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Kierkegaard on the Christian response to the God who establishes kinship with us in time

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When reading through certain areas of Kierkegaard’s writings, there is room to misinterpret his vision of Christianity as being grounded solely in a person’s subjective commitment to her own idea of what Christianity is. In large part, this has contributed to the perception of Kierkegaard as an existentialist who disregards the objective reality of Christianity. In this essay, I contend that Kierkegaard understands the Christian faith as being grounded in a human response to the (mind-independent) reality of the living God who personally involves himself with persons, in history, and does so over against independent or predetermined human ideas of God. To do so, I begin with a close reading of Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, in which I focus on the ways that Kierkegaard’s pseudonym, Johannes Climacus, distinguishes Christianity from immanent forms of religiousness. Following a detailed exposition of Climacus’ argument, I then consider, albeit very briefly, two ways in which Kierkegaard employed this position in his own authorship, looking specifically at his understanding of sin-consciousness and repentance.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-83
Number of pages24
JournalModern Theology
Issue number1
Early online date17 Sep 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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