Soren Kierkegaard 1813-1855, by Craig Campbell

Soren Kierkegaard wrote books for philosophers as well as for the normal Christian reader or any individual interested enough to read his books. Here’s a short excerpt from a book he published in 1850.

It’s best to read primary sources for yourself. Here are some books written by Soren Kierkegaard. The rest of the pages of this website has some Kierkegaard quotes, some works by Kierkegaard researchers, and links to authors contemporary with Kierkegaard.


I think many philosophers were influenced by Nicholas of Cusa’s 1453 book

The Vision of God                The Vision of God 1646 translation



And some philosophers were influenced by Jacob Boehme’s 1624  book

Conversation Between an Enlightened and an Unenlightened Soul


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz wrote out a good discussion of faith with reason in 1710

Theodicy


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(SK) Concept of Irony 1841

‘What strange people you are, Socrates and Protagoras.’


Johannes Climacus or de omnibus dubitandum est

As regards his reading, JC found himself in a curious dilemma. The modern philosophical works he knew did not satisfy him, but he had not the effrontery to put the blame for this on to the writings themselves. Outstanding works he did not venture to read. So he read less and less, and followed his inclination to muse in solitude.


Rotation of Crops (From Either/Or)

The rotation of crops is the vulgar, inartistic rotation and is based on an illusion. One is weary of living in the country and moves to the city; one is weary of one’s native land and goes abroad; one is weary of Europe and goes to .America etc.; one indulges in the fanatical hope of and endless journey from star to star.


(SK) Either-Or Volume 2 1843, Lowrie translation (and Ultimatum)

Ah! you are indeed a strange being, at one; moment a child, at another an old man, at one moment you are thinking with prodigious seriousness about the loftiest scientific problems, proposing to sacrifice your life to them, the next moment you are an amorous fool; From marriage, however, you are a long way off, and I hope that your good genius will keep you from getting into bad ways, for sometimes I sense in you a trace of wanting to play at being a little Zeus .

At one moment you are solely possessed by an enthusiasm for “the first.” You are so impregnated by the energetic concentration implied in this thought that it is the only thing you wish for.


(SK) Ultimatum from Either/Or 1843 Lowrie translation

Doubt is again stirred up, concern is again aroused; so let us strive to set them at rest by meditating upon The Edification Implied In The Thought That As Against God We Are Always In The Wrong.


(SK) Edifying Discourses 1843-1855 Swenson

When the thunder clouds of affliction began to gather and to threaten with their terror, when the soul would fail from fear and anxious expectation, then I think, if we dare to speak thus, that Paul took out his measuring stick, measured with it, and lo, the affliction was brief and light. When the community went astray, when false doctrines and human instability drifted about it so that the way of truth became impassable, and there was no goal, then was heaven his goal.


(SK) Fear and Trembling 1843

By faith Abraham went out from the land of his fathers and became a sojourner in the land of promise. He left one thing behind, took one thing with him: he left his earthly understanding behind and took faith with him — otherwise he would not have wandered forth but would have thought this unreasonable.


(SK) Sermon at Trinitatis Church Feb. 24, 1844 Croxall translation

In the Church which was founded at Corinth, St. Paul had special difficulties of the kind I have mentioned. In that flourishing commercial city, which through its shipping and situation, maintained a vital connexion between East and West, numerous crowds of people flocked together from all quarters, different in speech and in culture. As they mingled with the inhabitants, they produced, by contacts and contrasts, new and ever new differences.


(SK) Philosophical Fragments 1844, Swenson translation 1936

If I were a Plato in sentimental enthusiasm, and if my heart beat as violently as Alcibiades’ or more violently than that of the Corybantic mystic while listening to the words of Socrates; if the passion of my admiration knew no rest until I had clasped the wondrous master in my arms — Socrates would but smile at me and say: “My friend, how deceitful a lover you are! You wish to idolize me on account of my wisdom, and then to take your place as the friend who best understands me, from whose admiring embrace I shall never be able to tear myself free — is it not true that you are a seducer?”

