Re: [Kierkegaardian] Digest Number 97
- Beware, my b*tt. Don't be concerned that you'll get jumped on in this group- the truth is that there is precious little dialogue on this list, so please feel free to contribute. While it may well have been true that SK would have shied from a close association with existentialism or any other "ism", and while it is certainly true that Camus declined the association, the fact is that many have, and do, associate both with what they term existentialism. And the reason may be in the fluidity of the definition. I hold that there is no coherent school of thought that should be called "existentialism"; rather, there is an existential approach to thought. So one might rightly be called an existentialist Christian, for example, and the term would denote an approach to christian thought; but to say that one is a Christian existentialist, I suggest, conveys no meaning that I can understand.
There are 2 messages in this issue.
Topics in this digest:
1. new member
2. Re: new member
From: Mederic Laitier
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 20:29:54 -0000
Subject: new member
Hello, all. I am a huge fan of S.K. I have just started reading some
of his works. I really enjoyed his Sickness Unto Death. He did a
good job of explaining the aesthetical, ethical, and religious life.
The last paragraph in the section on the universality of despair was
so well-written. Early on in the book, his wording is a little
confusing, but everything comes together as he further reveals his
thoughts on despair. I am also reading The Plague by Camus...another
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 05:32:55 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mederic Laitier
Subject: Re: new member
Cheers New Member!
And be careful when using categories!
Existentialism had not been invented at the time of
Kierkegaard, as far as I know.
Rather sure he would not have enjoyed being
associated. with anyone actually; his thought being
As for Camus, he always claimed not to be, NOT TO BE
an existentialist; for existentialism in France during
the 50s meant Sartre, and they no longer really got on
too well at that time.
So beware, beware...
Never the less, If not yet read, Enten... Eller is
quite bit of a master piece (either/Or in english).
The Post Scriptum though remains the most significant
if any of his works may so be called.
Good Luck with Your kierkegaardian studies!
If looking for a bliliography:
S�ren Kierkegaard - Works
From the Papers of One Still Living, On Andersen as a
Novelist with Constant Reference to his Work, Only a
Fiddler, Published Against His Will (1837) Af en endnu
Levendes Papirer, Udgivet mod hans Villie
A review of Hans Christian Andersen's novel, Only a
Fiddler , published while Kierkegaard was a student.
The review attacks Hans for having no philosophy of
life and counters the Romantic concept that genius
must be nurtured with the assertion that each man must
find an idea to live or die for.
The Concept of Irony (1841) Om Bergrebet Ironi med
stagigt Hensyn til Socrates
Kierkegaard's dissertation that examines the figure of
Socrates, his use of irony and his contemporaries'
deficient views on the subject. The work highlights
the lack of irony in Hegel and uses it to show the
defects of the philosopher's thought. The work
explains that irony works to free man by negating
personal and cultural ideas through humor. Socrates
ironically claimed ignorance so his interlocutors
would explain their ideas about a subject. This
ironic, feigned ignorance enabled Socrates to point
out faults with the ideas, thereby freeing the
interlocutor from his defective concepts and
Public Confession (1842) Aabenbart Skriftemaal
An article where Kierkegaard denies the authorship of
several articles he wrote under pseudonyms,
complaining about the unmerited praise he received.
This sheds light on the origins of Kierkegaard's
dialectic use of pseudonyms.
Either/Or (1843) Enten/Eller
A two part work that contrasts the esthetic and
ethical views of life. The lengthy work features the
personal notes, essays and psychological experiments
in seduction of an aesthete and a series of letters
written by a judge to the aesthete extolling the
virtues of marriage and the ethical life. The
dialectic structure of the work offers no resolution,
or Hegelian 'synthesis,' for the two opposed views of
life and, in this way, functions as both a critique
and parody of the Hegelian philosophy.
Who is the Author of Either/Or? (1843) Hvo er
Forfatteren af Enten-Eller
An article written to create distance between the work
and its author by positing different theories about
who the author could be.
A Word of Thanks to Professor Heiberg (1843)
Taksigelse til Hr. Professor Heiberg
An article ironically praising Heiberg's review of
Either/Or while really attacking his misunderstanding
of the work as a curious literary fantasy without
realizing its greater dialectic depth.
A Little Explanation (1843) Et lille Ind�g
An article written to distance himself from the work
by asserting that there is really no similarity
between the sermon at the end of Either/Or and a
sermon Kierkegaard preached a short time earlier.
