sting a thing, be a thing, try a thing, fly a thing
do it now, around, into, all over, inside, about
create, connive, diatribe, rant, real self, not fake

truth, personal and espoused, conflicting and connecting
just be, who you are, what you are, when you are, now
be anything, in any place, that self you were meant to be

created, not known except by God, down deep, hidden
is that where we all live on a daily basis, set yourself free
be that part of yourself that is raw, uncut, unspoiled

be you now, be the best that you can be according to
your own needs, feelings, thoughts, interests, goals
be what you want to be, on a page, on a stage, in a room

be it, do it, feel it, find it, search for it if you have to,
research it, connect with it, dig deep down to the bone
really, who are you? where have you been, and where

are you going? right now, tomorrow, next week, not
yesterday or last year or last decade or last anything
who are you today? what is deep down inside of you,

aching to come out? crawling the edges of the chasm
that is your identity, reaching, clawing, gaping, climbing
let it penetrate your consciousness, find out who you are.


horn out lift real rub lack life each click
quick camp create knock knife ambulatory
if orb render arrange order cleave meow
road elf quandry kill might meander iche
leaking total nordic mortal test tight tell
lord ripe eleviate sum sick shallow shut
shame schtick slight cackle queezy much
match luck like lamb trite middle tag tick
must head hip hike lad sordid shackle
steam tan turpid cloud quiz larder mock


come view here not the way you chose mine
seeking reaching out climbing searched nothing
under cringe trust leave your level in control
loud making master try another do-over again
not the same not right not honest not me

ride it out smoothly coming close to routine but
wrenched from it cranky creature canker voice
wounded clipped crunch catch weak neat nice
moreover same as before shout shrug nudge
never again need must hit nick naught name

cold clever unkept kicked quartered into it
endeavor reach to them reach to him come close
click quiet claim clean keep quit knitt real
revved red endeared did doubt delight niche

Paul Tillich, German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher

Paul Tillich

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Read article at:

Region Western philosophy
Born August 20, 1886 (1886-08-20)
Starzeddel, Germany
Died October 22, 1965 (1965-10-23) (aged 79)
New Harmony, Indiana
Occupation Theologian
Language English, German
Period 20th-century philosophy
Tradition or movement Christian existentialism
Main interests Ontology, Ground of Being
Notable ideas God above God, New Being
Notable works The Courage to Be (1952), Systematic Theology, 1951–63
Influences Origen, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Søren Kierkegaard, Martin Heidegger
Influenced Rollo May, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Martin Luther King, Robert Cummings Neville

Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century.[1] Among the general populace, he is best known for his works The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith (1957), which introduced issues of theology and modern culture to a general readership. Theologically, he is best known for his major three-volume work Systematic Theology (1951–63), in which he developed his “method of correlation”: an approach of exploring the symbols of Christian revelation as answers to the problems of human existence raised by contemporary existential philosophical analysis.[2][3]

1 Biography
2 Theology
2.1 Method of correlation
2.2 The use of “Being” in systematic theology
2.3 Life and the Spirit
2.4 Absolute faith
2.5 Faith as ultimate concern
2.6 God Above God
3 Popular works by Tillich
4 Reception
4.1 Criticism
5 Bibliography
6 See also
7 References
8 Further reading
9 External links


Tillich was born on August 20, 1886, in the small village of Starzeddel in the province of Brandenburg in eastern Germany. He was the oldest of three children, with two sisters: Johanna (b. 1888, d. 1920) and Elisabeth (b. 1893). Tillich’s Prussian father was a conservative Lutheran pastor of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia’s older Provinces; his mother was from the Rhineland and was more liberal. When Tillich was four, his father became superintendent of a diocese in Schönfliess, a town of three thousand, where Tillich began elementary school. In 1898, Tillich was sent to Königsberg to begin gymnasium. At Königsberg, he lived in a boarding house and experienced loneliness that he sought to overcome by reading the Bible. Simultaneously, however, he was exposed to humanistic ideas at school.[3]

In 1900, Tillich’s father was transferred to Berlin, Tillich switching in 1901 to a Berlin school, from which he graduated in 1904. Before his graduation, however, his mother died of cancer in September 1903, when Tillich was 17. Tillich attended several universities – the University of Berlin beginning in 1904, the University of Tübingen in 1905, and the University of Halle in 1905-07. He received his Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of Breslau in 1911 and his Licentiate of Theology degree at the University of Halle in 1912.[3] During his time at university, he became a member of the Wingolf.

That same year, 1912, Tillich was ordained as a Lutheran minister in the province of Brandenburg. On 28 September 1914 he married Margarethe (“Grethi”) Wever (1888–1968), and in October he joined the German army as a chaplain. Grethi deserted Tillich in 1919 after an affair that produced a child not fathered by Tillich; the two then divorced.[4] Tillich’s academic career began after the war; he became a Privatdozent of Theology at the University of Berlin, a post he held from 1919 to 1924. On his return from the war he had met Hannah Werner Gottswchow, then married and pregnant.[5] In March 1924 they married; it was the second marriage for both.

During 1924-25, he was a Professor of Theology at the University of Marburg, where he began to develop his systematic theology, teaching a course on it during the last of his three terms. From 1925 until 1929, Tillich was a Professor of Theology at the University of Dresden and the University of Leipzig. He held the same post at the University of Frankfurt during 1929-33.

