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1. Fear and Trembling
2. Works of Love
3. Soren Kierkegaard's Christian
4. The Essential Kierkegaard
5. Spiritual Writings: A New Translation
6. A Kierkegaard Anthology
7. The Concept of Anxiety : Kierkegaard's
8. Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography
9. The Sickness unto Death: A Christian
10. Purity of Heart is to Will One
11. Provocations: Spiritual Writings
12. Daily Readings With Soren Kierkegaard
13. Either/Or: A Fragment of Life
14. The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology
15. Soren Kierkegaard: The Mystique
16. Fear and Trembling/Repetition
17. Kierkegaard's Attack Upon "Christendom"
18. Training in Christianity
19. Philosophical Fragments
20. The Concept of Anxiety (International

1. Fear and Trembling
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 120 Pages (2010-07-30)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.59
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1453727426
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
As one of Soren Kierkegaard's most widely read works, FEAR and TREMBLING presents careful arguments about important biblical topics. Most notably, Kierkegaard acts more-or-less as a defense attorney for Abraham for his even contemplating the murder of his son. In the book, Kierkegaard considers whether Abraham was not subject to the ethical laws of the everyday universe that the rest of use live by every day--when he was acting under the direction of God (e.g. when God asked him to kill his own son). For a complete explanation and polemics of Kierkegaard's views, this book is highly recommended. That the subject matter of FEAR and TREMBLING greatly disturbed Kierkegaard becomes readily obvious in the first pages. If the arguments presented are examined carefully, it is a topic whose implications may very well shock the modern-day theologian as well. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (45)

1-0 out of 5 stars DO NOT buy this edition of this book.
The edition of "Fear and Trembling" that amazon is selling, from Pacific Publishing Studio, and printed as recently as Sept. 13, 2010, appears to be entirely illegitimate. There is no translator given credit for this edition, and no notes accompanying the text at all. As far as I can tell, it appears that the publisher has taken the Walter Lowries' translation, available on-line, and used it for this edition, without giving credit. The link here speaks to this assumption: [...]
I am already wary of using amazon to purchase books, and this is likely the last straw for me. I feel awful having unwittingly purchased a book that is, at very best, not a typical scholarly edition of a scholastic text, poorly printed and annotated, and at worst unfairly filching other's hard work.

1-0 out of 5 stars Deception
GREAT BOOK BY KIERKEGAARD! He did not write in english though. I gave this book a one star review because I could not find a translator anywhere and that's enough to make me mad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kierkegaard Reviewed
Deeply contoured personality, immeasurably insightful, Kierkegaard is known for being the father existentialism. Kierkegaard defines the self as a relation that relates itself to itself. According to Hubert Dreyfus, "That means that who I am depends on the stand I take on being a self. Moreover, how I interpret myself is not a question of what I think, but of what I do."

Kierkegaard thus opposes the traditional philosophical methodology of detached analysis and uninvolved reflection. Kierkegaard believes that our action, our involvement, and devotion to life constitute our authentic stand on the meaning of our lives. Consider Kierkegaard in the context of Augustine, Origen, and Aquinas who advocated the "vita beata" or the good life as a life of philosophical detachment. To them, the entanglements of family life present an unmixed bag of evils that "distract us from the uninterrupted contemplation of God."

Kierkegaard's leap of faith is an unconditional commitment to "a specific" in this life (a cause, person, purpose, etc.). That unconditional commitment gives our life meaning and fortifies us against despair. By virtue of the absurd, the Knight of Faith doubles down when no logical reason exists for doing so. Faith looks beyond reason into the absurd and makes a leap. By virtue of faith, the absurd becomes not only possible, but actual: job gets everything back, Abraham's aged wife bears a child, and finally, Abraham's son is saved. Without faith, our highest action and commitment is not possible and without this unconditional commitment, we cannot take a stand on the meaning of our lives. Life without meaning leads to despair.

Fear and Trembling:
A Dialectical Lyric
by Johannes de silentio (Søren Kierkegaard)

translated by Alastair Hannay
(London, UK: Penguin Books, 1985)
(ISBN: 0-14-044449-1; paperback)
(Library of Congress call number: BR100.K52 1985)

The title of this book comes from Paul:
"You must work out your own salvation in fear and trembling."
Kierkegaard selects Abraham as his paradigm of faith.
This is an interesting choice, since Abraham was not a Christian,
having lived thousands of years
before the emergence of Christian faith.
Fear and Trembling is a book of "indirect communication",
rich with obscurities and ambiguities.
Perhaps, it can only be understood
by persons who already know Grace from the inside.
Most readers will spin their wheels in intellectual puzzlement,
getting lost in the concepts Kierkegaard uses
for his indirect communication.

Kierkegaard's philosophy of religion describes
three levels of existence:
(1) the esthetic--the life of immediate enjoyment;
(2) the ethical--the life of duty and responsibility; &
(3) the religious--living within Grace or Existential Freedom.
Fear and Trembling focuses on the process of making the leap
from the ethical existence to the religious orientation.
Abraham becomes the father of faith by being willing to sacrifice
his only son, Isaac--in whom all his hopes and dreams reside.
Abraham is a knight of faith because he believes God will restore
Isaac--in some way that Abraham cannot foresee.

Writing as his pseudonym Johannes de silentio--John the silent--
Kierkegaard asks "Who can understand Abraham?"
We might ask "Who can understand Kierkegaard?"
Søren Kierkegaard has written a book so full of difficulties
that most readers miss the basic meaning
--as is illustrated by most academic discussion
of Fear and Trembling.

But those who already have the faith of Abraham will understand.
People still living on the esthetic level of existence
will only understand Abraham's desire to keep his son alive.
People living on the ethical level will understand
that Abraham has an ethical duty to protect his son--not kill him.
But faith goes far beyond both
immediate desires and the demands of ethics.
Living in Grace provides a completely new basis for making decisions.

The tragic hero gives up something he loves to serve some higher,
universal principle, such as the good of the whole community.
He is torn between two desires,
but all observers can understand his sacrifice.
The tragic hero still resides on the ethical level.

In contrast, the knight of faith gives up what all can understand
--love and duty toward a child--for reasons no one can understand.
Abraham's inwardness cannot be made intelligible to others.
Grace or Existential Freedom can only be understood from the inside.
Only those who follow in the footsteps of Abraham
might eventually understand his complete re-orientation of being.

If this school of thought interests you, search the Internet for:
"Books on Existential Spirituality".

James Leonard Park, seeker on the path of existential spirituality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fear and Trembling
This is a great book. I recommend it to anybody who likes to think hard on intellectual topics, especially those that involve religion. The story of Isaac and Abraham is one of the toughest puzzles to figure out in the Bible, yet once you understand it, you will have a much stronger faith in the wisdom of God.

5 stars, easy. ... Read more

2. Works of Love
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-03-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$9.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061713279
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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One of Soren Kierkegaard's most important writings, Works of Love is a profound examination of the human heart, in which the great philosopher conducts the reader into the inmost secrets of Love. "Deep within every man," Kierkegaard writes, "there lies the dread of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the household of millions upon millions." Love, for Kierkegaard, is one of the central aspects of existence; it saves us from isolation and unites us with one another and with God. This new edition of Works of Love features an original foreword by Kierkegaard scholar George Pattison.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Love Is Always and Nevera Question
The book is a detailed discussion of Kierkeaard's Works of Love.It is a new copy of M. Jamie Ferreira's 2001 "Love's Grateful Striving.The size of book and print are the same as the hardback which I had borrowed from the library.It arrived within four days.I am enjoying the ability to have my own copy to help read Kierkagaard

5-0 out of 5 stars Impossible
This book is literally impossible.I mean those words in every possible semantic combination.This man's heart has been to places I can only dream of.Every other line I just have to pause to shake my head and wonder how he is even able to see the the things he writes.And then he proceeds to capture these ideas in words.Everything is logically consistent and even harder to do, spiritually consistent.Kierkegaard really clarified for me the battle and the difference between holy, eternal logic versus earthly, temporal logic.I especially like the last 2 chapters: his definitions of transparency and eternal repetition.I get chills thinking about it.Props to the translator.She has done an excellent job and the notes included in the back were not just anecdotes but served to elucidate some of the more difficult ideas.

Overall, I just felt so blessed by this book.I've read my fair share of books and by chapter 2, Works of Love became the best book I had ever read.For anyone reading Kierkegaard, consider also Purity of Heart is to Will one Thing, The Sickness unto Death and the amazing classic Fear and Trembling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Can loving be reduced to works?
I became drawn to Kierkegaard as a college junior, beginning with "Fear and Trembling," then proceeding to the other major works, continuing through "Sickness Unto Death" and "Concluding Unscientific Discourse" in one of the few college courses in which I did any real work. The passion served me well for life, equipping me to read the Greek philosophers as well as Nietzsche and most of the major structuralist and post-structuralist thinkers of the last century.Perhaps more importantly, it gave me the conceptual framework, or "aesthetic sensibilities," to make sense of challenging modern literature--from Flannery O'Connor's epiphanic short stories to a recent film like "This Is No Country for Old Men" (which could just as easily have been based on an O'Connor short story).

The meaning of the title of the latter work, a Coen Brothers' movie, could be paraphrased roughly as: "this mortal existence is no unproblematic, easy life as you get older, finding it increasingly difficult to evade the fact of your own mortality and aloneness along with the ever diminishing amount of time you will have to make sense of your existence in this finite world."The major characters in the film all intuit this disturbing reality at some level, but only the retiring sheriff, Tommy Lee Jones, can began to grasp the truth by the end of the story.The other characters proudly assume they can beat death (youthful pride) or that if they simply do and think nothing, "something" will happen--maybe they'll get lucky and score a jackpot, or have one last turn with an attractive body in bed, or who knows, maybe they'll be one of the chosen ones who receive a pass when God makes an appearance in their lives before mortality runs its inevitable course. (Or, as so many are wont to say nowadays, "Whatever.")

Kierkegaard, like O'Connor and the Coens, is requiring that his readers "wake up" (the last words of the movie, recited by Tommy Lee Jones).Suppose instead of among the last words on the cross, Jesus had not said "Father, forgive those who sin against me because they know not what they do."Instead, what if Jesus had said "Father, forgive those who know not what they think." That's what Kierkegaard is confronting us with in this text.The meaning of life--and/or love--and the meaningless of either when not supported by thought and genuine self-knowledge.

There has been no shortage of Christ-like martyrs past and present--righteous types who jump at the chance of being some sort of Divine saint by bearing a cross that they can chalk up as one more star in their crown.But the Creator endowed human beings with the capacity--distinct from all mortal creatures--for contemplating their own mortality.And along with that capability, for thinking, growing, learning, and "knowing."Yet so many seem determined to waste that gift, preferring to go through life thoughtlessly, purposelessly, guided by nothing more than social conventions, superstition and traditions, habit and instinct.Some become doctors and lawyers, technicians and even scientists, partnered couples and married spouses.But assuming a role or being a magnet of "information" is far from actual "knowing."And the knowledge gap could not be more conspicuous than when it comes to the one question that concerns all human beings: faith, or the question of belief.

