The Corsair The least thing I do, even if I simply pay a visit, is lyingly distorted and repeated everywhere; if The Corsair gets to know of it then it is printed and is read by the whole population.

A demoralized Kierkegaard complained he should only associate with those he disliked, since he wanted no others to endure the agony he felt. Kierkegaard's desire for solitude was undoubtedly increased by this experience. Not only had he made a stand against the threat posed by a certain kind of prying journalism; he had been prepared to undergo the consequences of doing so in his own person.

Furthermore, he had been made aware at first hand of the cowardice with which people were ready to submit to the majority opinion and the lack of respect for the integrity of the individual was the corollary of this. Challenging a popular journal and public opinion, Kierkegaard found how much power he derived from his self -- the "self" was superior to the group.

In terms of "existentialism," this was possibly the most important event in the movement's history. As Nietzsche was only a year old in , it is reasonable to state Kierkegaard was the first "existentialist" when he formalized the view free will was certain to cause anxiety, yet one must accept the consequences of this freedom.

Kierkegaard's contemporary, Fyodor Dostoevsky , was approaching a very similar conclusion, causing many to consider Dostoevsky an existentialist. These men shared a sense of alienation from society; Kierkegaard through public opinion while Dostoevsky was literally imprisoned and exiled. After The Corsair affair, Kierkegaard determined his role was that of religious educator for society at large.

Kierkegaard decided he would use his skills as a writer to defend Christianity and Christian morality. So, while he had decided six years earlier to forego a formal role in the church, Kierkegaard settled upon defending its religion. From to , Kierkegaard published a series of works examining what it meant to be a Christian and follow the teachings of Jesus.

These works compared what the New Testaments stated and how Christians actually lived. Kierkegaard believed the practices of the church and its members fell far short of "Christian" ideals. Training in Christianity , published in , is a summation of Kierkegaard's interpretation of what it means to follow the teachings of the Bible; the book does not impress the clergy. For several years after the publication of Training in Christianity , Kierkegaard did not publish many works. Many biographers and critics consider the period from through a "calm before the storm" in Kierkegaard's life.

He spent these years relaxing, enjoying his inheritance. He would take rides in the country and have fine foods delivered to his apartment. It seemed he was content. Apparently, Kierkegaard merely needed a catalyst to return him to writing. In , Danish religious leader Bishop Mynster died. Mynster was succeeded by Hans Martensen, who assumed the role of the ranking religious leader in Copenhagen.

Martensen had been a university tutor to Kierkegaard and Kierkegaard thought well of his mentor -- at least he did until Mynster's funeral service. During the eulogy, Martensen referred to Mynster as "a witness to the Truth. Kierkegaard considered the deceased Bishop far from the ideal Christian. Despite the obvious irony of judging a dead man in the name of Christianity, Kierkegaard felt compelled to correct his former tutor publically. In December , Kierkegaard published an article critical of Martensen for speaking highly of Mynster.

The article was more than an attack upon Martensen -- Kierkegaard lashed out at the church and all its power. Kierkegaard challenged the church with all his wit -- and his money.

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The writer established a journal, The Instant , which he used to criticize the church. Kierkegaard charged the church with becoming a secular institution, more interested in power and political intrigues than the teachings of Jesus. He used his periodical to wage a war of words against the church's apparent desire to collect material wealth and political influence.

Kierkegaard would fight the church until his death. Throughout the debate, Kierkegaard did not wish to destroy the church or anyone's faith; Kierkegaard wanted the church to simplify and emulate the teachings and life of Jesus. According to Kierkegaard, it was odd priests would take vows of poverty yet live in the best buildings in town.

The war to reform the church was short and without victory.

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Journals and Papers , trans. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. During , he published two , three , and four more upbuilding discourses just as he did in , but here he discussed how an individual might come to know God. Neither does it even want to be the paradox for the believer, and then surreptitiously, little by little, provide him with understanding, because the martyrdom of faith to crucify one's understanding is not a martyrdom of the moment, but the martyrdom of continuance. He uses the same text he used earlier in Three Upbuilding Discourses, Love hides a multitude of sins. Kierkegaard does not deny the fruitfulness or validity of abstract thinking science, logic, and so on , but he does deny any superstition which pretends that abstract theorizing is a sufficient concluding argument for human existence. Kierkegaard's father's name was Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard.

In early October , Kierkegaard collapsed while taking a walk. He died a few weeks later, on 11 November During the service, Peter dismissed his brother as "confused" during his final days. In fact, it is likely that Kierkegaard was more certain than ever of his meaning and his works. After my death no one will find among my papers a single explanation as to what really filled my life that is my consolation ; no one will find the words which explain everything and which often made what the world would call a trifle into an event of tremendous importance to me, and what I look upon as something insignificant when I take away the secret gloss which explains it all.

It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived—forwards. The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible, precisely because at no moment can I find complete quiet to take the backward- looking position.

There is no evidence Nietzsche read Kierkegaard's works, either. Kierkegaard stood very much apart from the other fathers of existentialism, until Karl Jaspers linked Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to form what would be called "existentialism. Often compared to Dostoevsky, who was a literary revolutionary, Kierkegaard differs via his choice of narrators.

Kierkegaard's narrators mirror his own beliefs; Dostoevsky dares to use characters in direct opposition to his own ideals. While Kierkegaard's literary style was experimental, even to the extent it startled his professors, the words of his narrators were still traditional. Kierkegaard's writings are a call for Christian morality; a defense of faith and religion.