While at Frankfurt, Tillich gave public lectures and speeches throughout Germany that brought him into conflict with the Nazi movement. When Hitler became German Chancellor in 1933, Tillich was dismissed from his position. Reinhold Niebuhr visited Germany in the summer of 1933 and, already impressed with Tillich’s writings, contacted Tillich upon learning of Tillich’s dismissal. Niebuhr urged Tillich to join the faculty at New York City’s Union Theological Seminary; Tillich accepted.[4][6]

At the age of 47, Tillich moved with his family to America. This meant learning English, the language in which Tillich would eventually publish works such as the Systematic Theology. From 1933 until 1955 he taught at Union, where he began as a Visiting Professor of Philosophy of Religion. During 1933-34 he was also a Visiting Lecturer in Philosophy at Columbia University. Tillich acquired tenure at Union in 1937, and in 1940 he was promoted to Professor of Philosophical Theology and became an American citizen.[3]

At the Union Theological Seminary, Tillich earned his reputation, publishing a series of books that outlined his particular synthesis of Protestant Christian theology and existential philosophy. He published On the Boundary in 1936; The Protestant Era, a collection of his essays, in 1948; and The Shaking of the Foundations, the first of three volumes of his sermons, also in 1948. His collections of sermons would give Tillich a broader audience than he had yet experienced. His most heralded achievements though, were the 1951 publication of volume one of Systematic Theology which brought Tillich academic acclaim, and the 1952 publication of The Courage to Be. The first volume of the systematic theology series prompted an invitation to give the prestigious Gifford lectures during 1953–54 at the University of Aberdeen. The latter book, called “his masterpiece” in the Paucks’s biography of Tillich (p. 225), was based on his 1950 Dwight H. Terry Lectureship and reached a wide general readership.[3]

These works led to an appointment at the Harvard Divinity School in 1955, where he became one of the University’s five University Professors – the five highest ranking professors at Harvard. Tillich’s Harvard career lasted until 1962. During this period he published volume 2 of Systematic Theology[7] and also published the popular book Dynamics of Faith (1957).

In 1962, Tillich moved to the University of Chicago, where he was a Professor of Theology until his death in Chicago in 1965. Volume 3 of Systematic Theology was published in 1963. In 1964 Tillich became the first theologian to be honored in Kegley and Bretall’s Library of Living Theology. They wrote: “The adjective ‘great,’ in our opinion, can be applied to very few thinkers of our time, but Tillich, we are far from alone in believing, stands unquestionably amongst these few.” (Kegley and Bretall, 1964, pp. ix-x) A widely quoted critical assessment of his importance was Georgia Harkness’ comment, “What Whitehead was to American philosophy, Tillich has been to American theology.”[8][9]

Tillich died on October 22, 1965, ten days after experiencing a heart attack. In 1966 his ashes were interred in the Paul Tillich Park in New Harmony, Indiana.

Paul Tillich’s gravestone in the Paul Tillich Park, New Harmony, Indiana, United States[edit] Theology[edit] Method of correlationThe key to understanding Tillich’s theology is what he calls the “method of correlation.” It is an approach that correlates insights from Christian revelation with the issues raised by existential, psychological, and philosophical analysis.[2]

Tillich states in the introduction to the Systematic Theology:

Philosophy formulates the questions implied in human existence, and theology formulates the answers implied in divine self-manifestation under the guidance of the questions implied in human existence. This is a circle which drives man to a point where question and answer are not separated. This point, however, is not a moment in time.[10]

The Christian message provides the answers to the questions implied in human existence. These answers are contained in the revelatory events on which Christianity is based and are taken by systematic theology from the sources, through the medium, under the norm. Their content cannot be derived from questions that would come from an analysis of human existence. They are ‘spoken’ to human existence from beyond it, in a sense. Otherwise, they would not be answers, for the question is human existence itself.[11]

For Tillich, the existential questions of human existence are associated with the field of philosophy and, more specifically, ontology (the study of being). This is because, according to Tillich, a lifelong pursuit of philosophy reveals that the central question of every philosophical inquiry always comes back to the question of being, or what it means to be, to exist, to be a finite human being.[12] To be correlated with these questions are the theological answers, themselves derived from Christian revelation. The task of the philosopher primarily involves developing the questions, whereas the task of the theologian primarily involves developing the answers to these questions. However, it should be remembered that the two tasks overlap and include one another: the theologian must be somewhat of a philosopher and vice versa, for Tillich’s notion of faith as “ultimate concern” necessitates that the theological answer be correlated with, compatible with, and in response to the general ontological question which must be developed independently from the answers.[13][14] Thus, on one side of the correlation lies an ontological analysis of the human situation, whereas on the other is a presentation of the Christian message as a response to this existential dilemma. For Tillich, no formulation of the question can contradict the theological answer. This is because the Christian message claims, a priori, that the logos “who became flesh” is also the universal logos of the Greeks.[15]

In addition to the intimate relationship between philosophy and theology, another important aspect of the method of correlation is Tillich’s distinction between form and content in the theological answers. While the nature of revelation determines the actual content of the theological answers, the character of the questions determines the form of these answers. This is because, for Tillich, theology must be an answering theology, or apologetic theology. God is called the “ground of being” because God is the answer to the ontological threat of non-being, and this characterization of the theological answer in philosophical terms means that the answer has been conditioned (insofar as its form is considered) by the question.[16] Throughout the Systematic Theology, Tillich is careful to maintain this distinction between form and content without allowing one to be inadvertently conditioned by the other. Many criticisms of Tillich’s methodology revolve around this issue of whether the integrity of the Christian message is really maintained when its form is conditioned by philosophy.[17]

The theological answer is also determined by the sources of theology, our experience, and the norm of theology. Though the form of the theological answers are determined by the character of the question, these answers (which “are contained in the revelatory events on which Christianity is based”) are also “taken by systematic theology from the sources, through the medium, under the norm.”[16] There are three main sources of systematic theology: the Bible, Church history, and the history of religion and culture. Experience is not a source but a medium through which the sources speak. And the norm of theology is that by which both sources and experience are judged with regard to the content of the Christian faith.[18] Thus, we have the following as elements of the method and structure of systematic theology:

Sources of theology[19]
Church history
History of religion and culture
Medium of the sources
Collective Experience of the Church
Norm of theology (determines use of sources)
Content of which is the biblical message itself, for example:
Justification through faith
New Being in Jesus as the Christ
The Protestant Principle
The criterion of the cross
As McKelway explains, the sources of theology contribute to the formation of the norm, which then becomes the criterion through which the sources and experience are judged.[21] The relationship is circular, as it is the present situation which conditions the norm in the interaction between church and biblical message. The norm is then subject to change, but Tillich insists that its basic content remains the same: that of the biblical message.[22] It is tempting to conflate revelation with the norm, but we must keep in mind that revelation (whether original or dependent) is not an element of the structure of systematic theology per se, but an event.[23] For Tillich, the present day norm is the “New Being in Jesus as the Christ as our Ultimate Concern”.[24] This is because the present question is one of estrangement, and the overcoming of this estrangement is what Tillich calls the “New Being”. But since Christianity answers the question of estrangement with “Jesus as the Christ”, the norm tells us that we find the New Being in Jesus as the Christ.

There is also the question of the validity of the method of correlation. Certainly one could reject the method on the grounds that there is no a priori reason for its adoption. But Tillich claims that the method of any theology and its system are interdependent. That is, an absolute methodological approach cannot be adopted because the method is continually being determined by the system and the objects of theology.[25]

The use of “Being” in systematic theologyTillich used the concept of “being” in systematic theology. There are 3 roles :

…[The concept of Being] appears in the present system in three places: in the doctrine of God, where God is called the being as being or the ground and the power of being;

in the doctrine of man, where the distinction is carried through between man’s essential and his existential being;

and finally, in the doctrine of the Christ, where he is called the manifestation of the New Being, the actualization of which is the work of the divine Spirit.

– Tillich, Systematic Theology Vol. 2, p.10

…It is the expression of the experience of being over against non-being. Therefore, it can be described as the power of being which resists non-being. For this reason, the medieval philosophers called being the basic transcendentale, beyond the universal and the particular…

The same word, the emptiest of all concepts when taken as an abstraction, becomes the most meaningful of all concepts when it is understood as the power of being in everything that has being.

– Tillich, Systematic Theology Vol. 2, p.11

Life and the Spirit

This is part four of Tillich’s Systematic Theology. In this part, Tillich talks about life and the divine Spirit.

Life remains ambiguous as long as there is life. The question implied in the ambiguities of life derives to a new question, namely, that of the direction in which life moves. This is the question of history. Systematically speaking, history, characterized as it as by its direction toward the future, is the dynamic quality of life. Therefore, the “riddle of history” is a part of the problem of life.

– Tillich , Systematic Theology, Vol.2 , p.4

Absolute faith

Tillich stated the courage to take meaninglessness into oneself presupposes a relation to the ground of being: absolute faith.[26] Absolute faith can transcend the theistic idea of God, and has three elements.

… The first element is the experience of the power of being which is present even in the face of the most radical manifestation of non being. If one says that in this experience vitality resists despair, one must add that vitality in man is proportional to intentionality. The vitality that can stand the abyss of meaninglessness is aware of a hidden meaning within the destruction of meaning.

– Tillich , The Courage to Be, p.177

The second element in absolute faith is the dependence of the experience of nonbeing on the experience of being and the dependence of the experience of meaninglessness on the experience of meaning. Even in the state of despair one has enough being to make despair possible.

– Tillich , The Courage to Be, p.177

There is a third element in absolute faith, the acceptance of being accepted. Of course, in the state of despair there is nobody and nothing that accepts. But there is the power of acceptance itself which is experienced. Meaninglessness, as long as it is experienced, includes an experience of the “power of acceptance”. To accept this power of acceptance consciously is the religious answer of absolute faith, of a faith which has been deprived by doubt of any concrete content, which nevertheless is faith and the source of the most paradoxical manifestation of the courage to be.

– Tillich , The Courage to Be, p.177

Faith as ultimate concern

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Tillich believes the essence of religious attitudes is what he calls “ultimate concern”. Separate from all profane and ordinary realities, the object of the concern is understood as sacred, numinous or holy. The perception of its reality is felt as so overwhelming and valuable that all else seems insignificant, and for this reason requires total surrender.[27] In 1957, Tillich defined his conception of faith more explicitly in his work, Dynamics of Faith.

… “Man, like every living being, is concerned about many things, above all about those which condition his very existence…If [a situation or concern] claims ultimacy it demands the total surrender of him who accepts this claim…it demands that all other concerns…be sacrificed.”

– Tillich , Dynamics of Faith, p.1-2

Tillich further refined his conception of faith by stating that

… “Faith as ultimate concern is an act of the total personality. It is the most centered act of the human mind…it participates in the dynamics of personal life.”

– Tillich , Dynamics of Faith, p.5

An arguably central component of Tillich’s concept of faith is his notion that faith is “ecstatic”. That is to say that

… “It transcends both the drives of the nonrational unconsciousness and the structures of the rational conscious…the ecstatic character of faith does not exclude its rational character although it is not identical with it, and it includes nonrational strivings without being identical with them. ‘Ecstasy’ means ‘standing outside of oneself’ – without ceasing to be oneself – with all the elements which are united in the personal center.”