All Kierkegaard, along with his many influences and successors, is saying is that Socrates was right--not necessarily in his conclusions but certainly in his method: "The unexamined life is unfit to be lived."But Socrates imagined that reason of itself is sufficient to arrive at "truth."Kierkegaard rejects that premise.The best we can do is to continue to inquire, to remain "focused" on the "ultimate" questions that concern all of us as mortal beings, to admit our limitations, and to become aware of the boundaries that separate us from each other (e.g., none of us can "share" the death of our dearest beloved one), between what can and can't be known--and only then to express our humanity through the "act" that aligns our inner life with the purposes of the inscrutable Almighty plan.

It is not a question to be postponed or evaded, or to be replaced by religious dogma and sanctimonious words and actions.We have the capacity to ask it and to examine it every day of our lives.How counterproductive are our religions if they divide us more than they join us, and if they prohibit rather than encourage open inquiry and conversation.Best of all, Kierkegaard's thought, like the plots of storytellers from Sophocles to O'Connor to the Coen Brothers, comes directly out of human experience. In no way is it "abstract," "hypothetical," mere "ratiocination."Far from it, he's concrete, passionate, a spiritual fleshly soul resisting and frequently breaking the chains that bind him.

After reading Kierkegaard, it's difficult to believe that Jesus would have ever extended his redemptive plea on the cross to those who refuse the pursuit of knowledge.It's also easy to regret that this "hanging god" placed so much emphasis on forgiving misguided human actions."Forgiving" itself is an action, and when it results in a form of "religious pride" (the essence of the "oxymoronic"), it's an action requiring forgiveness before all others.Ultimately, we become saved by action, but not by action that leads to presumption about our individual importance or privileged access to the Almighty.What's more important is to trace the lineage that links us all as "children" of the One Heavenly Father.Doing so the only valid way will necessitate the abrogation of all pride, or like the grandmother who reaches her hand out, proclaiming "Why, you're one of my children..." to the serial killer in O'Connor's "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," we'll just as certainly have our heads handed back to us (I'll leave it to readers to discover exactly how that occurs in the climax of O'Connor's powerful, unforgettable dark comedy about love and faith).

5-0 out of 5 stars How to be a Christian in more than name only
Here it is. How to apply the love of God, as taught to us by Jesus, in the reality of daily life. No fancy formulas here, no clever platitudes, just the truth. A tremendous reconcilitation of the supposed contradiction between works and faith as the basis of salvation, Kierkegaard shows that in fact the letter to the Galatians explains that the essence of Christianity's message is faith, working through love. Hence, "Works of Love". This is Kierkegaards' magnum opus. Not for the faint of heart nor anyone looking for an easy answer, yet amazingly simple and honest. Completely vindicates Soren Kierkegaard from the charge by narrow traditionalists ( most of whom have never read anything he wrote ) that he was not a genuine Christian, perhaps not even a Christian at all. If you wish to follow Christ, follow Kierkegaard. He is a trustworthy guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Profound Experience
I dreaded reading Works of Love, but it was necessary to complete the course. At first it was a struggle to get into the book, but once one gets used to the style, you can get into it. By the time I finished the book I was emotionally overwhelmed.

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) reflects on several Scriptural passages, such as St. Paul's famous passage on love in his First Letter to the Corinthians. His discussion sheds light on the application of these concepts to day-to-day life. Kierkegaard reminds us that love brings a sense of immortality, for it binds the temporal with the eternal.

Reading this book may well give you a life-changing experience - it has certainly changed my outlook on life. ... Read more

3. Soren Kierkegaard's Christian Psychology: Insight for Counseling & Pastoral Care
by C. Stephen Evans
Paperback: 136 Pages (1995-04-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1573830380
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Few writer-philosophers of the past have evoked as much curiosity in the twentieth century than Soren Kierkegaard. The further one probes into his thought the more his ideas prove to have relevance for the modern world and especially to Christians. Such is the case with psychology.

For Kierkegaard, the study of psychology is intrinsically linked with the task of personal becoming, reflecting his own struggle to overcome the dark and cheerless environment of his early life. His interpretive framework os consciously Christian. In his view, humankind was made for relation with God, and this recognition is basic to self-understanding. But in self-deception and rebellion against God, human beings are constantly resisting their own true happiness and fighting against their own best interests.

On this Kierkegaardian premise, C. Stephen Evans unfolds the implications and effects of this human desire for wholeness and growth of the self. This book is written "for psychologists, pastors, counselors, and ordinary people struggling to understand themselves and others." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars insightful and inspirational
I'm not a psychologist but my wife is studying Christian psychology and I happened to read this book (her textbook). I never read Kierkegaard but this book gives a really good insight not just on Kierkegaard but on general Christianity. I just bought this copy for my cousin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great for Christian's wanting an overview
Many people into Kierkegaard are atheists. Of course, K was not. He might find the use of his works to defend that position interesting to say the least. Much of his work really is the basis for any 'Christian Psychology' with any real depth to it. K is very tough going sometimes for several resons, and many people need an overview before diging into the source material. This author does a great job in explaining K from a religous perspective. Particularly if you are a believer, this is a great place to start. Also the 'Hong' "Esential Kierkegaard" is a great anthology. ... Read more

4. The Essential Kierkegaard
by Søren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 544 Pages (2000-05-30)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$18.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691019401
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is the most comprehensive anthology of Søren Kierkegaard's works ever assembled in English. Drawn from the volumes of Princeton's authoritative Kierkegaard's Writings series by editors Howard and Edna Hong, the selections represent every major aspect of Kierkegaard's extraordinary career. They reveal the powerful mix of philosophy, psychology, theology, and literary criticism that made Kierkegaard one of the most compelling writers of the nineteenth century and a shaping force in the twentieth. With an introduction to Kierkegaard's writings as a whole and explanatory notes for each selection, this is the essential one-volume guide to a thinker who changed the course of modern intellectual history.

The anthology begins with Kierkegaard's early journal entries and traces the development of his work chronologically to the final The Changelessness of God. The book presents generous selections from all of Kierkegaard's landmark works, including Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Works of Love, and The Sickness unto Death, and draws new attention to a host of such lesser-known writings as Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions and The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air. The selections are carefully chosen to reflect the unique character of Kierkegaard's work, with its shifting pseudonyms, its complex dialogues, and its potent combination of irony, satire, sermon, polemic, humor, and fiction. We see the esthetic, ethical, and ethical-religious ways of life initially presented as dialogue in two parallel series of pseudonymous and signed works and later in the "second authorship" as direct address. And we see the themes that bind the whole together, in particular Kierkegaard's overarching concern with, in his own words, "What it means to exist; . . . what it means to be a human being."

Together, the selections provide the best available introduction to Kierkegaard's writings and show more completely than any other book why his work, in all its creativity, variety, and power, continues to speak so directly today to so many readers around the world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Informative
This collection provides an entry into Kierkegaard's work that doesn't overwhelm the reader as s/he begins reading one of the greatest philosophers of the last two hundred years.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kierkegaard Reviewed
Deeply contoured personality, immeasurably insightful, Kierkegaard is known for being the father existentialism. Kierkegaard defines the self as a relation that relates itself to itself. According to Hubert Dreyfus, "That means that who I am depends on the stand I take on being a self. Moreover, how I interpret myself is not a question of what I think, but of what I do."

Kierkegaard thus opposes the traditional philosophical methodology of detached analysis and uninvolved reflection. Kierkegaard believes that our action, our involvement, and devotion to life constitute our authentic stand on the meaning of our lives. Consider Kierkegaard in the context of Augustine, Origen, and Aquinas who advocated the "vita beata" or the good life as a life of philosophical detachment. To them, the entanglements of family life present an unmixed bag of evils that "distract us from the uninterrupted contemplation of God."

Kierkegaard's leap of faith is an unconditional commitment to "a specific" in this life (a cause, person, purpose, etc.). That unconditional commitment gives our life meaning and fortifies us against despair. By virtue of the absurd, the Knight of Faith doubles down when no logical reason exists for doing so. Faith looks beyond reason into the absurd and makes a leap. By virtue of faith, the absurd becomes not only possible, but actual: job gets everything back, Abraham's aged wife bears a child, and finally, Abraham's son is saved. Without faith, our highest action and commitment is not possible and without this unconditional commitment, we cannot take a stand on the meaning of our lives. Life without meaning leads to despair.

The Essential Kierkegaard

Edited by Howard & Edna Hong
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2000)524 pages
(ISBN: 0-691-03309-9; hardcover)
(ISBN: 0-691-01940-1; paperback)
(Library of Congress call number: B4372.E5 2000)

After they completed the huge project of translating into English
and publishing all of Søren Kiekegaard's writings,
Howard & Edna chose (with the advice of other Kierkegaard scholars)
the selections that make up this collection of the best of Kierkegaard.

The selections are presented in historical order,
offering something from every kind of writing Kierkegaard ever did.
All the translations into English are the same as used for
the standard collection of SK's works, called Kierkegaard's Writings,
which was also edited by the Hongs.

This one-volume anthology of Kierkegaard's writings
will introduce many future generations to the thought of the great Dane.

Before I read this collection, I had read the complete works of SK.
So I was quite familiar with everything contained in this volume.
Nevertheless, it was a good experience to read it thru again,
to see just how well the life-work of one genius or near-genius
could be compressed into one volume.

If you would like to explore other writings by Kierkegaard,
search the Internet for the following exact expression:
"Books on Existential Spirituality".

James Leonard Park, existential philosopher.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not Complete
**this is a review based on this particular publication- not on Kierkegaard's writings**
I was assigned to read 'Fear and Trembling' for a class and purchased this copy because I like to add complete works to my library. To my dismay this copy only contains a small fraction of the full piece of work.It only has 10 pages out of the 70+ pages in Fear and Trembling.No where does it state that this is an abridged or reduced version- in fact the review here on amazon states "The crowning achievement of [the Hongs'] monumental translation of all of Kierkegaard's published writings...."this is not a full version of his work!!!

Totally Unacceptable!

5-0 out of 5 stars May the laughter by on your side
With a dizzying series of pseudonyms, from Climaticus to Anticlimaticus, this book selects from the Hong's expansive translation of all of Kierkegaard's writings.The introductions place each piece in context, but don't over interpret as some other books. Reading from the complete work presents a view of Kierkegaard's total plan ("The Authorship") and his voices of the religious, esthetic, and ethical. In light of the whole body, "Concluding Unscientific postscript" seems to have a pivotal role. Existentialists may like to claim him as he speaks of the individual about despair, fear and trembling, and anxiety, but make no mistake his work is to be a Christian (" Once and for all I must urgently request the kindly disposed reader continually to bear in mente [in mind] that the total thought in the entire work as an author is this" becoming a Christian").He is a self appointed critic of the established church and the inclusion of the lesser known "The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air' shows the religious side.Present are all of Kierkegaard's "Knights": the Knight of Faith, the Knight of Infinite Resignation, and the Knight of Hidden Awareness. Humor and irony abound. Come leap in, and have a good read! ... Read more

5. Spiritual Writings: A New Translation and Selection
by Soren Kierkegaard, George Pattison
Paperback: 336 Pages (2010-11-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$10.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061875996
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Editorial Review

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In this new collection, Oxford theologian George Pattison translates and selects SØren Kierkegaard's previously neglected writings on spirituality—works that greatly deepen our understanding of the influential thinker. In philosophy and literature, Kierkegaard ("By far the most profound thinker of the nineteenth century"—Ludwig Wittgenstein) is generally perceived as epitomizing existential angst. However, there is much more to Kierkegaard than the popular image of the “melancholy Dane” or the iconoclastic critic of established Christendom. Alongside the pseudonymous books for which he is largely known, Kierkegaard also wrote many devotional works, which he called "upbuilding" or "edifying" discourses. Taken as a whole, these writings offer something very different from the popular view—they embody a spirituality grounded in a firm sense of human life as a divine gift.