While a reader must separate Dostoevsky from his most intriguing characters, Kierkegaard's beliefs are always the primary focus of his works, regardless of the name on the book's cover. Writes critic and biographer Walter Kaufmann:. If it is the besetting fault of Dostoevsky criticism that the views and arguments of some of his characters are ascribed, without justification, to the author, the characteristic flaw of the growing literature on Kierkegaard is that the author is forgotten altogether and his works are read impersonally as one might read those of Hegel.

Nothing could be less in keeping with the author's own intentions. The proceeding statement might seem rather bold, but judging by his behavior, Kierkegaard was not a stable man. Many philosophers cite the effect of Kierkegaard's writings on their own ideas and theories. Since he often contradicted himself, it should be no shock that almost any school of thought can find something to like about Kierkegaard.

At times religious, other times dedicated to an egocentric individualism, Kierkegaard was not always sure of his own beliefs. Beyond his emotional state, Kierkegaard was "multiple personalities" via a number of pseudonyms. Kierkegaard claimed this was to protect his secret. Oddly, whatever the secret might have been is never revealed. Kierkegaard wrote that it was important to keep everyone at a distance, so he could better write in isolation, guarding his secret.

Kierkegaard believed in a Creator, and in Christianity. However, he recognized that he was faithful by choice, not out of logic. The Existential aspect of this is the anguish caused by two aspects of Christianity: 1 You do not really meet the Creator until death yet suicide is not an option or everyone would try it. Consider the following paradox from Kierkegaard's notes: Adam probably never thought about eating the fruit of knowledge until he was prohibited from doing so.

At the moment Adam was commanded not to eat the fruit, he realized he could eat the fruit and it might even be worth eating. The Creator, knowing human nature so well, must have known temptation was a strong force. Why then did the Creator give man a test Adam was almost certain to fail? Was Adam meant to fail to allow human development? Existentialism is, in large part, the idea that life is a series of usually poor alternatives.

Even a "good" decision has negative aspects. Adam realized not eating the fruit of knowledge would keep him from being more like the Creator, who possessed knowledge. Eating the fruit was certain to anger the Creator. Adam made a choice -- regardless of any external force, the choice was really his and his alone. Adam could have refused Eve and the serpent had he wanted. We always have choices, no matter what we might use as an excuse. One of Kierkegaard's major contributions to philosophy was his theory that life was experienced in three distinct stages, with the caveat that not everyone would experience every stage.

In effect, there stages were a system maturity model, reflecting the mental and spiritual growth of individuals. These stages are: aesthetic, ethical, and religious.

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Simplified, these are the pursuit of pleasure, the assumption of duty to society, and the obedience to a Creator. Aesthetic individuals are concerned with only experiences or abstract data. The aesthetics of experience include Hedonism, Materialism, and other life approaches dedicated to pleasure or personal gratification. These individuals think life is to be enjoyed and experienced in the here and now, without regard to long-term consequences.

Often, these individuals seek sexual pleasures or artificial stimuli such as narcotics. The aesthetic interested in abstract data is a Rationalist or Relativist, not wanting to make difficult choices. For these individuals, everything is relative to the individual, without greater meaning.

The abstract intellectual observes the world in a detached and objective manner, as if what has happened in the past does not affect the present. Aesthetic life eventually becomes a source of boredom. For the Hedonist, there are only so many experiences, and each must be better than the last. For the intellectual, once all is abstracted into nothingness, there is no reason to go on living. If everything just is, without purpose or relation, then despair takes hold.

Ethical individuals recognize the despair of aesthetics, and are compelled to find greater meaning in life. Ethical individuals develop a system by which they will make choices and build relationships. The act of making decisions and developing and ethical system brings one closer to self-awareness.

This process is similar to phenomenological reduction, in that learning about others and what they think helps one learn about the self, the ego. Religious individuals experience both suffering and faith. Only at this level does one truly understand the self. According to Kierkegaard, the despair leading individuals from one stage to another was the despair of sin. Sin is this: before God, or with the conception of God, to be in despair at not willing to be oneself, or in despair at willing to be oneself.

Thus sin is potential weakness or potential defiance: sin is the potentiation of despair. Faith, spirituality, is expressed via authenticity and integrity. When one admits to all that he or she thinks, expresses, or does, the individual is spiritual. This openness can be compared to St. Augustine's Confessions ; admissions free one of guilt and despair. At all times, Kierkegaard remained focused upon his religious beliefs.

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While some might consider this illogical, clouding his thought, Kierkegaard openly admitted that religion was illogical, and in fact a paradox was the center of his faith. This paradox was the Christ. He offers the state of nature as a depiction of the reality that nature actually gives us.

Take away our law and social convention, and we will fall into the state of nature. Even in our state of civilization, we carry with us reminders of the consequences of natural liberty;. Another depiction of this story of unrestricted human desire is found in Plato's Republic in the Ring of Gyges myth. Another important element in this story is general principle of human psychology. This is the principle of self-preservation. Human beings perhaps all animals and living things seek to preserve themselves against harm and death.

Self-preservation is a value that we all have in common and it leads to a very important point in Hobbes' investigation: the basis for group cooperation. Suppose that someone is strong enough to harm us at their pleasure. The rational thing to do is to form an agreement with others to protect against that person or get rid of them. There is strength in numbers. But, if we can band together for mutual protection from an individual, then we can also agree upon common rules that mutually protect us from each other.