Kierkegaard's Writings, XX by Søren Kierkegaard
Practice in Christianity: Practice in Christianity v. 20

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Synopsis

Of the many works he wrote during 1848, his "richest and most fruitful year," Kierkegaard specified Practice in Christianity as "the most perfect and truest thing." In his reflections on such topics as Christ's invitation to the burdened, the imitatio Christi, the possibility of offense, and the exalted Christ, he takes as his theme the requirement of Christian ideality in the context of divine grace. Addressing clergy and laity alike, Kierkegaard asserts the need for institutional and personal admission of the accommodation of Christianity to the culture and to the individual misuse of grace. As a corrective defense, the book is an attempt to find, ideally, a basis for the established order, which would involve the order's ability to acknowledge the Christian requirement, confess its own distance from it, and resort to grace for support in its continued existence. At the same time the book can be read as the beginning of Kierkegaard's attack on Christendom. Because of the high ideality of the contents and in order to prevent the misunderstanding that he himself represented that ideality, Kierkegaard writes under a new pseudonym, Anti-Climacus.

 

About Søren Kierkegaard

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Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Soren Kierkegaard was the son of a wealthy middle-class merchant. He lived all his life on his inheritance, using it to finance his literary career. He studied theology at the University of Copenhagen, completing a master's thesis in 1841 on the topic of irony in Socrates. At about this time, he became engaged to a woman he loved, but he broke the engagement when he decided that God had destined him not to marry. The years 1841 to 1846 were a period of intense literary activity for Kierkegaard, in which he produced his "authorship," a series of writings of varying forms published under a series of fantastic pseudonyms. Parallel to these, he wrote a series of shorter Edifying Discourses, quasi-sermons published under his own name. As he later interpreted it in the posthumously published Point of View for My Work as an Author, the authorship was a systematic attempt to raise the question of what it means to be a Christian. Kierkegaard was persuaded that in his time people took the meaning of the Christian life for granted, allowing all kinds of worldly and pagan ways of thinking and living to pass for Christian. He applied this analysis especially to the speculative philosophy of German idealism. After 1846, Kierkegaard continued to write, publishing most works under his own name. Within Denmark he was isolated and often despised, a man whose writings had little impact in his own day or for a long time afterward. They were translated into German early in the twentieth century and have had an enormous influence since then, on both Christian theology and the existentialist tradition in philosophy.
 
Published April 21, 2013 by Princeton University Press. 439 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Law & Philosophy, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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