... Read more

6. A Kierkegaard Anthology
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 528 Pages (1973-11-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$19.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691019789
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Chronicles Kierkegaard's intellectual and spiritual development through selected writings. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kierkegaard Reviewed
Deeply contoured personality, immeasurably insightful, Kierkegaard is known for being the father existentialism. Kierkegaard defines the self as a relation that relates itself to itself. According to Hubert Dreyfus, "That means that who I am depends on the stand I take on being a self. Moreover, how I interpret myself is not a question of what I think, but of what I do."

Kierkegaard thus opposes the traditional philosophical methodology of detached analysis and uninvolved reflection. Kierkegaard believes that our action, our involvement, and devotion to life constitute our authentic stand on the meaning of our lives. Consider Kierkegaard in the context of Augustine, Origen, and Aquinas who advocated the "vita beata" or the good life as a life of philosophical detachment. To them, the entanglements of family life present an unmixed bag of evils that "distract us from the uninterrupted contemplation of God."

Kierkegaard's leap of faith is an unconditional commitment to "a specific" in this life (a cause, person, purpose, etc.). That unconditional commitment gives our life meaning and fortifies us against despair. By virtue of the absurd, the Knight of Faith doubles down when no logical reason exists for doing so. Faith looks beyond reason into the absurd and makes a leap. By virtue of faith, the absurd becomes not only possible, but actual: job gets everything back, Abraham's aged wife bears a child, and finally, Abraham's son is saved. Without faith, our highest action and commitment is not possible and without this unconditional commitment, we cannot take a stand on the meaning of our lives. Life without meaning leads to despair.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent companion and starting point
Kierkegaard is enjoying something of a revival of late, with many of his works appearing in new editions, and a major new biography available.The English-speaking world has long been aware of Kierkegaard without being very familiar with his work and issues.One might be surprised that Kierkegaard is not better known, since one of his primary focuses upon philosophy is that it begins and ends with the individual - in many ways, he is anti-Hegelian looking for a way of relating existence to the individual, and not to universals.

Kierkegaard was very much a cynic, but still remained a faithful Christian all of his life, if not a faithful adherent to the institution of the church.Kierkegaard was also a satirist and wit, and sometimes it is difficult to discern where that aspect ends and the serious philosophical work begins.He is often considered the first of the Existentialists, but in many ways his work does not quite fit that category.

This collection contains selections from the following major and minor works of Kierkegaard.

* The Journals * Either/Or * Two Edifying Discourses * Fear and Trembling * Repetition * Philosophical Fragments * Stages on Life's Way * Concluding Unscientific Postscript * The Present Age * Edifying Discourses in Various Spirits * Works of Love * The Point of View for My Work as an Author * The Sickness Unto Death * Training in Christianity * Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays * The Attack Upon Christendom * The Unchangeableness of God

This collection is no mere collection of quotable-quotes or of key passages, but gives generous inclusion of major sections of the works.Kierkegaard did not write in traditional academic or philosophical structure, so some of his writing is difficult to get through.Part personal reflection, part polemic, part analysis, part literary creative flourish - all of these come together in a fascinating way.

Kierkegaard deals with issues of estrangement and alienation, despair, universals and abstractions, individuality and subjectivity.Kierkegaard sees the person as existing in three different levels - the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious.These are inter-related but distinct in many ways; as they involve the breadth of human experience, Kierkegaard is no mere philosopher, but also a sociologist, a psychologist, a theologian, an historian, and much more.

This is an excellent one-volume edition of Kierkegaard's work, from which one may gain much insight.If coupled with the recent biography by Joakim Garff, it is a very handy reference for Kierkegaard's primary texts together with the insightful writing of Garff.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent selection
This is an excellent selection of the work of Kierkegaard. There are writings from 'Either - Or' ' Stages in Life's Way' ' Concluding Unscientific Postscript' ' The Advancement of Christianity' and other central writings of Kierkegaard.
The greatness of Kierkegaard is in both matter and method. His stylistic brilliance, irony and humor are the method. His fundamental reflection on what it means to be a religious individual, and what it means to truly relate to God are the heart of his work.

3-0 out of 5 stars not so much a philosopher's Kierkegaard
this is a good collection but I think some selections from The Concept of Anxiety - which is Kierkegaard at his philosophically most sophisticated- and maybe even the Concept of Irony, would make this more interesting to philosophy students. Beside these shortcomings its a good anthology available at good prices.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Place To Start Reading Kierkegaard
Many consider it objectionable (probably Kierkegaard among them!) to chop up philosophical works so literary in style into pieces to be patched together in an anthology.Others would note that a philosopher is best introduced through a painstaking reading of a classic and definitive text, and thus Plato is to be met in "The Republic," Nietzsche in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra," and the later Wittgenstein in "Philosophical Investigations."In the case of Kierkegaard, however, no one work adequately expresses the multi-faceted nature of his messages.His individual works are incomplete as representations of his overall vision.I find, anyway, that they each represent a finely crafted meditation on a crucial aspect of his thought which cannot be fully understood without having all the other aspects in mind.They serve more like chapters in a larger book than they stand independently on their own.That's why Bretall's anthology which presents them as a whole is so valuable.

Bretall also avoids chopping up chapters and ripping quips and humorous digressions or controversial statements out of their context.For the most part he presents key chapters in their entirety and helps to reproduce their context for the reader either by explaining it in his helpful introductions or by presenting enough chapters from a given work that the context of a particular chapter is clear.

Understanding Kierkegaard's context and that of his writings and that of the chapters within them is so crucial to fruitful engagement of his ideas that this compiled tornado of thought that Bretall provides is the best place to start reading him.

But then again, I could be bias because that's how I started reading him... ... Read more

7. The Concept of Anxiety : Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol 8
by Soren Kierkegaard, Albert B. Anderson
Paperback: 294 Pages (1981-02-01)
list price: US$25.95 -- used & new: US$13.13
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Asin: 0691020116
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Concept of Anxiety:
A Simple Psychologically Oriented Deliberation
on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin

Kierkegaard's Writings, VIII
Edited and Translated with Introduction and Notes
by Reidar Thomte in collaboration with Albert B. Anderson
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1980)
(ISBN: 0691072442)
(Library of Congress call number: BT720.K52 1980)
(first published in Denmark, 1844)
This is a careful, scholarly edition of the book previously
translated (by Walter Lowrie) as The Concept of Dread.

Kierkegaard presents what is probably
the first philosophical analysis of existential anxiety.
Angst became one of the buzz words of the 20th century,
but here we have a careful discussion
of what existential anxiety feels like from the inside.
Anxiety also appears in a number of other books by Kierkegaard.

Søren Kierkegaard here deals with the relationship between
angst and existential guilt, traditionally called "original sin",
--a sense of 'guilt' that is not related to moral misbehavior.
The thought is profound, but Kierkegaard has not worked out
the phenomenon of existential anxiety
as carefully as Martin Heidegger would do it in the 20th century.

Since Kierkegaard draws heavily upon Christian theology
(the sub-title should have "doctrinal" rather than "dogmatic"),
this book might be somewhat difficult for the general public
--but not for people familiar with Christian philosophy.
The Concept of Anxiety is one of Kierkegaard's central books.
Other existential writers have created better formulations of angst,
but it all began here--and it will continue into the future.

If existential anxiety (angst) helps you to understand yourself,
you might be interested in other books along the same line:
Search the Internet for the following expression:
"Books on Existential Spirituality".

James Leonard Park, existential philosopher
and seeker on the path of existential spirituality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kierkegaard's Psychodynamic Theory of Personality
Kierkegaard herein proposes a theory of personality he eventually complimented with "The Sickness Unto Death," a unique psychological perspective not unlike modern psychoanalytic views, but in my opinion, much more sane and well-founded.As a graduate student in marriage and family therapy, I spoke to my professor of personality theory about these views, which one might call a "trinitarian-dialectical" view of object relations.Object relations is of course based on dialectic, but as with SK's thinking, the basis is not a Hegelian dialectic: there is no synthesis except in spirit.For instance, in couples therapy, object relations presumes that the couple will not magically "merge" into one agreeing person!SK here uses the Christian view of God as thearchetypal "other" to found a theory of personality, which also calls for a reinterpretation of what "original sin" actually is.Therefore the concept of motive (spirit) is fleshed out, and in fact made central.SK as well takes into account the historical compounding of neurosis, which is fascinating.Yet the core is of course the individual, and I can say that these ideas are not only profound for the theorist or philosopher, but offer clinical usefulness to mental health professionals!I recommend reading "The Sickness Unto Death" alongside this book; these two are SK's most psychological works, and complimentary.A common criticism is that SK's books are quite dense; generally this criticism is made by those who are not introspective, or fear being so.But if he is dense, this is one of the densest!Hard work bears fruit here, however.

4-0 out of 5 stars Too Confusing and Obscure Even for Kierkegaard
The opinions of several reader reviewers that this is basically straight forward and clear book strikes me as spectacularly unbelievable and show a lack of comprehension of this book. This is considered by most who are familiar with Kierkegaard ("K") to be his most difficult book. Most of K. is difficult for most readers, but this book is difficult even for readers who claim to have read all or most of his works.

First off, psychology in this work does not coincide with today's concept of psychology. Also, anxiety does not equate with today's common definition. The work is full of dense formulations and repititions and not a few contradictions (or at least great muddles).I have read all of K's works and think him the second most profound writer in all of history (Dante, being first).But this book is not easy. I believe K. himself was unsure of what he actually believed about sin, anxiety, eternal/temporal, infinite/finite etc.