– Tillich , Dynamics of Faith, p.8-9

In short, for Tillich, faith does not stand opposed to rational or nonrational elements (reason and emotion respectively), as some philosophers would maintain. Rather, it transcends them in an ecstatic passion for the ultimate.[28]

It should also be noted that Tillich does not exclude atheists in his exposition of faith. Everyone has an ultimate concern, and this concern can be in an act of faith, “even if the act of faith includes the denial of God. Where there is ultimate concern, God can be denied only in the name of God”[29]

God Above God

Throughout most of his works Paul Tillich provides an apologetic and alternative ontological view of God. Traditional medieval philosophical theology in the work of figures such as St. Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham tended to understand God as the highest existing Being, to which predicates such as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, goodness, righteousness, holiness, etc. may be ascribed. Arguments for and against the existence of God presuppose such an understanding of God. Tillich is critical of this mode of discourse which he refers to as “theological theism,” and argues that if God is a Being [das Seiende], even if the highest Being, God cannot be properly called the source of all being, and the question can of course then be posed as to why God exists, who created God, when God’s beginning is, and so on. To put the issue in traditional language: if God is a being [das Seiende], then God is a creature, even if the highest one, and thus cannot be the Creator. Rather, God must be understood as the “ground of Being-Itself.” The problem persists in the same way when attempting to determine whether God is an eternal essence, or an existing being, neither of which are adequate, as traditional theology was well aware.[30] When God is understood in this way, it becomes clear that not only is it impossible to argue for the “existence” of God, since God is beyond the distinction between essence and existence, but it is also foolish: one cannot deny that there is being, and thus there is a Power of Being. The question then becomes whether and in what way personal language about God and humanity’s relationship to God is appropriate. In distinction to “theological theism,” Tillich refers to another kind of theism as that of the “divine-human encounter.” Such is the theism of the encounter with the “Holy Other,” as in the work of Karl Barth and Rudolf Otto, and implies a personalism with regard to God’s self revelation. Tillich is quite clear that this is both appropriate and necessary, as it is the basis of the personalism of Biblical Religion altogether and the concept of the “Word of God”,[31] but can become falsified if the theologian tries to turn such encounters with God as the Holy Other into an understanding of God as a being.[32] In other words, God is both personal and transpersonal.[33]

Tillich’s ontological view of God is not without precedent in the history of Christian theology. Many theologians, especially in the period denoted by scholars as the Hellenistic period of Christian theology, or that of the Church Fathers, understood God as the “unoriginate source” (agennetos) of all being.[34] This was the view, in particular, of the theologian Origen, one among the crowd of thinkers by whom Tillich was deeply influenced, and who themselves had shown notable influences from middle Platonism.

Tillich further argues that theological theism is not only logically problematic, but is unable to speak into the situation of radical doubt and despair about meaning in life, which is the primary problem typical of the modern age, as opposed to a fundamental anxiety about fate and death or guilt and condemnation.[35] This is because the state of finitude entails by necessity anxiety, and that it is our finitude as human beings, our being a mixture of being and nonbeing, that is at the ultimate basis of anxiety. If God is not the ground of being itself, then God cannot provide an answer to the question of finitude; God would also be finite in some sense. The term “God Above God,” then, means to indicate the God who appears, who is the ground of being itself, when the “God” of theological theism has disappeared in the anxiety of doubt.[36] While on the one hand this God goes beyond the God of theological theism, it is nevertheless rooted in the religious symbols of Christian faith, particularly that of the crucified Christ, and is, according to Tillich, the possibility of the recovery of religious symbols which may otherwise have become ineffective in contemporary society.

Tillich argues that the God of theological theism is at the root of much revolt against theism and religious faith in the modern period. Tillich states, sympathetically, that the God of theological theism deprives me of my subjectivity because he is all-powerful and all-knowing. I revolt and make him into an object, but the revolt fails and becomes desperate. God appears as the invincible tyrant, the being in contrast with whom all other beings are without freedom and subjectivity. He is equated with recent tyrants with the help of terror try to transform everything into a mere object, a thing among things, a cog in a machine they control. He becomes the model of everything against which Existentialism revolted. This is the God Nietzsche said had to be killed because nobody can tolerate being made into a mere object of absolute knowledge and absolute control. This is the deepest root of atheism. It is an atheism which is justified as the reaction against theological theism and its disturbing implications.[37]

Another reason Tillich criticized theological theism was because it placed God into the subject-object dichotomy. This is the basic distinction made in Epistemology, that branch of Philosophy which deals with human knowledge, how it is possible, what it is, and its limits. Epistemologically, God cannot be made into an object, that is, an object of the knowing subject. Tillich deals with this question under the rubric of the relationality of God. The question is “whether there are external relations between God and the creature.”[38] Traditionally Christian theology has always understood the doctrine of creation to mean precisely this external relationality between God, the Creator, and the creature as separate and not identical realities. Tillich reminds us of the point, which can be found in Luther, that “there is no place to which man can withdraw from the divine thou, because it includes the ego and is nearer to the ego than the ego to itself.”[39] Tillich goes further to say that the desire to draw God into the subject-object dichotomy is an “insult” to the divine holiness.[40] Similarly, if God were made into the subject rather than the object of knowledge (The Ultimate Subject), then the rest of existing entities then become subjected to the absolute knowledge and scrutiny of God, and the human being is “reified,” or made into a mere object. It would deprive the person of his or her own subjectivity and creativity. According to Tillich, theological theism has provoked the rebellions found in atheism and Existentialism, although other social factors such as the industrial revolution have also contributed to the “reification” of the human being. The modern man could no longer tolerate the idea of being an “object” completely subjected to the absolute knowledge of God. Tillich argued, as mentioned, that theological theism is “bad theology”.