Chapter 2: The God as Teacher and Saviour: An Essay of the Imagination


(SK) The Concept of Dread (Anxiety) 1844 Lowrie

Revelation may have already conquered, shut-upness ventures to employ its last expedient and is cunning enough to transform revelation itself into a mystification, and shut-upness has won.


SK) Johannes Climacus 1842, 1844, 1846

His form must first and last be related to existence, and in this regard he must have at his disposal the poetic, the ethical, the dialectical, the religious. Compared with that of a poet, his form will be abbreviated; compared with that of an abstract dialectician, his form will be broad.


(SK) Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions (1845) Swenson Translation

Whoever says this stillness does not exist is only a noisemaker, for have you ever heard from one who came to an agreement with himself in stillness, that there is no stillness? You may indeed have heard pretentious words and vociferous speech and noisy bustle, all directed toward getting rid of this stillness, and instead of conscience and stillness and God’s voice of judgment in solitude, you may have got a natural echo from the crowd, a confused common outcry, a general opinion, which a man in cowardice fears to hold by himself alone.


(SK) Stages on Life’s Way 1845 (The Banquet)

How poor is language in comparison with that symphony of sounds unmeaning, yet how significant, whether of a battle or of a banquet, which even scenic representation cannot imitate and for which language has but a few words! How rich is language in the expression of the world of ideas, and how poor, when it is to describe reality!


(SK) Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments 1846 (excerpt) (link was removed

The Search for Being: Essays from Kierkegaard to Sartre on the Problem of Existence Translated and edited by Jean T. Wilde and William Kimmel 1962

Kierkegaard may well be regarded as the prototype of such an attitude, grounded in the wholeness of human existence, and thus as the “father” of modern “existentialism.”     The Existentialist Revolt; by Kurt Frank Reinhardt 1952


(SK) On the Dedication to “That Single Individual”

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”;


Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits (1847) The first part was Purity of Heart.

(SK) Purity of Heart Is To Will One Thing (1847) Douglas Steere Translation

Have you made up your own mind that your occupation is your real calling so that you do not have to make explanation hinge on the result, maintaining that it was not your real calling if the results are not favorable, if your efforts do not succeed? Alas, such fickleness weakens a man immeasurably. Therefore persevere. By God’s help and by your own faithfulness something good will come from the unpromising beginning.


A useless and perhaps futile conflict goes on often enough in the world, when the poor person says to the wealthy person, “Sure, it’s easy for you – you are free from worry about making a living.” Would to God that the poor person would really understand how the Gospel is much more kindly disposed to him, is treating him equally and more lovingly. Truly, the Gospel does not let itself be deceived into taking sides with anyone against someone else, with someone who is wealthy against someone who is poor, or with someone who is poor against someone who is wealthy. Among individuals in the world, the conflict of disconnected comparison is frequently carried on about dependence and independence, about the happiness of being independent and the difficulty of being dependent. And yet, yet human language has not ever, and thought has not ever, invented a more beautiful symbol of independence than the poor bird of the air. And yet, yet no speech can be more curious than to say that it must be very bad and very heavy to be – light as the bird! To be dependent on one’s treasure – that is dependence and hard and heavy slavery; to be dependent on God, completely dependent – that is independence.

Søren Kierkegaard, 1847 Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, Hong p. 180-181

The Glory of our Common Humanity

In the petty disquiet of the comparisons, the worldly concern always seeks to lead a man away from the elevated calm of simple thoughts.


Works of Love 1847 Swenson translation 1949

The primitiveness of faith is related to the beginning of Christianity. Extravagant descriptions of heathendom, its errors, its characteristics, are by no means needed; the signs of the Christlike are contained in Christianity itself. Make an experiment; forget for a moment Christian love, consider what you know about the other love, recall what you read in the poets, what you yourself can discover, and then say whether it ever occurred to you to conceive this: Thou shalt love.


(SK) The Point of View of My Work as an Author 1848, Lowrie translation 1962

In ’48 the strands of the web of worldly wisdom broke. The shrill rasping note which announces chaos became audible ‘This was the year ’48, it stood for progress.’ Yes … if only a ‘government’ is consolidated. For that, perhaps, not a single new official is necessary, nor the discharge of any old one, but perhaps an inward transformation which would consolidate the state in the fear of God.