Fortunately this book can be skipped. The essential insights of the book are contained in Postcript, Fragments and Sickness unto death. That is not to say that this book should be skipped, but I would advise readers not to expect clarity on significant points. Unlike Pound's Cantos, where Pound did expect everyone to understand a great deal of the poetry, K. would have wanted readers to gain certain, clear knowledge from The Concept of Anxiety. I believe he has failed and will only confuse not only the amateur K. reader, but also those who purport to understand ( or try to understand)in K's works in their entirety. The reader reviews of this book support my thesis since virtually everyone misreads this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars I am anxious but I do not know why'
I am anxious but I do not know why , perhaps it is because I am writing a review of a book I do not understand. I understand that 'anxiety' is vague and has no necessary object, that it is 'free- floating'. ' Fear ' on the other hand has a specific object.
Anthony Storn on his Website defines Kierkegaards 'Anxiety concept' as follows:
"Kierkegaard asserts that anxiety preceded Adam's sin. Anxiety is not itself sin, but is the natural reaction of the soul when faced with the yawning abyss of freedom. When God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the terms "good" and "evil", so says Kierkegaard, would have had no significance for him. His ignorance was indeed bliss. But the awful predicament of freedom, before and apart from sin, yielded anxiety. There is also an anxiety that is a manifestation of sinfulness, and Kierkegaard addresses that later. But first his concern is that all individual persons are born with the same freedom and anxiety as a result of that freedom that Adam possessed, and thus we sin not because we are sinners, but we become sinners because of our qualitative leap out of freedom into sin, and hence sinfulness. It is then that the expression of anxiety is sin."
As I understand it Kierkegaard seems to be pointing out the value of 'anxiety' as preliminary to the 'leap of faith' which will bring us to God. 'Anxiety' is the necessary prelude to the free decision which enables us to overcome it.
I do not mean to dispute this. I only wonder whether the 'leap' made once remains the 'leap ' forever. For in my own experience 'Anxiety' always returns , no matter what decision we make.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Kierkegaard
_The Concept of Anxiety_ is one of Kierkegaard's most straightforward, honest, and personal works.Primarily, it deals with the typical human understanding of sin, why we designate certain acts as sinful, and how our perception or experience of these acts is altered by the fact that they are labled as "sinful".This book approaches the question of sin in a very enlightening and insightful manner, questioning certain aspects of sinfulness that we may have taken for granted.Kierkegaard reminds us that our experience of the sensual is greatly altered when the idea of "sinfulness" is attached to it, while paradoxically our understanding the definition of "sin"is contingent upon our sensual experiences.In other words, sin is simultaneously a necessary force in establishing what we consider to be sensual, while also being somewhat dependent on pure sensuality in order to establish itself as sin.Kierkegaard also examines the linguistic factors that contribute to our understanding of sensuousness and sinfulness.Kierkegaard asks us, to what extent to we depend upon language in order to solidify these primal sensual experiences in our memories?This book deals brilliantly with the entire spectrum of interrelationships among pure sensuality, sin, guilt, langauge, and memory.Kierkegaard weaves a tapestry showing us how all of the afforementioned concepts are inextricably intertwined.In sum, the message Kierkegaard is trying to convey is the fact that sin, language, memory, and the sensual are connected in both the retroactive and premonitory sense.

Overall this book is absolutely fascinating.It is not puritanical or biased in the orthodox religious sense.It deals very fairly with the human experience of sin and guilt, and suggests that these types of feelings are essential to the basic experiences of memory, sentient consciousness, and temporal, existential being.Highly recommended to anyone who is willing to entertain the idea that sin is a basic building block of intelligent subjective experience. ... Read more

8. Soren Kierkegaard: A Biography
by Joakim Garff
Paperback: 896 Pages (2007-04-03)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$23.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691127883
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

"The day will come when not only my writings, but precisely my life--the intriguing secret of all the machinery--will be studied and studied." Søren Kierkegaard's remarkable combination of genius and peculiarity made this a fair if arrogant prediction. But Kierkegaard's life has been notoriously hard to study, so complex was the web of fact and fiction in his work. Joakim Garff's biography of Kierkegaard is thus a landmark achievement. A seamless blend of history, philosophy, and psychological insight, all conveyed with novelistic verve, this is the most comprehensive and penetrating account yet written of the life and works of the enigmatic Dane who changed the course of intellectual history.

Garff portrays Kierkegaard not as the all-controlling impresario behind some of the most important works of modern philosophy and religious thought--books credited with founding existentialism and prefiguring postmodernism--but rather as a man whose writings came to control him. Kierkegaard saw himself as a vessel for his writings, a tool in the hand of God, and eventually as a martyr singled out to call for the end of "Christendom." Garff explores the events and relationships that formed Kierkegaard, including his guilt-ridden relationship with his father, his rivalry with his brother, and his famously tortured relationship with his fiancée Regine Olsen. He recreates the squalor and splendor of Golden Age Copenhagen and the intellectual milieu in which Kierkegaard found himself increasingly embattled and mercilessly caricatured.

Acclaimed as a major cultural event on its publication in Denmark in 2000, this book, here presented in an exceptionally crisp and elegant translation, will be the definitive account of Kierkegaard's life for years to come.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars A grounded view of Soren Kierkegaard
No matter what readers think about the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard, they will no doubt have a different opinion of the man after reading this book. Written in a spirit that is critical but always respectful, the author has presented a view of Soren Kierkegaard that is more "grounded" in that it puts him in the context of his times and his geography. The usual portrayal of Kierkegaard is one of a detached, self-absorbed acetic, but this author reminds the reader of his frequent foot excursions on the streets of Copenhagen, and his intense and sadistic word salad when confronting the criticisms of Jakob Mynster, Hans Martensen, and Nikolai Grundtvig.

How Kierkegaard dealt with these individuals comes off as incredibly juvenile, and given his frequent imputed genius, he would have been better off to completely ignore them. But Kierkegaard's emotional sensitivities and insecurities in this context should not be too surprising if one takes cognizance of his penchant for writing under a pseudonym. Such cowardice on his part is matched by the anonymous reviewers of today's world, but it is doubtful Kierkegaard would find kinship with these individuals. He was too serious about himself and the literary doctrinaire that he put on paper, and as this book reveals in great detail, he scolded the careerists and reputation-seeking sycophants of his time. He referred to educators as being the "shallowest of people" who possess nothing but "fragmentary knowledge." And assistant professors are doing nothing but "wagging their fingers" and who are unwilling to take their teachings seriously and "deal with every danger." And along these same lines, a concentrated reading of his works, coupled with a study of this biography, will reveal a continuity in his thinking, and not just the ramblings of an intellectual recluse who at times found himself in the limelight due to the superficial ridicule of the periodical "The Corsair".

Kierkegaard's politics is more difficult to decipher from a study of this book, and seems at times contradictory and confused. On the one hand he is taking the "common people" as his own, and on the other he is deploring the person who "wants the approval of the crowd", lest he succumb to creating sensational "half-hour" performances. One section of the book is devoted to Kierkegaard's view of "a people's government is the true image of hell." Democracy is referred to as "leveling" and the author submits to the reader the proposition that Kierkegaard upheld the belief in "enlightened absolutism." This is all shocking of course to those readers who insist on believing that true intellectuals must always be antithetic to the state.

From a reading of the book one can get the impression that Kierkegaard was very wealthy, but the author reminds us that his actual financial position cannot be ascertained with any certainty because of the lack of surviving records. Kierkegaard definitely did not want to create the impression that he was living extravagantly. Indeed his harsh criticisms of the leaders of Christendom frequently revolved around their excesses in consumption. But apparently a few around Kierkegaard thought that he was living close to or beyond his means, one remarking of the "astounding sums" he spent maintaining his lifestyle. Indeed, there are many places in the book that disrupt one's view of Kierkegaard living a tortured existence, a description that one frequently finds in the philosophy textbooks of today. At any rate, Kierkegaard, like any author who publishes for a public audience, has to face up to the plastic faces, fakeries, and "high culture" of the marketing profession, and deal with the frequent exaggerations and heavy "weight of the advertisement."

Kierkegaard was not compatible with university life in his time nor would he be today. Today's universities, prone as they are to organized and dry scholarship, would, like Poul Moller, characterize Kierkegaard's writings as "chaotic literature" and would endeavor to strip it of any "academic respectability." Even the modern French school of deconstruction, who might find a slight intersection with Kierkegaard's literary musings, would be irritated at his Christian faith, and would not let him inhabit the logospheres of twisted logic that it has constructed.Contemporary neuroscientists would be very interested in Kierkegaard however, and the author is aware of this, devoting some space in the book to the neuronal origins of "hypergraphia," with the attending speculations on whether indeed Kierkegaard suffered from this. Kierkegaard spoke of the "sensual pleasure of (literary) productivity" and in this regard cognitive neuroscience is well equipped to interpret Kierkegaard, not from the standpoint of the quality of his writings, but from the standpoint of his brain.

Brought out with great skill by the author, it is Kierkegaard's relationship with Regine that is the most heartbreaking of all the personal perturbations throughout his lifetime. Readers will want to insist on their marriage, or at least a torrential and long-lasting horizontal indulgence in Kierkegaard's apartment. But such connections did not happen, and Kierkegaard's sexual silence, despite his meanderings in "The Seducer's Diary," is a source of speculation on what kind of person he would have been if would have conspired with the Serpent, however difficult he viewed the intentions of this mythical animal, to paraphrase the author. One wonders what his progeny would have been like.

5-0 out of 5 stars awesome
this is a perfect book. i can only imagine how wonderfully garff's danish version reads--and even moreso, fantasize what kierkegaard's original danish prose reads like--but kirmmse's translation is masterful.

and what is most impressive is soren kierkegaard and his existence, and the meticulous attention paid by garff in his compelling presentation.

it is hardly conceivable to imagine a more accomplished biography of a singular, complex and fascinating thinker---"author" "poet"

i'm sure all the other reviews are just as glowing. on the book jacket a reviewer simply concludes: "Read, read, read." it's that good. and edifying.

5-0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book
My husband is reading this aloud to me. Although it is taking us a long time, we are close to the end now. It has been an incredible read and is written in a very accessible style.
It has been a really great book to read aloud as the translation is beautifully done and the humor, both of the subject (Kierkegaard) and the biographer (Garff) shines through in every chapter. The translator (Kirmmse) must be very gifted.
I would recommend this book to any student of history, theology, or modern thought and literature. Kierkegaard was a remarkable thinker and his humanity, genius, and foibles as a human being are evident in his own writings and in this beautiful and mesmerizing biography.

5-0 out of 5 stars On the basis of a bit - a broad judgment that this is the major biography
I have read a number of reviews of this book. They are unanimous in acclaiming it the definitive Kierkegaard biography, both in its comprehensiveness and its readability. It tells the story of Kierkegaard's life year by year, with special emphasis on what happens from 1835 when he was twenty- two to his death in 1855. The biography places special emphasis on the literary poetic Kierkegaard. It does not interpret in depth his varied and paradoxical philosophical and religious works. It does however provide the valuable biographical information which can enable us to better understand those works.
Mankind has few geniuses and when they come along they shock us into a new awareness. It is possible to argue that where Kierkegaard most shocked was in his emphasis on the 'lived life' the 'real experience' the 'authentic encounter with God' .And this as opposed to the false, formal and protected encounter.
This of course is the major reason why the Existensialists, including the atheist Sartre could find a true predecessor in him.
Kierkegaard 's labors in decrowning Hegel, and in showing the official Church to be at odds with the true experiencing of Christianity were couched in a language, ironic, paradoxical, parabolic and witty. The pseudonymous authors who spoke for various sides of his personality enabled him to express sides of a personality which always wished to remain somewhat hidden, secret and mysterious.
I have read only a small part of this work and am very eager to read more. And this because Kierkegaard like Kafkais one of those thinker- poets one of those supreme individual masters of their own way of writing in the world as to to seem to me as for so many others, a true spiritual forbearer.