The God of the theological theism is a being besides others and as such a part of the whole reality. He is certainly considered its most important part, but as a part and therefore as subjected to the structure of the whole. He is supposed to be beyond the ontological elements and categories which constitute reality. But every statement subjects him to them. He is seen as a self which has a world, as an ego which relates to a thought, as a cause which is separated from its effect, as having a definite space and endless time. He is a being, not being-itself”[41]

Alternatively, Tillich presents the above mentioned ontological view of God as Being-Itself, Ground of Being, Power of Being, and occasionally as Abyss or God’s “Abysmal Being.” What makes Tillich’s ontological view of God different from theological theism is that it transcends it by being the foundation or ultimate reality that “precedes” all beings. Just as Being for Heidegger is ontologically prior to conception, Tillich views God to be beyond Being-Itself, manifested in the structure of beings.[42] God is not a supernatural entity among other entities. Instead, God is the ground upon which all beings exist. We cannot perceive God as an object which is related to a subject because God precedes the subject-object dichotomy.[42]

Thus Tillich dismisses a literalistic Biblicism. Instead of completely rejecting the notion of personal God, however, Tillich sees it as a symbol that points directly to the Ground of Being.[43] Since the Ground of Being ontologically precedes reason, it cannot be comprehended since comprehension presupposes the subject-object dichotomy. Tillich disagreed with any literal philosophical and religious statements that can be made about God. Such literal statements attempt to define God and lead not only to anthropomorphism but also to a philosophical mistake that Immanuel Kant warned against, that setting limits against the transcendent inevitably leads to contradictions. Any statements about God are simply symbolic, but these symbols are sacred in the sense that they function to participate or point to the Ground of Being. Tillich insists that anyone who participates in these symbols are empowered by the Power of Being, that overcomes and conquers nonbeing and meaninglessness.

Tillich also further elaborated the thesis of the God above the God of theism in his Systematic Theology.

… (the God above the God of theism) This has been misunderstood as a dogmatic statement of a pantheistic or mystical character. First of all, it is not a dogmatic, but an apologetic, statement. It takes seriously the radical doubt experienced by many people. It gives one the courage of self-affirmation even in the extreme state of radical doubt.

– Tillich , Systematic Theology Vol. 2 , p.12

… In such a state the God of both religious and theological language disappears. But something remains, namely, the seriousness of that doubt in which meaning within meaninglessness is affirmed. The source of this affirmation of meaning within meaninglessness, of certitude within doubt, is not the God of traditional theism but the “God above God,” the power of being, which works through those who have no name for it, not even the name God.

– Tillich , Systematic Theology Vol. 2 , p.12

…This is the answer to those who ask for a message in the nothingness of their situation and at the end of their courage to be. But such an extreme point is not a space with which one can live. The dialectics of an extreme situation are a criterion of truth but not the basis on which a whole structure of truth can be built.

– Tillich , Systematic Theology Vol. 2 , p.12

Popular works by Tillich

Two of Tillich’s works, The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith, were read widely, even by people who do not normally read religious books. In The Courage to Be, he lists three basic anxieties: anxiety about our biological finitude, i.e. that arising from the knowledge that we will eventually die; anxiety about our moral finitude, linked to guilt; and anxiety about our existential finitude, a sense of aimlessness in life. Tillich related these to three different historical eras: the early centuries of the Christian era; the Reformation; and the 20th century. The Courage to Be influenced psychology as well as theology, and helped to inspire the title of a book by Rollo May entitled The Courage to Create.


Today Tillich’s most observable legacy may well be that of a spiritually-oriented public intellectual and teacher with a broad and continuing range of influence. Tillich‘s chapel sermons (especially at Union) were enthusiastically attended (Tillich was known as the only faculty member of his day at Union willing to attend the revivals of Billy Graham). When Tillich was University Professor at Harvard he was chosen as keynote speaker from among an auspicious gathering of many who had appeared on the cover of Time Magazine during its first four decades. Tillich along with his student, psychologist Rollo May, was an early leader at the Esalen Institute. Contemporary New Age catchphrases describing God as the “Ground of Being,” as the “Eternal Now,”[44] and as “Spiritual Presence,” in tandem with the view that God is not an entity among entities but rather is “Being-Itself,” – notions which Eckhart Tolle, for example, has invoked repeatedly throughout his career[45] – were pioneered by Tillich. The introductory philosophy course taught by the person Tillich considered to be his best student, John E. Smith, “probably turned more undergraduates to the study of philosophy at Yale than all the other philosophy courses put together. His courses in philosophy of religion and American philosophy defined those fields for many years. Perhaps most important of all, he has educated a younger generation in the importance of the public life in philosophy and in how to practice philosophy publicly.”[46] In the 1980s and ’90s the Boston University Institute for Philosophy and Religion, a leading forum dedicated to the revival of the American public tradition of philosophy and religion, flourished under the leadership of Tillich’s student and expositor Leroy S. Rouner.


Martin Buber criticized Tillich’s “transtheistic position” as a reduction of God to the impersonal “necessary being” of Thomas Aquinas.[47]
Tillich is not held in high regard by biblical literalists many of whom think of him not as a Christian, but a pantheist or atheist.”[48] The Elwell Evangelical Dictionary states, “At best Tillich was a pantheist, but his thought borders on atheism.”[49]