The fault from above was clearly this, that throughout the government, taken as a whole, from top to bottom, the strength relied upon was essentially worldly shrewdness, which essentially is nothing more than lack of strength. The fault from below was that they wanted to get rid of government, that is to say, of punishment. But the punishment fits the crime, and the punishment now is that the want most bitterly felt at this time is simply the want of a government.

Never as in our century was the race and the individual within it (the ruler and the ruled, the superior and the inferior, the teacher and the taught, &c.) so emancipated from all restraint (so to call it) due to the idea that there is something which unconditionally stands fast. Never has the race and the individual within it discovered so deeply that the race itself and every individual within it needs and craves to have something which unconditionally stands fast.

Never have ‘opinions’ (the most heterogeneous, in the most various fields) felt themselves, under ‘Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity’, so free, so unhampered, so fortunate, with the rule of go as you please which is expressed in the motto, ‘up to a certain point’. Never will the race and the individual within it discover so deeply that it and every individual within it needs and craves to have something which stands and shall stand unconditionally fast, craves for that which the loving Godhead in love discovered, namely, the unconditional; in the place of which man, who is shrewd to his own undoing, in admiration for himself, posited this admired maxim, ‘up to a certain point’,

Require the navigator to sail without ballast — he capsizes. Let me race, let each individual, make the experiment of doing without the unconditional-it is a whirlpool and remains such. In the meanwhile, for a longer or a shorter period, it may seem otherwise, it may seem like stability and security. But at bottom it is and remains a whirlpool. Even the greatest events and the most laborious lives are whirlpools, or they are like sewing without knotting the thread — until the end is once again made fast by the fact that the unconditional is brought to bear, or that the individual, however remotely, comes to relate himself to the unconditional.

To live in the unconditional, inhaling only the unconditional, is impossible to man; he perishes, like the fish forced to live in the air. But on the other hand, without relating himself to the unconditional, man cannot in the deepest sense be said to ‘live’. He gives up the ghost — that is, he may continue perhaps to live, but spiritlessly. To stick to my subject, the religious, I say that the race, or a considerable number of the individuals within the race, have outgrown the childish notion that another person can represent the unconditional for them and in their stead. Very well; but for all that, the unconditional does not cease to be necessary.

Rather it is the more necessary the more the individual outgrows childish dependence upon other men. Hence ‘the individual’ himself must relate himself to the unconditional. This is what I, in proportion to the talents granted to me, with the utmost expenditure of effort, and with many sacrifices, have consistently fought for, fighting against every tyranny, including that of the numerical. This effort of mine has been interpreted as hatred, as monstrous pride and arrogance — I believed and still believe that this is Christianity and love for one’s ‘neighbour’.

The Point Of View For My Work As An Author by Soren Kierkegaard Published 1962 p. 157-158


The Sickness Unto Death 1849

That there is an infinite difference of quality between God and man is the possibility of offense which cannot be taken away. Out of love God becomes man; He says, “Look what it is to be a man”; but He adds, “O take heed, for at the same time I am God — blessed is he who shall not be offended in me. As man He assumes the lowly form of a servant. He expresses what it is to be a lowly man, to the intent that no one shall think himself excluded, or think that it is human prestige or prestige among men which brings one nearer to God. No, he is the lowly man. “Look hither,” He says, “and learn what it is to be a man; O but take heed, for at the same time I am God — blessed is he who shall not be offended in me.”

(SK) The Sickness Unto Death 1849, Lowrie 1941


(SK) Training in Christianity 1850, Lowrie translation 1944 (link removed)

And the philosopher might say. — ‘Such dreadful, or, rather, insane vanity. For an individual man to want to be God is something hitherto unheard of. Never before has there been seen such an example of pure subjectivity and sheer negation carried to the utmost excess. He has no doctrine, no system, no fundamental knowledge; it is merely by detached aphoristic utterances, some bits of sententious wisdom, constantly repeated with variations, that He succeeds in dazzling the masses, for whom also He performs signs and wonders, so that they, instead of learning something and receiving instruction, come to believe in Him, who continues in the most odious manner possible to force his subjectivity upon people.’