5-0 out of 5 stars the new sk gold standard
First published in Denmark in 2000, Joakim Garff's massive and monumental biography of the "melancholy Dane" makes its English debut just in time to commemorate Kierkegaard's death exactly 150 years ago ( November 11, 1855). Anyone who has taken a college freshman class in western civilization or philosophy has a vague familiarity with the name, if not his thought, and some have even dared to tackle his complicated and brilliant work of "indirect" communication via pseudonyms and his later "direct" (and was it ever direct!) communication under his own name. In grad school I took a turn at Kierkegaard, and even now in my office there hangs a poem by him thanks to my wife's calligraphy:

Herr! gieb uns blöde Augen (Lord, give us weak eyes)
für Dinge, die nichts taugen, (for things that do not matter)
und Augen voller Klarheit (and eyes full of clarity)
in alle deine Wahrheit! (in all your truth!)

Kierkegaard prefaced his work The Sickness Unto Death with this prayer-poem.

Although a wild diversity of interpreters from existentialism to deconstructionism has claimed Kierkegaard as their own, and although SK's personality and complex oeuvre present any biographer with an extraordinarily difficult task, Garff shows that he is rightly understood as an artist-poet whose focus was distinctly and deliberately religious. He treats the reader to large doses of SK himself, and reviews all his major writings and journals, focusing on Kierkegaard's life and not really his thought. In this sense he treats Kierkegaard personally rather than intellectually or theologically. He starts with his early years, and proceeds year by year. I would have enjoyed an epilogue that took a stab at Kierkegaard's ecclesiastical, pastoral, and theological legacy. How did a writer in backwater Denmark whose books had print runs of 500 copies (only one of which sold out), whose grave remained unmarked for twenty years after his death, and who barely traveled, emerge as one of the most seminal thinkers of Christian history?

Throughout his short life (1813-1855) Kierkegaard battled a pronounced and chronic melancholia that resulted from a number of factors--his pietistic and stern father, his public humiliation in Copenhagen's rollicking newspaper the Corsair, his sense of victimization, his scathing denunciation of the Church of Denmark's chief bishop (Mynster), and his broken engagement with Regina Olsen. His hypochondria did not help, nor did his estrangement from his lone surviving sibling (his five siblings and mother all died by the time Kierkegaard was about 20). For much of his life, he tells us, through a monumental effort of repression, diversion, and displacement, Kierkegaard distracted and protected himself from his melancholia through his prodigious writing. And there is no doubt that his melancholia served as a fund for enormous artistic creativity and interior reflection (a fact not lost on psychiatrist Peter Kramer in his recent book Against Depression). Writing was his therapy, he once observed: "I saved my life by telling stories." Like Mozart, he just might have been the artistic genius whose sickly body could hardly contain its pulsating brilliance.

What infuriated Kierkegaard was pious pretense, intellectual sophistry, the evisceration of the radical Gospel, and a bourgeois religiosity that tamed Christianity of what he called its "terror." The state-paid clergy, he sneered, derived social and financial gain from the Gospel: "In the splendid cathedral, the high, well-born, highly honored, and worthy Geheime-General-Ober-Hof-Preacher, the chosen darling of the important people, steps before a select circle of the select, and movingly sermonizes on a text chosen by himself, namely, 'God has chosen the lowly and despised of the earth'--and no one laughs" (p. 773). Since no one laughed at the discrepancy between genuine Christianity and the pale imitation of cultural Christendom, Kierkegaard intended to provoke a collision or catastrophe between the two. This was train wreck by design. He was an agitator and pyromaniac who employed his literary brilliance to utilize satire as an act of arson: "I am the one who has set the fire in order to smoke out illusions and trickery" (p. 774).

Garff honors his subject but does not ignore his faults. Kierkegaard could be unctuous, petty, shrill, cynical, inaccessible to anyone he did not care to see, and vindictive. One subject of his lethal pen lamented, "he could make you feel small." His father was one of the wealthiest people in Denmark, and it was not lost on his critics that Kierkegaard never worked while he enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle. But he had little money at his death, and financed most of his own publications. One observer complained that while Jesus cried over Jerusalem, Kierkegaard employed dripping sarcasm to laugh at the church.

There is something like a scorched-earth smell in Kierkegaard. It is hardly news that the church "swarms with many faults" (John Calvin). I rather like the choice of the feminist Catholic writer Joan Chittister who describes herself as a "loyal member of a dysfunctional family." Still, we can thank Kierkegaard for never letting us forget the ideal, how far and so self-servingly we fail it, and forcing us to consider what it might mean for each one of us as a "single individual" whom he addressed. ... Read more

9. The Sickness unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition of Edification & Awakening by Anti-Climacus (Penguin Classics)
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 192 Pages (1989-08-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$8.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140445331
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
One of the most remarkable philosophical works of the nineteenth century, "The Sickness Unto Death" is also famed for the depth and acuity of its modern psychological insights. Writing under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, Kierkegaard explores the concept of 'despair', alerting readers to the diversity of ways in which they may be described as living in this state of bleak abandonment - including some that may seem just the opposite - and offering a much-discussed formula for the eradication of despair. With its penetrating account of the self, this late work by Kierkegaard was hugely influential upon twentieth-century philosophers including Karl Jaspers, Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. "The Sickness unto Death" can be regarded as one of the key works of theistic existentialist thought - a brilliant and revelatory answer to one man's struggle to fill the spiritual void. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

The Sickness Unto Death:
A Christian Psychological Exposition
for Edification and Awakening
by Anti-Climacus; 'edited' by S. Kierkegaard

Original Danish edition, 1849
Translated with an introduction and notes by Alastair Hannay
(London: UK: Penguin Books, 1989) 179 pages
(ISBN 0-14-044533-1; paperback)
(Library of Congress call number: BT715.K5313 1989)

This reviewer prefers this translation of The Sickness Unto Death,
not because it is necessarily the most accurate translation.
That designation perhaps belongs to Howard & Edna Hong,
The Sickness Unto Death
Kierkegaard's Writings, XIX, 201 pages
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1980) (ISBN: 0691072477).
But I find the Hannay translation easiest to read in English.
I need not say much here about this book
because one chapter of my own book on
Our Existential Predicament
is an interpretation of this book by Kierkegaard.
If you would like to see the first pages of this chapter,
search the Internet for the following exact title:
"Existential Splitting: Søren Kierkegaard's Sickness Unto Death".

The particular form of our Existential Malaise
dealt with in this book I call "existential splitting".
It could also be called "existential fragmentation".
Altho this is another very difficult book by SK,
it was one of the first to peer deeply into our Existential Dilemma.
It is a product of SK's mature thinking,
and therefore it should be read
by any serious student of existential spirituality.

If you are a serious searcher, here is your key to the Internet:
Search this exact expression: "Books on Existential Spirituality".

James Leonard Park, seeker on the path of existential spirituality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Kierkegaard never ceases to amaze. An exploration of despair in its various forms, and the opposite, faith.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-read!
This book is a must-read for everyone who claims to be Christian or have Christian values. It is a fascinating read for those who are agnostic or atheist as well, although I understand that a lot of atheists do not like to read it. If you are Christian, it will help you gain more insight and a more intellectual approach to your faith and applications for daily life/dealing with situations. If you are atheist, perhaps it can help you resolve some of your issues with religion or to help you see a more intellectual approach to religion other than the bible-verse screamers or other hard-core (and offensive) religious folk out there (just so you can get an understanding of people with religious/faith-based beliefs). I think there are lessons to be learned from it whether you are Christian or not. It gives information on how to live your life to the fullest regardless of what you believe, and will help you make more thoughtful, intelligent choices in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing
Please indulge me only a brief autobiographical reflection on this singularly impressive work of the great Dane.

I was assigned this book in the spring of 1976 for a History of Modern Philosophy course at the University of Northern Colorado. Having cut my philosophical teeth on Nietzsche, Marx, and Freud, and being in the heady environment of the state university (albeit not a distingushed one), I had, in a protracted fit of post-adolescent pseudo-intellectualism, thrown of the light religion of my youth and was endeavoring to embrace atheism. Thank God, I would eventually fail in this.

I wrote a short essay against SK for my class, but had not taken on this formidable volume, relying only on secondary sources. But then one night, after a bizarre dream that covertyly indicated my alienation from God, I picked up the book and began reading--not at the beginning, but at a random place. Then the book began to read me. It explained my "despair" as form of rebellion against God. "Defiant despair" is what SK called it: despair that finds its meaning in being miserable in its rebellion against God. He called it the most "potentiated" (or full-bloodied) form of despair.

I saw myself in the dense and psychologically thick description. SK read my soul in Christian terms, and it disarmed and alarmed me. This marked a turning point; about a month later, I gave up this despair and instead embraced the Christian message. A few years later I taught through this demanding and rewarding book in a class at the University of Oregon--the only time I have done so in all my years of teaching.

I part company with SK's rejection of rational apologetics (natural theology and historical evidences for Christianity); however, his divination of the soul, his art of uncovering the soul's escape mechanisms, his ability to bring one before God through this writing...is uncanny. Call it subjective apologetics. Call it brilliant.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sickness unto Death
The universal ethical truth, seeing others in their true light or darkness, and true faith, (not the modern version of faith) is what you will get from this read.

One will come away from this extraordinary book with a realization that there is a universal truth and that the only way to fully grasp it is to put oneself totally in Gods hands, and realize that it is he not we who are in control. This book will bring about inter contemplation and seeking which will strengthen ones ability to help find ones true self. In doing so it will help you shread any vestiage of the modern faith which is devoid of seeking truth.

If you want an affirmation of your true inter-self to surface then I highly recomend this book. ... Read more

10. Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing
by Sören Kierkegaard
Paperback: 122 Pages (2009-10-20)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
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Asin: 1449563864
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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"Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing," by Sören Kierkegaard, is considered a devotional classic. Through irony, dialogue, and parable, Kierkegaard slices through the masks and fascades we construct that delude us into thinking that all is well with our soul. With the skill and precision of a surgeon's hand, Kierkegaard opens up the true condition of our motivations in life and faith. Kierkegaard is not afraid to stare in the face the dark side of our humanity. In "Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing" we see that only through this brutal honesty can we become our true selves and find healing. Kierkegaard boldly asserts that only by joining with providence and the Great Physician's hand can we "will one thing"--the good. The good is all that is true, eternal, and authentic. The good is all that comes from God. As with all of Kierkegaard's works, "Purity of Heart" makes for worthy reading which will provoke and challenge you. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars The argument against double-mindedness
In a world benighted by multi-tasking and information overload, Kierkegaard shows us the importance of single-mindedness. Christ was single-minded; his unswerving desire to do only the will of God the Father defined his life completely. If we wish to follow Jesus faithfully - if we wish to be holy - we must understand the necessity of willing only one thing. To will only one thing, which one thing is the good, is to be pure of heart. Kierkegaard shows that to will anything other than the good ( i.e., the very will of God ) is actually to will more than one thing, and to be double-minded. One of Kierkegaard's most convincing and accessible arguments in the philosophy of religion.