Johannes Climacus, or De omnibus dubitandum est. A
Narrative (1843 composed, published posthumously)
Johannes Climacus, eller De omnibus dubitandum est. En
A work that criticizes the Cartesian idea of beginning
with a doubt to obtain knowledge and the Hegelian
system of objective knowledge. The works asserts that
knowledge can only be subjective and is only possible
through faith in God. Precursor to Philosophical
Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript.
Fear and Trembling (1844) Frygt og Baeven
Uses the example of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac to
explore the 'teleological suspension of the ethical' -
the demand of absolute faith in God's command despite
its absurdity or immorality.
Repetition: An Essay in Experimental Psychology (1844)
Gjentagelsen: Et Fors�g I den experimenterende
Traces a correspondence between a bachelor and a young
man in love who is anxious about marriage because it
entails an ethical duty to one person (repetition).
The other option is recollection whereby the man
leaves his beloved and lives in the memory of their
love only poetically.
Philosophical Fragments (1844) Philosophiske Smuler
Details the necessary subjective element in acquiring
knowledge by exploring the doctrine of incarnation and
whether eternal happiness can be based on a historical
Concept of Anxiety (1844) Begrebet Angest
Explains that anxiety is a result of the freedom to
choose between good and evil. Original sin makes us
sinners, not because of Adam's choice, but because
each man eventually chooses sin when faced with the
same anxiety of freedom Adam confronted. Man loses his
freedom in sinfulness and his anxiety increases as he
becomes more aware of being trapped by his sinful
Prefaces: Light Reading for People in Various Estates
According to Time and Opportunity (1844) Forord.
Morskabsl�sning for enkelte St�nder efter Tid og
A series of 8 prefaces to imaginary works that
satirize the Copenhagen literati.
Stages on Life's Way (1845) Stadier paa Livets Vej
The sequel to Either/Or begins by revisiting the
esthetic sphere with a banquet (based on a Platonic
dialogue) featuring the seducer and a number of
pseudonyms and characters from Kierkegaard's other
works. The second part revisits the ethical sphere
with a lengthy essay by Judge William praising
marriage as the fulfillment of human life and erotic
love. The third part lays out the religious sphere
with a series of imaginary journal entries about a man
in love who is torn over his commitment to his
beloved. The religious sphere is a passionate forward
looking commitment to the eternal (God) which allows
one to rest peacefully and joyfully in the paradox
between the esthetic (the immediate) and ethical,
whose demands are impossible to fulfill.
A Cursory Observation Concerning a Detail in Don
Giovanni (1845) En flygtig Bem�rkning betr�ffende en
Enkelthed i Don Juan
Examines the many comic elements of Mozart's Don
Giovanni and contends that Don Juan turns out to be an
Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1845) Afsluttende
A sequel to Philosophical Fragments which contends
that all truth must be appropriated subjectively and
that there are no assurances of objective knowledge.
He uses the paradoxical figure of Christ as both human
and divine to highlight that there is no logical way
of understanding this (as in Hegel synthesis); one can
only have a passionate subjective commitment to this
truth (or any other truth).
The Activity of a Traveling Esthetician (1845) En
omreisende �sthetikers Virksomhed, og hvorledes han
dog kom til at betale Gj�stebudet
The article exposed a prominent academic as a
contributor to a disreputable scandal sheet (Corsair)
in retaliation for the academic's sloppy and negative
review of Stage's on Life's Way.
The Dialectical Result of a Literary Police Action
(1845) Det dialektiske resultat af en literair
Another attack on the Corsair and its gossiping
written in hope of spurring its talented young editor
on to better things.
The Two Ages: A Literary Review (1846) En literair
Anmeldelse. To Tidsaldre
In a review of a contemporary novel, Kierkegaard
attacks his 'age' for having no passion and 'leveling'
the individual into mass groups.
Works Of Love (1846) Kjerlighedens Gjerninger
An essay that examines the commandment of "Love your
neighbor as yourself.' The work emphasizes the
ineffable quality of love, examines who is a
'neighbor,' and how true (selfless) love is only
possible through knowing God and becomes a natural
expression of faith.
Phister as Captain Scipio (in the Comic Opera
Ludovic): A Recollection and for Recollection (1846)
Hr. Phister som Captain Scipio (i Syngestykket
Ludovic): En erindring og for Erindringen
Explores the concept of reflection by examining the
art of acting, using the example of Joachim Ludvig
Phister's portrayal of Captain Scipio in the opera,
"The Single Individual": Two "Notes" Concerning My
Work As An Author (1847 published 1859) "Den Enkelte";
Tvende "Noter" betr�ffende min Forfatter-Virksomhed
A work on Kierkegaard's authorship and how the concept
of 'that single individual' informs his body of work.