The Religious Situation (1925, Die religiose Lage der Gegenwart), Holt 1932, Meridian Press 1956, online edition
The Socialist Decision (1933, New York : Harper & Row, c1977)
The Interpretation of History (1936), online edition
The Protestant Era (1948), The University of Chicago Press, online edition
The Shaking of the Foundations (1948), Charles Scribner’s Sons, a sermon collection, online edition
Systematic Theology, 1951–63 (3 volumes), University of Chicago Press
Volume 1 (1951). ISBN 0-226-80337-6
Volume 2: Existence and the Christ (1957). ISBN 0-226-80338-4
Volume 3: Life and the Spirit: History and the Kingdom of God (1963). ISBN 0-226-80339-2
The Courage to Be (1952), Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-08471-4 (2nd ed)
Love, Power, and Justice: Ontological Analysis and Ethical Applications (1954), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-500222-9
Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality (1955), University Of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-80341-4
The New Being (1955), Charles Scribner’s Sons, ISBN 0-684-71908-8, a sermon collection, online edition, 2006 Bison Press edition with introduction by Mary Ann Stenger: ISBN 0-8032-9458-1
Dynamics of Faith (1957), Harper and Row, ISBN 0-06-093713-0
Theology of Culture (1959), Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-500711-5
Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions (1963), Columbia University Press, online edition
Morality and Beyond (1963), Harper and Row, 1995 edition: Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 0-664-25564-7
The Eternal Now (1963), Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003 SCM Press: ISBN 0-334-02875-2, university sermons 1955–63, online edition
Ultimate Concern: Tillich in Dialogue (1965), editor D. Mackenzie Brown, Harper & Row, online edition
On the Boundary, 1966 New York: Charles Scribner’s
My Search for Absolutes (1967, posthumous), ed. Ruth Nanda Anshen, Simon & Schuster, 1984 reprint: ISBN 0-671-50585-8 (includes autobiographical chapter) online edition
“The Philosophy of Religion”, in What Is Religion? (1969), ed. James Luther Adams. New York: Harper & Row
“The Conquest of the Concept of Religion in the Philosophy of Religion” in What is Religion?
“On the Idea of a Theology of Culture” in What is Religion?
My Travel Diary 1936: Between Two Worlds (1970), Harper & Row, (edited and published posthumously by J.C. Brauer) online edition
A History of Christian Thought: From its Judaic and Hellenistic Origins to Existentialism (1972), Simon and Schuster, (edited from his lectures and published posthumously by C. E. Braaten), ISBN 0-671-21426-8;
A History of Christian Thought (1968), Harper & Row, online edition contains the first part of the two part 1972 edition (comprising the 38 New York lectures)
The System of the Sciences (1981), Translated by Paul Wiebe. London: Bucknell University Press. (originally published in German in 1923)
The Essential Tillich (1987), (anthology) F. Forrester Church, editor; (Macmillan): ISBN 0-02-018920-6; 1999 (U. of Chicago Press): ISBN 0-226-80343-0

See also

Rollo May (Existential Psychologist)
Liberal Christianity
Postmodern Christianity
Progressive Christianity
American philosophy
List of American philosophers


1.^ Ted Peters (1995), Carl E. Braaten, ed., A map of twentieth-century theology: readings from Karl Barth to radical pluralism, Fortress Press,, retrieved 2011-01-01, “Backjacket review by Ted Peters: “The current generation of students has heard only the names of Barth, Brunner, Bultmann, Bonhoeffer, Tillich, and the Niebuhrs.””
2.^ a b “Tillich, Paul Johannes Oskar”, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Ed. John Bowker. Oxford University Press, 2000. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.
3.^ a b c d e “Tillich, Paul.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. retrieved 17 February 2008 [1].
4.^ a b Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought–Volume 1: Life, Pauck, Wilhelm & Marion. New York: Harper & Row, 1976
5.^ Paul Tillich, Lover, Time, October 8, 1973
6.^ (Tillich, 1964, p. 16).
7.^ (1957)
8.^ “Dr. Paul Tillich, Outstanding Protestant Theologian”, The Times, Oct 25, 1965
9.^ Tillich, John Heywood Thomas, Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002, ISBN 0-8264-5082-2
10.^ |Paul Tillich|Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 61
11.^ Tillich|Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p. 64
12.^ Paul Tillich, “Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality,” University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1955, 11-20
13.^ Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, pp 23ff.
14.^ Tillich, Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality, pp 58ff.
15.^ Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 28.
16.^ a b Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 64.
17.^ McKelway, The Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich, p 47.
18.^ Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 47.
19.^ Systematic Theology, vol 1, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1951, 40.
20.^ Systematic Theology, vol 1, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1951, 35.
21.^ McKelway, The Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich, pp 55-56.
22.^ Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 52.
23.^ McKelway, The Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich, p 80.
24.^ Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 50.
25.^ Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, p 60.
26.^ The Courage to Be, page 182
27.^ Wainwright, William (2010-09-29), “Concepts of God”, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University,, retrieved 2011-01-01
28.^ Tillich Interview part 12
29.^ Tillich, Dynamics of Faith, p. 52
30.^ Systematic Theology, vol 1, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1951, 236.
31.^ Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1955, 21-62.
32.^ The Courage to Be, Yale: New Haven, 2000, 184.
33.^ The Courage to Be, Yale: New Haven, 2000, 187.
34.^ J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, HarperCollins: New York, 1978, 128.
35.^ Tillich, Courage To Be, p 184.
36.^ The Courage to Be, Yale: New Haven, 2000, 190.
37.^ Tillich, Courage To Be, p 185.
38.^ Systematic Theology, vol 1, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1951, 271
39.^ Systematic Theology, vol 1, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1951, 271.
40.^ Systematic Theology, vol 1, University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1951, 272.
41.^ Tillich, Courage To Be, p 184.
42.^ a b Tillich, Theology of Culture, p 15.
43.^ Tillich, Theology of Culture, p 127-132.
44.^ “There is no present in the mere stream of time; but the present is real, as our experience witnesses. And it is real because eternity breaks into time and gives it a real present. We could not even say now, if eternity did not elevate that moment above the ever-passing time. Eternity is always present; and its presence is the cause of our having the present at all. When the psalmist looks at God, for Whom a thousand years are like one day, he is looking at that eternity which alone gives him a place on which he can stand, a now which has infinite reality and infinite significance. In every moment that we say now, something temporal and something eternal are united. Whenever a human being says, ‘Now I am living; now I am really present,’ resisting the stream which drives the future into the past, eternity is. In each such Now eternity is made manifest; in every real now, eternity is present.” (Tillich, “The Mystery of Time,” in The Shaking of Foundations).
45.^ In his September 2010 Live Meditation (, e.g., Tolle expounds at length on “the dimension of depth.”
46.^ The Chronicle of Higher Education (Jan. 24, 2010)
47.^ David Novak, Buber and Tillich, Journal of Ecumenical Studies, Vol. 29, 1992 (reprinted in: Talking With Christians: Musings of A Jewish Theologian, 2005)
48.^ Tillich held an equally low opinion of biblical literalism: “When fundamentalism is combined with an antitheological bias, as it is, for instance, in its biblicistic-evangelical form, the theological truth of yesterday is defended as an unchangeable message against the theological truth of today and tomorrow. Fundamentalism fails to make contact with the present situation, not because it speaks from beyond every situation, but because it speaks from a situation from the past. It elevates something finite and transitory to infinite and eternal validity. In this sense fundamentalism has demonic traits.” (This quotation is located at the heart of the first paragraph of Volume I of Systematic Theology).
49.^ S N Gundry, “Death of God Theology”, in Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ISBN 9780801020759,, retrieved 2011-01-01