5-0 out of 5 stars Timeless & Challenging
In an age of popular books on self improvement that concentrate on listing habits and prescribing do's and dont's, here is a work that brings matters upstream into the inner landscape of human motivation and will. The existentialist Soren Kierkegaard has left us a challenging, provoking and truthful examination of the heart and mind, from which ensue all of the popular habits and prescriptions. What is double mindedness? How is it formed, and what does it look like? What is the ultimate goal and purpose of the countless habits and traits we read about? How are our deepest motivations and ambitions conflicted, and what duplicitous damage is caused by those inner conflicts? Thousands of books are transactional; this one is transformational. Though not an easy read, Purity of Heart draws the complexity of modern behavioral science into its single common denominator. This book can help to renew one's mind and change one's outlook on life.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you can only read one, this is the one!
Kiekegaard offers the "one thing" (see City Slickers).

5-0 out of 5 stars Relentless
Coming from a reformed Christian perspective with very little exposure to Kierkegaard, I was sometimes puzzled by this book but mostly challenged in my spiritual life, relentlessly so.This book made Puritan introspection seem comparatively shallow.If you are looking for extreme depth, you've got it here.He is exploring the idea of double-mindedness found in book of James to prepare the Christian for confession. This work asks questions you may have never thought to ask.Of course he is trying to get the individual to spiritually be laid bare before God in his double-mindedness.Is the work without hope since it should drive the honest person to despair in his own heart's purity?I don't believe the book is without hope. Christ is in there a few times in direct reference, but mostly assumed or implied..in the gaping hole created by our ties to the temporal and lack of eternal-mindedness and inability to truly will one thing.As spiritual shock-therapy, it works for me.It is my second read, the first being in college nearly 20 years ago.Had a similar effect then, but it is still the only Kierkegaard book I've ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars woody allen?
I'm dumbfounded that "rob" compared Kierkegaard with Woody Allen. Purity of Heart is all about the purpose and MEANING of existence. It's about reconciliation to the eternal. Woody Allen has no knowledge of the eternal. He's a silly little pundit using philosophy as a means to distract him from utter boredom and complacency. In his films he may drop references and allude to Sartre, Heidegger, Camu and the rest of the existentialists--but that's all he does. He's a geek for philosophy. He doesn't expound upon what they have said. He doesn't challenge them. He just collects their ideas and spreads them out on a table to gaze at. Kierkegaard is much different. ... Read more

11. Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 429 Pages (2003-10)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$15.40
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Asin: 1570755132
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The purpose of this new collection is two fold. First, to makeKierkegaard accessible; second, to present in as concise a waypossible his "heart," his core themes, and his passion. Divided into sixsections, Provocations contains a little of everything fromKierkegaard's prodigious output, including his famously cantankerous(yet wryly humorous) attacks on what he calls the "mediocre shell" ofconventional Christianity, his brilliantly pithy parables, and hisincisive attempts to dig through the fluff of theology and clear a wayfor the basics: decisiveness, obedience,and recognition of the truth.

Arguably the most accessible Kierkegaard volume to be published indecades, Provocations is a must for every serious reader. Indeed, thewealth of sayings and aphorisms collected in one of the sections isreason enough to buy the book. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Better than you think
I am only about 1/5 of the way through the book so far but have found it quite insightful and very enjoyable.It seems to be a very good introduction into the works of Kierkegaard, which is what I was looking for.

4-0 out of 5 stars A correction to a one-star review
I have nothing to add regarding the "dumbing down" of SK. Sure, it's better to read him in full, but a reader would have to be very dumb indeed to think that this highly edited collection is pure Kierkegaard. It is an excellent introduction to his religious works -- if you accept introductions like this in the first place.

My main complaint and correction is to the reviewer who claims that this book is unsourced. Every single selection is sourced with the page number(s), edition, and translator(s) of the original work whence the selection is pulled. The sources are well-indexed, easily found in the back of the book. In addition, the Hong & Hong translations the reviewer calls authoritative (and which, he claims, are not used in this book) are in wide use throughout Provocations! If this book was truly unsourced, it would be a huge problem; only, that's not the case.

1-0 out of 5 stars Kierkegaard goes Chicken Soup
The writings of Søren Kierkegaard practically demand an initiation into the pseudonyms, the journals, the philosophy of his age. This book has none of that.

Contrary to the other one-star review, I believe there is room for books which anthologize and introduce Kierkegaard in a more accessible form, as long as they have as their goal the introduction of his actual work. This book seems to serve only to take Kierkegaard out of context enough to justify a sort of quietist Protestant radicalism of a strange sort. Reading Kierkegaard's biography, and taking his work out of context, many readers think that that was his goal, and collections like this (and the people who like to use them) only make it worse. Furthermore, the translations are often sketchy; they are quite different from the authoritative Hong & Hong English translations.

To make the book truly awful, though, the author has decided not to source a single quote in the entire work.No reader approaching Kierkegaard through this work will have any easy way to place any of the selections back into context, especially as much of it does come form minor works. Shamelessly quoting all the pseudonyms as if they were one voice is bad enough, leaving no way of finding out who said what for the neophyte is unforgivable. Avoid this work at all costs, and don't buy it in ignorance for a friend you wish to introduce to the great Dane.

1-0 out of 5 stars An Flawed Book, an Act of Betrayal
First off, I do not deny that this book can be used as food for thought. The diluted Kierkegaard ("K")can be used to stimulate and perhaps enrich your Christian experience. I have read many of the selections and found some them to be quite excellent.
****BUT**** this author, who seemingly has no shame, no discernment, no respect for K, should make clear in its introduction that this kind of diluted, dumbed down, and just plain twisted version of K. is exactly what he would have despised. This is pablum Christianity. This is the yellow brick road and the path of ease. THIS BOOK STABS KIERKEGAARD IN THE BACKIt is like Cliff Notes or Sparks guides--actually it is far worse. Readers may read this book and think they have encountered K., but they haven't and this book subverts K's actual intentions and his writings.

There should be a subtitle, "The book Kierkegaard would have hated." Taking bits and pieces of his writing and rewriting them to make them accessible is heresy and complete betrayal of K. The worst section, the last is recommended by the author as something to be read first. NO, the last section is the worst of the worst.

Also, C. Stephen Evans can not be more wrong when he states in a blurb for this book that people "will surely be led by these selections to read the whole works from which they were taken."If someone reads this book and then turns to K's actual writing, he will almost certainly be repelled by its difficulty and its difference from the tepid prose of Provocations. Reading this book is a virtual guaranty that the reader will never be able to read K.'s works. I don't know how Professor Evans has taught K. in the past to his students, but, quite frankly, I wonder if he used this kind of book in his class. I really doubt it.

I believe this has to be one of the worst books ever written. Kierkegaard didn't want or expect a large audience. Remember the "narrow way" of the Bible. I do not condemn all books on K.--many books, by scholars and intelligent explicaters, can help a reader understand Kierkegaard's writings.Prof Evans has written a few of these books. But this book is anathema to K. and his actual writing. It is simply wrong.

5-0 out of 5 stars A must read
This book has been the most influential religious book that I have read. I think I've read it cover to cover 4 times, and I have 3 copies -- all ripped up with highlights and underlines. He can be dramatic and extreme at times, but I find him to be more motivating than any other theologian. He demands real authentic faith coupled with action. I can't get enough. This books makes Kierkegaard easy enough for any reader to understand. ... Read more

12. Daily Readings With Soren Kierkegaard (Daily Readings Series)
by Soren Kierkegaard, Robert Van De Weyer
 Paperback: 95 Pages (1995-10)
list price: US$4.95 -- used & new: US$4.95
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Asin: 0872432114
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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5-0 out of 5 stars Hard thoughts on love and Christianity
The first, fitting words from the Danish philosopher we see are:

"The whole of existence frightens me, from the smallest fly to the mystery of the Incarnation."

These themes - Kierkegaard's fear and grief, contempt and anger, his view of things as they are and his hope of what they could be - are deeply enmeshed in these few excerpts from the philosopher's journals.Kierkegaard was, like most people, a person of contradictions - a man striving for faith and closeness to God, even as he finds himself frequenting bars and brothels.

Composed of 60 excerpts from Kierkegaard's journals, this book is divided into sections labelled Personal Reflections, The Leap of Faith, Works of Love, Training in Christianity, Attack on Christendom, and Prayers.Most of the excerpts are his thoughts on Christianity and Christ as human and divine, but there is plenty for non-Christians to think on.In his section on Works of Love, emotional, or passionate, love is compared with everlasting love.The first, says Kierkegaard, fools us into believing it is the stronger, for it burns bright; as time moves on, though, jealousy and habit can turn such passionate love into hate or contempt.In The Leap of Faith section, Kierkegaard speaks to every person who believes in God or things beyond rational experience.

Most of these selections seem negative, depressing in their view of people seeking comfort in their outward shows, content not to probe too far into truth, but a ribbon of hope and yearning laces through it all.In hopeful yearning, Kierkegaard reaches for God, wondering at the Infinite and the mercy it promises.For all these human failings, one is reminded that forgiveness is promised. For all the distance between people and God, Kierkegaard finds hope in Christ, God reaching out for humanity as humanity blindly gropes for God.

This is the first book I have read by Kierkegaard, and it read quickly, though the individual passages (each of which is a short paragraph) could each spawn individual books.This book will inspire your own meditations and prayers.I expecially recommend this book to Christians, though, as I said before, there is plenty for non-Christians to ponder.

Kierkegaard warns against those who cheat about life, "copying the answer out of a book, without having worked it out for themselves."If you copy from this book, cheater though you are, you will find new avenues to God and love. ... Read more

13. Either/Or: A Fragment of Life (Penguin Classics)
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 640 Pages (1992-12-01)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$10.37
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Asin: 0140445773
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In Either/Or, using the voices of two characters - the aesthetic young man of part one, called simply 'A', and the ethical Judge Vilhelm of the second section - Kierkegaard reflects upon the search for a meaningful existence, contemplating subjects as diverse as Mozart, drama, boredom, and, in the famous Seducer's Diary, the cynical seduction and ultimate rejection of a young, beautiful woman. A masterpiece of duality, Either/Or is a brilliant exploration of the conflict between the aesthetic and the ethical - both meditating ironically and seductively upon Epicurean pleasures, and eloquently expounding the noble virtues of a morally upstanding life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Not an easy read, but very interesting
This was Kierkegaard's first major work.It consists of two "parts": the first written by an aesthetic fellow named A and the second by an ethical fellow named Judge Vilhelm.The two parts are meant to show us the difference between the aesthetic and ethical modes of life.