The Crisis and A Crisis in the Life of an Actress
(1848) Krisen og en Krise I en Skuespillerindes Liv
Examines the performance of an actress (the wife of
Heiberg, a prominent literary figure) contending that
only as an adult could she truly play the role of
Juliet because the recollection of her youth was not
available in her performances of the role in her
The Point of View for My Work as an Author (1848
written published 1959) Synspunktet for min
A full account of Kierkegaard's authorship including
his process of writing, the roles played by each of
the pseudonyms and autobiographical information
surrounding his writing.
On Authority and Revelation (The Book on Adler) (1848
written, published posthumously) Bogen om Adler
Examines the concepts of genius and inspiration using
the case of a pastor (Adler) who claimed that one of
his works was dictated to him Christ and then later
said it was merely a work of 'genius.'
Two Minor Ethical-Religious Essays (1849) Tvende
Examines the concepts of martyrdom, genius and divine
On My Work as an Author (1849) Om min
A shorter and less frank work that Kierkegaard
published instead of Point of View.
Armed Neutrality, or My Position as a Christian Author
in Christendom (1849) Den bev�bnede Neutralitet eller
Min Position som christelig Forfatter i Christenheden
Kierkegaard attacks established Christianity and
explains his position of armed neutrality as a
Christian in Christendom. The work also provides a
portrait of Kierkegaard's ideal Christian.
The Sickness Unto Death (1849) Sydommen til D�en
A companion to The Concept of Anxiety which explores
the concept of despair in relation to the eternal. The
work explores different types of despair: not to be
conscious of having a self (a complacent, unreflective
personality), not to will to be oneself (an
inauthentic personality who is always in flight from
himself), and the will to be oneself (the defiant
personality that insists on being whatever it
conceives of). The solution to these various forms of
despair is first to accept the offensive paradox of
Christ in faith in order to have your sins forgiven
and the to place your 'self' in God's hands.
Practice in Christianity (1850) Ind�velse I
Aims to introduce the authentic 'offensive'
Christianity of the New Testament into Christendom,
the established church which tries to minimize the
offense in order to serve the world.
An Open Letter, Prompted by a Reference to Me by Dr.
Rudelbach (1850) Foranlediget ved en Yttring af Dr.
Rudelbach mig betr�ffende
A response to a proposal to reform the church through
political means. Kierkegaard contends that the only
solution for reformation is to dismantle the church
and rebuild it anew on a spiritual basis.
For Self Examination (1851) Til Selvp�velse
Three essays that concern getting the individual to
relate himself to God as opposed to relying on a
relationship mediated by an institution. The work
details the narrow way of following Christ, dying to
the world and to oneself so that the Holy Spirit may
bring true love, instead of the many forms of self
love that the world calls love.
Judge for Yourself! For Self-Examination, Recommended
to the Present Age. Second Series (1851 written
published 1879) D�mmer selv! Til Selvpr�velse,
Samtiden Anbefalet. Anden R�kke
Explores the lack of compromise essential to
Christianity through the concept of suffering and the
imitation of Christ.
Articles of the Fatherland (1854 - 55) Faedrelandet
A series of 21 articles that attack the established
church for dampening the true message of Christianity
and preventing the radical conversion experience by
establishing that every Dane is a Christian at birth.
This Must Be Said-So Let It Be Said (1855) Dette skal
siges; saa v�re det da sagt
Contends that the church is so corrupt that it is
better not to attend service.
The Moment or Attack upon Christendom (1855)
�jeblikket or Hvad Christus d�mmer om officiel
Ten tracts published right before Kierkegaard's death
that attack the established church for its practices
that that clearly deviate from the New Testament. The
attack was so vicious - with titles like "The Priests
are Cannibals, and That In the Most Odious Way" - that
many thought Kierkegaard had lost his mind.
What Christ Judges of Official Christianity (1855)
Hvad Christus d�mmer om officiel Christendom
Another attack on official Christianity that claims
priests are perjurers who would be held accountable by
Christ for leading the masses astray if Christ were to
The Changelessness of God: A Discourse (1855) Guds
Uforanderlighed. En Tale
Based on a Sermon about James 1:17, the work extols
God's constancy and encourages the reader to rest in
it, but to also be mindful of their actions because
they will be judged by God with the same unbending
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