Further reading

Adams, James Luther. 1965. Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Culture, Science, and Religion. New York: New York University Press
Armbruster, Carl J. 1967. The Vision of Paul Tillich. New York: Sheed and Ward
Breisach, Ernst. 1962. Introduction to Modern Existentialism. New York: Grove Press
Carey, Patrick W., and Lienhard, Joseph. 2002. “Biographical Dictionary of Christian Theologians”. Mass: Hendrickson
Ford, Lewis S. 1966. “Tillich and Thomas: The Analogy of Being.” Journal of Religion 46:2 (April)
Freeman, David H. 1962. Tillich. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co.
Grenz, Stanley, and Olson, Roger E. 1997. 20th Century Theology God & the World in a Transitional Age
Hamilton, Kenneth. 1963. The System and the Gospel: A Critique of Paul Tillich. New York: Macmillan
Hammond, Guyton B. 1965. Estrangement: A Comparison of the Thought of Paul Tillich and Erich Fromm. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press.
Hegel, G. W. F. 1967. The Phenomenology of Mind, trans. With intro. J. B. Baillie, Torchbook intro. by George Lichtheim. New York: Harper Torchbooks
Hook, Sidney, ed. 1961 Religious Experience and Truth: A Symposium (New York: New York University Press)
Hopper, David. 1968. Tillich: A Theological Portrait. Philadelphia: Lippincott
Howlett, Duncan. 1964. The Fourth American Faith. New York: Harper & Row
Kaufman, Walter. 1961a. The Faith of a Heretic. New York: Doubleday
— 1961b. Critique of Religion and Philosophy. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books, Doubleday
Kegley, Charles W., and Bretall, Robert W., eds. 1964. The Theology of Paul Tillich. New York: Macmillan
Kelsey, David H. 1967 The Fabric of Paul Tillich’s Theology. New Haven: Yale University Press
MacIntyre, Alasdair. 1963. “God and the Theologians,” Encounter 21:3 (September)
Martin, Bernard. 1963. The Existentialist Theology of Paul Tillich. New Haven: College and University Press
Marx, Karl. n.d. Capital. Ed. Frederick Engels. trans. from 3rd German ed. by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. New York: The Modern Library
May, Rollo. 1973. Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship. New York: Harper & Row
McKelway, Alexander J. 1964. The Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich: A Review and Analysis. Richmond: John Knox Press
Modras, Ronald. 1976. Paul Tillich ‘s Theology of the Church: A Catholic Appraisal. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1976.
Palmer, Michael. 1984. Paul Tillich’s Philosophy of Art. New York: Walter de Gruyter
Pauck, Wilhelm & Marion. 1976. Paul Tillich: His Life & Thought–Volume 1: Life. New York: Harper & Row
Re Manning, Russell, ed. 2009. The Cambridge Companion to Paul Tillich. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Rowe, William L. 1968. Religious Symbols and God: A Philosophical Study of Tillich’s Theology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Scharlemann, Robert P. 1969. Reflection and Doubt in the Theology of Paul Tillich. New Haven: Yale University Press
Schweitzer, Albert. 1961. The Quest of the Historical Jesus, trans. W. Montgomery. New York: Macmillan
Soper, David Wesley. 1952. Major Voices in American Theology: Six Contemporary Leaders Philadelphia: Westminster
Tavard, George H. 1962. Paul Tillich and the Christian Message. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons
Taylor, Mark Kline, ed. 1991. “Paul Tillich: Theologian of the Boundaries”. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.
Thomas, George F. 1965. Religious Philosophies of the West. New York: Scribner’s, 1965.
Thomas, J. Heywood. 1963. Paul Tillich: An Appraisal. Philadelphia, Westminster
Tillich, Hannah. 1973. From Time to Time. New York: Stein and Day
Tucker, Robert. 1961. Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Wheat, Leonard F. 1970. Paul Tillich’s Dialectical Humanism: Unmasking the God above God. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press

you and me and him and them

being here being there all you all me all below all above
we are everywhere we are everything we are you you are me
we are together we are each other we belong here we belong
everywhere we are all connected in God and in each other and
ourselves we were created to live together with each other us

you are beautiful I am beautiful I am dreadful I am scary
we are afraid we are proud we are strong we are weak
we are into everything we are into nothing we don’t care
we aren’t interested we will be better we will lose we will come
back together we will defeat our enemies they will defeat us

we will die we will live we will be here forever we will live in each
other we are a part of the earth the earth is part of us we are
a part of God he is a part of us God cares God is here God is
watching God saw you lose he saw you get hurt he was there
when he said that he was there when you broke up when you
got divorced when he died when she died he was there and he

cared he loves you he loves me we can have hope we can believe
we can care about ourselves we can care about each other we
can be good we can be better we can be the best that we can
be we can be what God wants us to be we can be found we are

Søren Kierkegaard, Christian Existentialist and Founder of Existentialism

Read the full article at this address:

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (English pronunciation: /ˈsɔrən ˈkɪərkəɡɑrd/ or /ˈkɪərkəɡɔr/;/; Danish: [ˈsœːɐn ˈkʰiɐ̯kəˌɡ̊ɒˀ]) (5 May 1813 – 11 November 1855) was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author interested in human psychology. He strongly criticized the philosophies of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel and the Christianity of the State Church versus the Free Church.