Preparation for a Christian Life (Practice in Christianity 1850)

Com hither!  The invitation stands at the parting of paths, where the road of sin turns away, to ender more deeply into sin.

Do not despair over every relapse which the God of patience has patience enough to pardon, and which a sinner should surely have patience enough to humble himself under.

Can one prove from history that Christ is God?

“History” stays faith “has nothing to do with Christ.”

He who invites is, then Jesus Christ in his abasement. “Blessed is he  whosoever shall not be offended in me”


(SK) The Unchangeableness of God (excerpt) 1855

how terrifying that God is unchangeable, everlastingly, eternally, unchangeable!


(SK) Kierkegaard’s attack upon “Christendom,” 1854-185, Lowrie translation

The knavish trick of “Christendom” is to take the gift and say good-day to the obligation, to want to be heir to the gift, but without assuming the obligation, to want to make it appear that mankind is indeed the heir, whereas the truth is that only by performing the obligation is mankind, or rather (for precisely because it is an obligation, such an abstraction as mankind can only in an extremely figurative sense be called the heir) I would say that every single individual of mankind is the heir.


(SK) Selections from the writings of Kierkegaard  Hollander, 1923

Come hither all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  What enormous multiplicity, what an almost boundless  diversity, of people invited; for a man, a lowly man, may,  indeed, try to enumerate only a few of these diversities — but he who invites must invite all men, even if every one specially and individually. The invitation goes forth, then — along the highways and the byways, and along the loneliest paths; aye, goes forth where there is a path so lonely that one man only, and no one else, knows of it …


The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche by H. L. Mencken 1913

Friedrich Nietzsche was a preacher’s son, brought up in the fear of the Lord. It is the ideal training for sham -smashers and freethinkers. Let a boy of alert, restless intelligence come to early manhood in an atmosphere of strong faith, wherein doubts are blasphemies and inquiry is a crime, and rebellion is certain to appear
with his beard.

Kierkegaard Selected and Introduced  by W.H. Auden 1955 (many quotes)

He is God, but chooses to become the individual man. This, as we have seen, is the profoundest incognito, or the most impenetrable unrecognizableness that is possible; for the contradiction between being God and being an individual man  is the greatest possible, the infinite qualitative contradiction. But this is His will, His free determination, therefore an almightily maintained incognito.


A Short Life of Kierkegaard, Lowrie 1944

This book is barely a quarter the size of the Kierkegaard which was published by the Oxford University Press in 1938.

both for his own importance and for the role he played in S.K.’s life, is J. L. Heiberg, playwright, professor in the university, editor of an important review, enough of a philosopher to unite with Martensen in making the philosophy of Hegel the vogue m Denmark, and above all the acknowledged literary arbiter of Copenhagen.


Kierkegaard’s Philosophy Of Religion by Reidar Thomte 1948

In the day of Soren Kierkegaard, Hegelianism was the ruling philosophy in Germany as well as in Denmark. Hegel views nature as a system of stages of which one necessarily rises out of the other, but not in such a way that one stage is caused by the other. He regards it as a faulty conception of other philosophies to look upon evolution as a process brought about by external forces or circumstances. It is the self-activity of the immanent idea which is the foundation of nature. Hence metamorphosis can only happen to the idea itself. All development therefore is a change in thought. A contemporary of Hegel, the German theologian Friederich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), emphasizes the element of feeling in religion.


A Kierkegaard Anthology 1962 Bretall

The selections in this book have been chosen, first, with a view to the only kind of reading which the editor of an anthology has any right to expect, but secondly, in the hope that possibly a few persons may read it through from beginning to end. So read, it gives a picture of Kierkegaard’s intellectual and spiritual development from the age of twenty-one (the date of the first passage from the Journals) until his death a little over twenty years later. This picture is traced by the hand of S. K. himself in the excerpts taken from his various works and arranged (with one or two exceptions) in chronological order.


