Kierkegaard, Søren Aabye

(1813-55)
   A Danish philosopher, considered by many to be the first philosopher of existentialism, Kierkegaard vociferously attacked what seemed to him two false conceptions of Christianity: Hegel's rationalistic dialectic of history and the Christendom of his native Denmark. Against this he emphasised the tenuous nature of existence and the demand of faith and commitment. As a result, Kierkegaard stresses the individual subjectivity in each moment rather than the rational grasp of a totalising system. In Either/Or (1843) he highlights the centrality of choice by contrasting ethical and aesthetic (hedonistic) lifestyles. In Philosophical Fragments (1844), a jarring title for any Hegelian, Kierkegaard attacks the rational, timeless approach to Christ with the Christ of history, who, he points out, is contemporaneous with us today. Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846) carries the irony farther with a direct challenge to Hegel's 'scientific' philosophy. Within this context, the famous phrase 'truth is subjectivity' identifies not relativism, but the primacy of commitment. Fear and Trembling (1843) develops these existentialist themes by bringing us into the agonising moment of Abraham's decision to sacrifice Isaac, an event that suggests a troubling 'teleological suspension of the ethical'. Throughout his writings, Kierkegaard stressed the primacy of the will and the choice of faith apart from reason, particularly in the light of God's infinite qualitative difference from humanity. Kierkegaard's own life was punctuated by tragedy, including the untimely death of his mother, father and three of his siblings. Moreover, Kierkegaard's ill health, his choice to break off his engagement with Regine, and his visible attacks on the state church guaranteed his role as a social outcast, granting his writing a deepened authenticity. His work has had a far-reaching effect on twentieth-century existentialism, as well as on Christian theology, beginning with Karl Barth's break with liberalism in the 1920s.
   Further reading: Hannay and Daniel 1997; Hong, Hong and Prenzel-Guthrie 2000; Kierkegaard 1962-4, 1978-, 1985, 1992 and 2000; Shakespeare 2001; West- phal, Merold 1996

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Kierkegaard, Søren Aabye — (1813–55)    Philosopher.    Kierkegaard was born into a Lutheran family in Copenhagen, Denmark. By normal standards, he did not have a successful life. He was twentyseven before he finished his university course; he broke off his engagement and… …   Who’s Who in Christianity

  • Kierkegaard, Søren (Aabye) — born May 5, 1813, Copenhagen, Den. died Nov. 11, 1855, Copenhagen Danish religious philosopher, regarded as the founder of existentialism. He studied theology at the University of Copenhagen. He is remembered for his critique of systematic… …   Universalium

  • Kierkegaard, Søren (Aabye) — 5 may. 1813, Copenhague,– Dinamarca 11 nov. 1855, Copenhague). Filósofo religioso danés, considerado fundador del existencialismo. Estudió teología en la Universidad de Copenhague. Es recordado por su crítica de la filosofía racional sistemática …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kierkegaard, Søren Aabye — (1813–1855) Danish philosopher and theologian, generally acknowledged to be the first existentialist . Born to scholarly and pietistic parents, Kierkegaard enrolled at the university of Copenhagen, then much under the influence of Hegel, in 1830 …   Philosophy dictionary

  • Kierkegaard, Soren Aabye — ► (1813 55) Filósofo y teólogo danés. Padre del existencialismo. En 1838 tuvo una profunda experiencia religiosa que le condicionó toda su posterior actividad intelectual. La fe para Kierkegaard no podía ser nunca conformismo ni reposo, sino… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Kierkegaard, Søren (Aabye) —  (1813–1855) Danish philosopher …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Søren Aabye Kierkegaard — Søren Kierkegaard Søren Kierkegaard Philosophe danois XIXe siècle Naissance  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kierkegaard, Søren — ▪ Danish philosopher Introduction in full  Søren Aabye Kierkegaard  born May 5, 1813, Copenhagen, Den. died Nov. 11, 1855, Copenhagen  Danish philosopher, theologian, and cultural critic who was a major influence on Existentialism and Protestant… …   Universalium

  • Soren Aabye Kierkegaard — n. family name; Soren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813 1855), Danish philosopher, forerunner and founder of existentialism …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Soren Aabye Kierkegaard — noun Danish philosopher who is generally considered. along with Nietzsche, to be a founder of existentialism (1813 1855) • Syn: ↑Kierkegaard, ↑Soren Kierkegaard • Instance Hypernyms: ↑philosopher …   Useful english dictionary

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