The first half, written by the aesthete A, reveals the importance of the interesting to the aesthete.The aesthete is someone who has no higher purpose, but who simply seeks enjoyment.For them the interesting is the highest good, as it is the best road to enjoyment.The worst evil is boredom, so there is an entire chapter about how to avoid boredom by practicing the art of forgetting.There are a few essays about sorrow and the erotic, in which Don Giovanni is held up as the supreme example of the "immediate erotic" (immediate meaning in this case that his enjoyment is entirely in the moment, not in any sort of reflection).A reflects on differing types of sorrow, seeking to find the interesting in them.For the aesthete everything is fair game for finding enjoyment.The section concludes with the famous (or infamous) Diary of a Seducer, in which Johannes the Seducer keeps a diary as he seduces an innocent young woman, whose love he sacrafices at the alter of the interesting.

The second half is by Judge Vilhelm, who is attempting to convert A to the ethical mode of life.Just as A's half focused on the preference of seduction and the erotic to marriage, Vilhelm seeks to justify marriage.Surprisingly, he tries to justify marriage on aesthetic grounds before moving on to discuss the virtues of marriage from the ethical view of life.While A's writing style is witty and sarcastic, Vilhelm's style can be described as nothing short of boring.His "letters" are in the form of dry, extended essays which tax the readers endurance.

Kierkegaard hides himself behind his pseudonyms, as he does in many of his books.The main point, as far as I could tell, was that from the aesthetic mode of life there appears to be a great Either/Or between aesthetic pleasure and ethical purpose and higher cause.This Either/Or is false, however, because if one is in the ethical mode of life it is not an either/or but a both/and.This is because the aesthetic mode of life is both superceded by and contained within the ethical mode of life, which is why Vilhelm defends marriage first from an aesthetic view.Kierkegaard argues (indirectly) that the aesthitic goal is only achievable in the ethical mode of life, so that the aesthetic mode is not only lower, but cannot even achieve its lower goal.

This is definitely an interesting book, though its length and inpenetrability make it very tedious at times.The first half is mildy enjoyable to read (though often frustratingly vague), but the second half is extremely tedious (though ofter a bit clearer).I would definitely recommend the Penguin edition over the Hong edition, as it has cut out a few essays from the second half, which must have been tremendously tedious if they were cut out instead of the ones left in.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's not one or the other
Either/or is two parts in which Kierkegaard used different false names or pseudonyms. The first part discusses the aesthetic or personal experience, where imagination is the most powerful factor of aesthetic pleasure. For the aesthetic, imagination is the only way to break the boredom barrier just as Don Juan avoided repetition of the love act with the same woman in order to break the dullness of repetition. In that way, the aesthetic hunger for pleasure leads to the same void of repetition by seeking a way out of it.
Not to spoil the book for readers, but the last section of the first part of either/or "the diary of the seducer" is a very interesting diary in which the character tries to avoid the climax of a relationship with a woman he desires because of the fear of emptiness in relationships. Imagination to the seducer is the only way to maximize his aesthetic pleasure, while the success of the seduction will definitely end the adventure and the prey should be replaced by a more difficult one.

The second part, which deals with the ethical, or supposedly a higher form of existence, takes the form of letters written by different characters as a response to the first part where reason not seduction is used to defend values, relationships, and the pleasure of having a monogamous soul mate. The argument in this section promises greater fulfillment from devotion to higher morals which ultimately lead to a deeper aesthetic pleasure.

It's widely thought that the discussion of the aesthetic and the ethical is a reflection of Kierkegaard's own confusion, especially after ending his engagement with the love of his life Regine Olsen, just as the seducer of either/or did. I, personally, think that Kierkegaard's either/or is a mature analysis of human nature and acknowledgment of both ethical and aesthetic sides of each individual.
Kierkegaard shows the inconsistencies of both positions, the void in human reasoning in both cases and eventually he acknowledges that faith in God is the only way to avoid unhappiness. While Kierkegaard acknowledges religion on a personal level, he still condemns it on a society or church level.

Either/or might be a projection of Kierkegaard's own spiritual and philosophical beliefs, or a result of his own experience with loved ones, or an act of frustration against society and church. In any case, I think either/or, though a difficult read, is a very engaging interesting work that deserves your time and attention.

4-0 out of 5 stars Copious literacuity
As Soren is, arching literarily, trop acute.Often edifying, slightly hilarious.This collection kaleidoscopic.Gay alto lank.Solo writhing smoking tea.I would propose it to HE whom seul desirs richer marryhoods, way.

2-0 out of 5 stars Abridged, with no warning on the front
I mistakenly purchased this without noticing it was abridged. It seems dishonest to only mark this on the back but not the front of the text.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Good
I must admit that I have not completed this book yet. But, what I have read is the most wonderful work of all time. It is philosophy that reads as fiction and fiction that reads as genius.

An undergrad like me cannot do it justice in a review. So, I will let it speak for itself, but buy it. It is wondrous. ... Read more

14. The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 304 Pages (2004-07-06)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$14.95
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Asin: 069102085X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Who might reasonably be nominated as the funniest philosopher of all time? With this anthology, Thomas Oden provisionally declares Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855)--despite his enduring stereotype as the melancholy, despairing Dane--as, among philosophers, the most amusing.

Kierkegaard not only explored comic perception to its depths but also practiced the art of comedy as astutely as any writer of his time. This collection shows how his theory of comedy is integrated into his practice of comic perception, and how both are integral to his entire authorship.

Kierkegaard's humor ranges from the droll to the rollicking; from farce to intricate, subtle analysis; from nimble stories to amusing aphorisms. In these pages you are invited to meet the wife of an author who burned her husband's manuscript and a businessman who, even with an abundance of calling cards, forgot his own name. You will hear of an interminable vacillator whom archeologists found still pacing thousands of years later, trying to come to a decision. Then there is the emperor who became a barkeeper in order to stay in the know.

The Humor of Kierkegaard is for anyone ready to be amused by human follies. Those new to Kierkegaard will discover a dazzling mind worth meeting. Those already familiar with his theory of comedy will be delighted to see it concisely set forth and exemplified. Others may have read Kierkegaard intensively without having ever really noticed his comic side. Here they will find what they have been missing. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Ageless Wisdom - Arcane Humor
If you buy this book looking for a few belly laughs, FORGET IT.
Like all of Kierkegaard this book is an exertion in understanding.
Once you've successfully deciphered the point of his parable and you've recognized what at one time passed for biting huomorous satire; it's too late to laugh.It may cause you to raise a smile, but that will be about it. Having once dived into a book on Abraham Lincoln's humor, alleged to be a real wit in case you've didn't know,I had this SAME PROBLEM -- not funny now.This book is a nice addition for anyone growing a Kierkegaard collection but definitely not advisable as a first purchase. I suggest you read at least three other works by this genius first.He is a very deep thinker, that is for sure. If sorting out 19th century Danish humor is your thing; then this book is an okay book, worthwhile but it is still not a great book. However if this is your first go at Soren Kierkegaard, I would definitely vote to pass.Sorry?

5-0 out of 5 stars The wit and irony which will make you smile
The editor of this book says it is not meant to present a systematic , serious investigation of Kierkegaard's humor. Rather it is presented for the general reader as a kind of introduction to Kierkegaard, and his droll, imaginative humor which the editor believes is the greatest of any philosopher.
Having read a fair amount of Kierkegaard in my time I would say that his humor is real, ironic and smile- raising. It will not get anyone rolling in the aisles.
Yet the wit, again the irony do help make Kierkegaard an amusing writer- and this when his emotional range goes far beyond this.
... Read more

15. Soren Kierkegaard: The Mystique Of Prayer & Pray-er
by George K. Bowers
Perfect Paperback: 143 Pages (1995-01-01)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$14.95
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Asin: 0788003011
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Prayers of Kierkegeaard never before translated into English with special permission of the Det kongelige Bibliotek, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Translated by Lois S. Bowers and Edited by George K. Bowers

Here, for the first time in English translation, are original prayers of Soren Kierkegaard. In this volume is a rare look at the private spiritual life of the respected philosopher and theologian. Not only does it contain over 70 pages of Kierkegaard's prayers, it also reveals his view on the nature of prayer -- a spiritual gold mine to any believer.

The first ten chapters are the actual translated prayers of SK. Chapters 11-14 are commentaries and prayers written by editor George Bowers which were inspired by the Dane.

This memorable work of Dr. Bowers is not the usual thesis and antithesis of the critic but an original, perhaps even new, literary genre of writing that is more akin to a duet. Bowers moves along with Kierkegaard in a strange and fascinating twosome playing bright, confident, and affirming notes in harmony with Kierkegaard's dark and tantalizing notes of paradox.
V. Truman Jordahl, Ph.D.
Emeritus Chairman
Department of Philosophy and religion
Roanoke College

We are grateful to the Bowers for this timely piece on Kierkegaard on a theme (prayer) which pushes to the heart of his thought and faith. Perhaps, the best use for this book would be as a spiritual primer of its meaning and practice.
Lawrence D. Folkemer, Ph.D.
Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology
Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg

George K. Bowers, a Lutheran pastor, has lectured at Bucknell University and served for 15 years as an adjunct professor at Roanoke College in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Department of Languages. He has served pastorates in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Lois S. Bowers has taught language and literature at various schools in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
... Read more

16. Fear and Trembling/Repetition : Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol. 6
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 464 Pages (1983-06-01)
list price: US$26.95 -- used & new: US$14.00
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Asin: 0691020264
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A shining beacon in a sea of darkness.
When I first read Fear and Trembling way back in the Dark Ages of the late 'seventies, I was blown away. Righteousness in early Hebrew thought has little to do with rules and doctrine, but is rooted in the needs generated by the relationships we have with one another, and Fear and Trembling underscores this. It is easy to understand why the essay was given the title it was. For, as with Abraham, each of us is in absolute relationship with the Absolute, and Kierkegarrd sees Abraham as a knight of faith who clearly understands his priorities. What looks like insanity from a human makes complete sense from the perspective of the One called Elohim, and understanding this is both liberating and deeply troubling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Kierkegaard Reviewed
Deeply contoured personality, immeasurably insightful, Kierkegaard is known for being the father existentialism. Kierkegaard defines the self as a relation that relates itself to itself. According to Hubert Dreyfus, "That means that who I am depends on the stand I take on being a self. Moreover, how I interpret myself is not a question of what I think, but of what I do."

Kierkegaard thus opposes the traditional philosophical methodology of detached analysis and uninvolved reflection. Kierkegaard believes that our action, our involvement, and devotion to life constitute our authentic stand on the meaning of our lives. Consider Kierkegaard in the context of Augustine, Origen, and Aquinas who advocated the "vita beata" or the good life as a life of philosophical detachment. To them, the entanglements of family life present an unmixed bag of evils that "distract us from the uninterrupted contemplation of God."