The Significance of Suffering in Kierkegaard

Robert L. Faulkner 1965

Soren Kierkegaard holds a unique place as a father of modern thought for at least three separate disciplines. Although Kierkegaard would not have permitted himself to be called a theologian, contemporary theology must look back to him as one of its chief sources. It would be difficult to conceive of any of the existentialist theologians or even a Barth, a Brunner, or a Franz Kafka without the works of Kierkegaard.

As different as Jaspers, Heidegger, and especially Sartre may be from these theologians, they also have a debt to Kierkegaard as founder and source of the existentialist movement in philosophy.

Thirdly, the existentialist schools of psychotherapy are often referred to as being neo-Freudian. However, a careful study of some of these schools would indicate that they have not so much revised Freud as they have systematized and applied Kierkegaard.


Albert Camus 1913-1960, The Myth of Sisyphus

What is perceptible in Leo Chestov will be perhaps even more so in Kierkegaard. To be sure, it is hard to outline clear propositions in so elusive a writer. But, despite apparently opposed writings, beyond the pseudonyms, the tricks, and the smiles, can be felt through-out that work, as it were, the presentiment (at the same time as the apprehension) of a truth which eventually bursts forth in the last works: Kierkegaard likewise takes the leap. His childhood having been so frightened by Christianity, he ultimately returns to its harshest aspect.

For him, too, antinomy and paradox become criteria of the religious. Thus, the very thing that led to despair of the meaning and depth of this life now gives it its truth and its clarity. Christianity is the scandal, and what Kierkegaard calls for quite plainly is the third sacrifice required by Ignatius Loyola, the one in which God most rejoices: “The sacrifice of the intellect .”


The Philosophy Of Karl Jaspers (1883–1969) 1957 p. 144-145

This break with the scientific claim took place in Kierkegaard. He blasted the concept of philosophy as a rigidly organized discipline as perhaps no one before him; but, in the final analysis, not against philosophy, but in its behalf. For philosophy experienced, in Kierkegaard, an equally unique enrichment. What Plato had accomplished for objective consciousness with the concept of the Idea, Kierkegaard did for subjectivity with his concept of Existent.

Against the decline of the inwardness, — once so characteristic of the Christian relationship to God and of Christianity’s concept of the human soul, but now disintegrating into psychological, sociological and metaphysical fragments, — he set his own ‘existential’ thinking. Although Kierkegaard still regarded it as Christian, this kind of thinking is actually a form of philosophizing and, as such, separable from Christianity.

Soren Kierkegaard saint

Father in Heaven! You have loved us first, help us never to forget that You are love so that this sure conviction might triumph in our hearts over the seduction of the world, over the inquietude of the soul, over the anxiety for the future, over the fright of the past, over the distress of the moment. But grant also that this conviction might discipline our souls so that our hearts might remain faithful and sincere in the love which we bear to all those whom You have commanded us to love as we love ourselves.

—Søren Kierkegaard, The Prayers of Kierkegaard

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The Age of Enlightenment

Self-accusation is the possibility of justification. The tax collector accused himself. There was no one else who accused him. It was not civic justice that seized him by the chest and said, “You are a criminal”: it was not the people whom he perhaps cheated who beat him on the breast and said, “You are a cheater” – but he beat his own breast and said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner. He accused himself, that he was a sinner before God.

Soren Kierkegaard, Three Discourses at Friday Communion November 14, 1849 Hong translation 1997 P. 132

vinet, kierkegaard, and martensen


From Ansgar to Kierkegaard 865-1855

The propagator of Christianity in Denmark was Ansgar (801-865). Others aided him, but he did so much alone as to entitle himself to the name of the Apostle of Scandinavia.


Alexander Vinet and Soren Kierkegaard by Martensen

As with Vinet, the contrast between individualism and socialism also with Kierkegaard goes back to a higher, — namely, the contrast between individualism and universalism.


How do I become a Christian?

I would very likely be unable to resist the temptation to write as soon as possible an exceedingly important book that speaks in the name of millions and millions and millions and billions.


The Vision by Lucian of Samosata 125-200 AD

Dear youth, I am Statuary—the art which you yesterday began to learn, and which has a natural and a family claim upon you. ‘And I, child, am Culture, Be governed by me, on the other hand, and your first reward shall be a view of the many wondrous deeds and doings of the men of old; you shall hear their words and know them all, what manner of men they were; and your soul, which is your very self, I will adorn with many fair adornments …


Epictetus 55-135 AD

WHAT PHILOSOPHY PROMISES.—When a man was consulting him how he should persuade his brother to cease being angry with him, Epictetus replied: Philosophy does not propose to secure for a man any external thing.


Peter Lombard 1096-1160 (Sentences: Book 4)

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) once complained that there were as many commentaries on Peter Lombard’s “Sentences” as there were theologians. In the works of St. Augustine, we find the first attempt at a definition of sacrament. A sacrament is a “sacred sign,” or “signs, when they pertain to divine things, are called Sacraments.” (De Civitate Dei. X. c. 5.).

A sacrament bears a resemblance to the thing, of which it is a sign.


thoughts swenson


Elements of Natural Philosophy, by John Locke 1632-1704


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz on the Universal Spirit 1702


Immanuel Kant on Spirit-seers 1766


Anthropology by Immanuel Kant 1798


The Declaration of the Rights of Man 1789, 1791


On the Admission of Women to the Rights of Citizenship 1790


Johann Fichte’s Sun-Clear Statement 1801


Johann Fichte on Seyn and Daseyn 1806


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770-1831


Georg Hegel    The Contrite Consciousness 1807


Georg Hegel on      The Absolute Religion 1807


 


Goethe on the Bible 1832


Philosophy of Revelation, Schelling 1841


Orestes Augustus Brownson 1803-1876


August Comte: The Influence of Positivism upon Women 1848


sk kant, fichte, goethe, hegel



Logic and human reasoning are inadequate to comprehend truth, and in this emphasis Dostoevsky speaks entirely the language of Kierkegaard, of whom he had never heard. Christianity is a way of life, an existential condition. Again, like Kierkegaard, who affirmed that suffering is the climate in which man’s soul begins to breathe. Dostoevsky stresses the function of suffering as part of God’s revelation of truth to man.

Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka by William Hubben 1952 McMillan p. 83

I have never definitely broken with Christianity nor renounced it. To attack it has never been my thought. No, from the time when there could be any question of the employment of my powers, I was firmly determined to employ them all to defend Christianity, or in any case to present it in its true form.

The Point of View for My Work as An Author, Soren Kierkegaard, translated by Walter Lowrie 1939, 1962 P. 77


Søren Aabye Kierkegaard 5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855

University of Copenhagen 1830-1841
Thesis: On the Concept of Irony with constant Reference to Socrates. September 29, 1841 by Kierkegaard


Kierkegaard’s signed and pseudonymous writings


Either — Or.  A Fragment of Life. A and B February 20, 1843 (Two Volumes) Published by Victor Eremita
Two Upbuilding Discourses May 16, 1843 by Kierkegaard
Fear and Trembling  Dialectical Lyric October 16, 1843 by Johannes de Silentio
Repetition.  An Essay in experimenting Psychology  October 16, 1843 by Constantin Constantius
Three Upbuilding Discourses. October 16, 1843 by Kierkegaard
Four Upbuilding Discourses December 6, 1843 by Kierkegaard


Sermon at Trinitatis Church Feb. 24, 1844 by Kierkegaard


Two Upbuilding Discourses March 5, 1844 by Kierkegaard
Three Upbuilding Discourses June 8, 1844 by Kierkegaard
Philosophical Fragments  or A Fragment of Philosophy June 13, 1844 by Johannes Climacus
The Concept of Anxiety.  A simple psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin June 17, 1844 by Vigilius Haufniensis
Prefaces. Light reading for the different Classes at their Time and Leisure June 17, 1844 by Nicolas Notabene
Four Upbuilding Discourses August 31, 1844 by Kierkegaard


Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions April 29, 1845 by Kierkegaard
Stages on life’s way. Studies by various persons April 30, 1845 by Hilarius Bookbinder


Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments February 28, 1846 by Johannes Climacus
Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age: A Literary Review March 30, 1846 by Kierkegaard


Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits March 13, 1847             (Purity of Heart is Part 1 of this book)
The Works of Love. Some Christian Reflections in the form of Discourses September 29, 1847 by Kierkegaard


Christian Discourses  April 26, 1848 by Kierkegaard
The Crisis and A Crisis in the Life of an Actress 4 parts July 24-27 1848 by Inter et inter


The Lilies of the Field and the Birds of the Air.  Three devotional Discourses  May 14, 1849 by Kierkegaard
Two Ethical-Religious  Minor Essays May 19, 1849 by H.H.
The Sickness unto Death. A Christian psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening. July 30, 1849 by Anti-Climacus
“The High Priest” — “The Tax Collector” — “The Woman Who Was a Sinner,”  three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays. November 13, 1849 by Kierkegaard


Practice in Christianity September 25, 1850 by Anti-Climacus
An Upbuilding Discourse  The Woman Who Was a Sinner. Luke 7:37ff December 20, 1850 by Kierkegaard


Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays August 7, 1851 by Kierkegaard
About my Work as an Author August 7, 1851 by Kierkegaard
For Self-Examination Recommended to the Present Age. September 10, 1851 by Kierkegaard
Judge For Yourself! 1851, 1876 by Kierkegaard


Attack Upon Christianity, The Moment 1854-1855 by Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard and centurion

Kierkegaard’s view of the faith of the centurion

David Ferdinand Swenson, October 29,1876 – February 11,1940, is best known as the first of the translators of the works of Danish writer Soren Kierkegaard into the English Language. He was born in Kristinehamn, Sweden and moved to Minnesota with his parents in 1882, when he was 6 years old. He was educated in the public schools of Minneapolis and in 1894 entered the University of Minnesota. Upon graduation he was offered a position as assistant professor in the department of philosophy at that same university. By 1917 Swenson had progressed to the rank of full professor.

His interest in Kierkegaard began in 1901 when he was looking through the books in the city library and came across a thick book about the size of Kant’s ”Critique of Pure Reason” and decided to read it. The book was Soren Kierkegaard’s 1846 book ”Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments” in Danish.  Swenson enjoyed it so much that he  devoted the rest of his life to making Kierkegaard’s writings available to the English reading public. Most Kierkegaard scholars read Swenson’s translations before Howard V. and Edna H. Hong’s translated Kierkegaard again and started the Hong Kierkegaard Library.


Swenson taught a course on ”Great Thinkers of the Nineteenth Century” in 1914 and introduced Soren Kierkegaard to his audience. Later he contributed an article about Kierkegaard in 1916 to ”The Philosophical Review’‘ and a monograph about him for ‘‘Scandinavian Studies and Notes” in 1921.

Swenson’s translation of Kierkegaard’s ”Philosophical Fragments” in 1936 was reviewed by The International Journal of Ethics in 1937. The reviewer said Swenson “rendered the English-Speaking public a distinguished service” in translating the work.  Swenson’s translation of ”Either/Or” was reviewed in 1945 and his translation of ”Works of Love” was reviewed in 1947.


Swenson’s goal was to make the writings of Soren Kierkegaard known to the English reading public. He and his wife, Lillian Marvin Swenson, translated many of Kierkegaard’s works into English before David died in 1940.  Lillian continued David’s work with another Kierkegaard scholar, Walter Lowrie  until her death in 1961.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erikleo
    Dec 22, 2016 @ 14:25:47

    THere is a good MOOC coursera course with the title, Kierkegaard – Subjectivity and the Crisis of Modernity.

    Liked by 1 person

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Kierkegaard and Christianity

Søren Kierkegaard, Soren, Age of Enlightenment, Denmark, Christianity, Philosophy, Theology, Existentialism,

Søren Kierkegaard: A Christian Layman

Søren Kierkegaard was a Christian author who was against applying the ideas of the Scientific Enlightenment to Christianity. He lived in Denmark from 1813 to 1855. His works were written to the single individual who might be interested in reading them.

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