Kierkegaard's leap of faith is an unconditional commitment to "a specific" in this life (a cause, person, purpose, etc.). That unconditional commitment gives our life meaning and fortifies us against despair. By virtue of the absurd, the Knight of Faith doubles down when no logical reason exists for doing so. Faith looks beyond reason into the absurd and makes a leap. By virtue of faith, the absurd becomes not only possible, but actual: job gets everything back, Abraham's aged wife bears a child, and finally, Abraham's son is saved. Without faith, our highest action and commitment is not possible and without this unconditional commitment, we cannot take a stand on the meaning of our lives. Life without meaning leads to despair.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yes, yes, yes (you must read this)...
Kierkegaard is more personality, more energy of being, more outward agony, than nearly anyone who has ever lived, and to read Kierkegaard for treatise more than his infectious spirit is to miss the cornerstone of his treatise: Life's enduring ecstasy is synonymous with personal involvement, even when that involvement is partially or inaccurately informed. In other words, Abraham may have been willing to kill his son (so, stop, apologetic churches, reading this story as Abraham's faith that Isaac would mysteriously be salvaged!) and definitely didn't give a damn about your religious/philosophical platitudes in such a case. In a post-9/11 universe, this story, or its darker interpretations, is particularly unpopular, but policy without a pinch of Kierkegaardian humility devolves the lot of us into people of spiteful assumption rather than devotion.

5-0 out of 5 stars sacrifice and loss
I am not able to comment on the accuracy or flow of the translation--the only Danish I know is the one that the kid from the mailroom used to bring by every morning--and so I am only able to engage the main ideas:faith.sacrifice.ethics. Each one negating the other, or at least any pair negating the third.Kierkegaard emphasizes that for faith we must sacrifice ethics because--as Job learned the hard way--God transcends morals.But it is also true that faith in ethics leads us to abandon sacrifice, as does an ethical interpretation of faith, and--perhaps most importantly--ethics can require that we sacrifice our faith.

I interpret this as meaning that on the one hand, we may find ourselves breaking our own laws to follow what we believe.For if you are pursuing something worth pursuing, and it happens to run beyond the law, are you going to abandon the chase?

But it is easy to break laws, and hard to break hearts (at least, that is, you must be hard to do so).And so doing the right thing in regards to your ethical understanding of action can lead you to sacrifice the mutual faith that you have with other people.In some ways, this is what Isaac confronts.The man on the way home sure of a steak dinner isn't a knight of faith--he is at best a pawn.Abraham too is not impressive here.What Isaac gave up was, so I have come to think after years of thought on the matter, much more weighty.He went up the mountain with faith in his father and in God; he was forced to sacrifice one to maintain the other.We will never know which.And that is the nature of love in a world in which doing the right thing is sure to involve breaking SOMEONE's law. [17]

5-0 out of 5 stars Theological Tour de Force
This edition of 'Fear and Trembling' is an excellently produced and translated edition, with the interesting and helpful prefaces and selections of journal quotes typical of the Writings series.

'Fear and Trembling' presents a very penetrating, and ultimately disturbing, investigation into the personal and 'existential' implications of the religious concept of faith, as illustrated by the story of Isaac's sacrifice in Genesis 22.

Reviewers like to analyse the text either in respect to the biography of Kierkegaard, or of his literary output (or in relation to the other book in this collect, 'Repetition'), which are fair enough, but nevertheless, this book stands on its own with the question of whether religious faith can be a 'teleological suspension of the ethical.'This sounds like it could be a tendious philosophical excercise, but his erudition and literary skill constantly defies ones attempt to reduce or domesticate the paradoxes which he throws forward to his reader.The text still today offers each reader a choice of his own. ... Read more

17. Kierkegaard's Attack Upon "Christendom" 1854-1855
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 336 Pages (1968-04-01)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$18.89
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Asin: 0691019509
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Typically Brilliant Kierkegaard
The first reviewer on this page "a reader" does a prefect job of summarizing "Attack Upon Christendom."

Though deadly serious in his attack, with the utmost reverance and love for faith in Jesus Christ SK comes out swinging. It is hard to imagine how much ridicule he endured for this series of articles and rebutals.

Perhaps my favorite aspect of this collection of writings is SK's absolutely brilliant use of metaphors, and his comical sarcasm.

As a Christian, this is a very difficult book to read, but one that is crucial to understanding Christianity in what SK labels "New Testament Christianity" terms. In the beginning of the book, Valdemar Ammundsen is quoted as giving us this haunting reminder:
"Where Kierkegaard is wrong, that goes on his account. Where Kierkegaard was right, the bill comes to us."

There is so much I would love to quote out of this collection, such as the metaphor of the "Obediant Hound," but I hope that anyone even considering reading this will do so and experience it for themselves.

By backing up all of his claims with consistent citing of the Bible and Christ Himself, SK forces us to consider things that have either been forgotten or overlooked in regards to being a Christian.

5-0 out of 5 stars "if only we call this Christianity, we can get away with it"
An excellent book written with the utmost reverence for God and truth, and yet also a devestating blow to Modern "Christendom" -- Kierkegaard passionately skewers hypocracy with his amazing talent. Readthis book if you want to be reminded that Christianity demands thefollowing of Christ and not the "buildingof sepulchers of theprophets and garnishing of the tombs of the righteous" that isentailed by "worshipping" Him in the hideous whitewashed spiresof "Christendom".

"As high as true Christianity standsabove all heresy and error and aberration, just so deep below all heresyand error and aberration lies [the] twaddle [ofChristendom]."

"Think now what passion there was in primativeChristianity, without which it never would have come into the world;propose to one of those figures the question, 'Dare a Christiantranquillize himself in this way?' 'Abominable,' he would reply, 'that aChristian... should tranquilly keep silent in the face of the fact that Godevery day is mocked by people pretending by millions to beChristians...'"

5-0 out of 5 stars The ultimate Conspiracy Theory
If you want to reassure yourself that Christianity is wrong or stupid or whatever, read Nietzsche's Antichrist. If you want to read something that actually frightens Christians, this is the book for you. The difference isKierkegaard is a Christian with extensive Church experience so unlikeNietzsche he knows where the bones are buried.

The whole thing amountsto an elaborate Conspiracy theory. In order to be rid of ChristianitySociety has not rejected it, but enthroned it. But in so doing created ahierarchy (the institutional Church) with the covert purpose of makingcertain that Christianity does not exist. Christianity is professed as theStateReligion. There are many civil servant employed to promote it. Thereis much Real Estate devoted to it. Church attendance is high. And, as aresult, Christianity is effectively nullified, because it actually existsnowhere.

One must remember that SK and Han Christian Andersen weredrinking buddies (they fell out when SK reviewed one of Andersen's novels)and SK here announces another naked emperor. In a Christian nation no oneis a Christian!

If you are just starting SK I suggest this book becausehere he is at his most open and "direct." Everything else hasdeep ironic undercurrents, but a "surface" reading of this one isprobably close to right.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and intelligent, although a bit repetitive...
Kierkaagard's Attack Upon "Christendom" was written, not as an attack upon Christianity as a whole, as many believe, but as an attack upon the Lutheran state religion present during his lifetime.He offers a greatdeal of evidence showing how the priests in his native Denmark are not, asthey believe, "Witnesses to the Truth", but are in fact liars whomislead the masses and merchants who have their careers (which is, in K.'sview, the wrong way to look at it) only to make money and have a royallysubsidized position.

All of this does, however, become somewhat prolix,as this book is actually just a series of articles and pamphlets that hewrote in a 2-year span, which were then combined into the present work. Still, though, this book is an enjoyable read, due to the satirical styleof K.'s writing and the, however arguable, relevance of the subject.Irecommend reading "Training in Christianity", though, as anintroduction to this book. ... Read more

18. Training in Christianity
by Soren Kierkegaard
Paperback: 320 Pages (2004-12-07)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.90
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Asin: 0375725644
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This indispensable guide to the search for kinship with God was written by the great nineteenth-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), whose writings set the stage for existentialism and continue to exert a lasting influence on believers and nonbelievers alike.

Kierkegaard struck out against all forms of established order–including the established church–that work to make men complacent with themselves and thereby obscure their personal responsibility to encounter God. He considered Training in Christianity his most important book. It represented his effort to replace what he believed had become "an amiable, sentimental paganism" with authentic Christianity. Kierkegaard's challenge to live out the implications of Christianity in the most personal decisions of life will greatly appeal to readers today who are trying to develop their personal integrity in accordance with the truths of revealed religion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars 5 Stars for Kiekegaard - 3 Stars for this edition
Rather than summarizing Kierkegaard's (or should I say, Anti-Climacus') major concepts, I'd like to comment strictly on this particular edition. I am disappointed with Walter Lowrie's translation here - it feels cumbersome and doesn't read as well as it should. While he provides some insightful editorial comments, this is an overall weak effort.

I would highly recommend choosing the Princeton edition translated by the two preeminent Kierkegaard scholars, Howard and Edna Hong. That IS the definitive edition. You'll notice even the title is translated differently as "Practice in Christianity". Seeing as their edition preceded the Lowrie translation, I wonder who even thought a new translation was necessary! I suppose there is a fairly high demand for Kierkegaard's main works in cheap paperback editions, but if you're going to go to the trouble to understand his profound philosophy, you might as well do it the right way with the definitive edition.

It's a bit more expensive, but in addition to a superior and much more readable translation, you get over one hundred pages of supplementary material including, most notably, entries from Kierkegaard's journals and papers pertaining to this work. Don't waste your time on a second-rate edition. Get the real thing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Training in Christianity
This is rather deep most of the time, but this is when we can learn new things which this book helps us do.It gives new insights into serving and living for Christ.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheer Poetry, and Honesty...
Read this book.Get this book if you can find it.You'll never hear a conservative "Christian" as an honest spokesman for "morality" and "Christianity" ever again. ... Read more

19. Philosophical Fragments
by Sören Kierkegaard
Paperback: 84 Pages (2009-09-02)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: 1449505899
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In PHILOSOPHICAL FRAGMENTS, Søren Kierkegaard (writing under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus), seeks to explain the nature of Christianity in such as way as to bring out its demands on the individual, and to emphasize its incompatibility with the theology based on the work of Hegel that was becoming progressively more influential in Denmark. If one were to read only two or three of Kierkegaard's works, this is unquestionably one of the ones to read. One cannot understand Kierkegaard's thought without reading this book, and along with its sequel represents the heart of what he was trying to achieve in what he called his "Authorship." Through PHILOSOPHICAL FRAGMENTS, Kierkegaard purports to present the logic of Christianity. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential Kierkegaard book
This is one of the best books Kierkegaard ever wrote. Writing under the pseudonym of Johannes Climacus, Kierkegaard emphasizes the demands of Christianity on the individual and seeks to present the logic of Christianity. In PHILOSOPHICAL FRAGMENTS, Kierkegaard teaches that Christianity is an event and not a set of teachings: the incarnation of God in Christ as opposed to the things he wanted to teach us. Kierkegaard also addresses the essential distinction between the Christ of Christianity and the Jesus of Hegel. PHILOSOPHICAL FRAGMENTS is essential Kierkegaard--as it is impossible to understand his thought without reading this book. ... Read more

20. The Concept of Anxiety (International Kierkegaard Commentary)
Hardcover: 203 Pages (1985-12)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$5.99
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Asin: 0865541426
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