Much of his philosophical work deals with the issues of how one lives as a “single individual”, giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment.[4]

His theological work focuses on Christian ethics, institution of the Church, and on the difference between purely objective proofs of Christianity and a subjective relationship to Jesus Christ,[5] the God-Man, which comes from faith.[6][7]

His psychological work explores the emotions and feelings of individuals when faced with life choices.[8] His thinking was influenced by Socrates and the Socratic method.

Kierkegaard’s early work was written under various pseudonymous characters who present their own distinctive viewpoints and interact with each other in complex dialogue.[9] He assigns pseudonyms to explore particular viewpoints in-depth, which may take up several books in some instances, while Kierkegaard, openly or under another pseudonym, critiques that position. He wrote many Upbuilding Discourses under his own name and dedicated them to the “single individual” who might want to discover the meaning of his works. Notably, he wrote:

“Science and scholarship want to teach that becoming objective is the way. Christianity teaches that the way is to become subjective, to become a subject.”[10] The scientist can learn about the world by observation but can the scientist learn about the inner workings of the spiritual world by observation? Kierkegaard said no, and he said it emphatically.[11] In 1847 Kierkegaard described his own view of the single individual.

“God is not like a human being; it is not important for God to have visible evidence so that he can see if his cause has been victorious or not; he sees in secret just as well. Moreover, it is so far from being the case that you should help God to learn anew that it is rather he who will help you to learn anew, so that you are weaned from the worldly point of view that insists on visible evidence. (…) A decision in the external sphere is what Christianity does not want; (…) rather it wants to test the individual’s faith.”[12]


The cover of the first English edition of The Journals, edited by Alexander Dru in 1938People understand me so little that they do not even understand when I complain of being misunderstood.
—Søren Kierkegaard , Journals Feb. 1836

According to Samuel Hugo Bergmann, “Kierkegaard journals are one of the most important sources for an understanding of his philosophy”.[30] Kierkegaard wrote over 7000 pages in his journals on events, musings, thoughts about his works and everyday remarks.[31] The entire collection of Danish journals has been edited and published in 13 volumes which consist of 25 separate bindings including indices. The first English edition of the journals was edited by Alexander Dru in 1938.[32] The style is “literary and poetic [in] manner”.[33] Kierkegaard saw his journals as his legacy:

I have never confided in anyone. By being an author I have in a sense made the public my confidant. But in respect of my relation to the public I must, once again, make posterity my confidant. The same people who are there to laugh at one cannot very well be made one’s confidant.[34]

Kierkegaard’s journals are also the source of many aphorisms credited to the philosopher. The following passage, from 1 August 1835, is perhaps his most oft-quoted aphorism and a key quote for existentialist studies: “What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.”[35]

Although his journals clarify some aspects of his work and life, Kierkegaard took care not to reveal too much. Abrupt changes in thought, repetitive writing, and unusual turns of phrase are some among the many tactics he uses to throw readers off track. Consequently, there are many varying interpretations of his journals. Kierkegaard did not doubt the importance his journals would have in the future. In a journal entry in December 1849, he wrote: “Were I to die now the effect of my life would be exceptional; much of what I have simply jotted down carelessly in the Journals would become of great importance and have a great effect; for then people would have grown reconciled to me and would be able to grant me what was, and is, my right.”[36]

Regine Olsen and graduation (1837–1841)Main article: Regine Olsen

Regine Olsen, a muse for Kierkegaard’s writingsAn important aspect of Kierkegaard’s life, generally considered to have had a major influence on his work, was his broken engagement to Regine Olsen (1822–1904). Kierkegaard and Olsen met on 8 May 1837 and were instantly attracted but sometime around 11 August 1838 he had second thoughts. In his journals, Kierkegaard wrote about his love for her:

You, sovereign queen of my heart, Regina, hidden in the deepest secrecy of my breast, in the fullness of my life-idea, there where it is just as far to heaven as to hell—unknown divinity! O, can I really believe the poets when they say that the first time one sees the beloved object he thinks he has seen her long before, that love like all knowledge is recollection, that love in the single individual also has its prophecies, its types, its myths, its Old Testament. Everywhere, in the face of every girl, I see features of your beauty, but I think I would have to possess the beauty of all the girls in the world to extract your beauty, that I would have to sail around the world to find the portion of the world I want and toward which the deepest secret of my self polarically points—and in the next moment you are so close to me, so present, so overwhelmingly filling my spirit that I am transfigured to myself and feel that here it is good to be. You blind god of erotic love! You who see in secret, will you disclose it to me? Will I find what I am seeking here in this world, will I experience the conclusion of all my life’s eccentric premises, will I fold you in my arms, or: Do the Orders say: March on? Have you gone on ahead, you, my longing, transfigured do you beckon to me from another world? O, I will throw everything away in order to become light enough to follow you.[37]

On 8 September 1840, Kierkegaard formally proposed to Olsen. Kierkegaard soon felt disillusioned about the prospects of the marriage. He broke off the engagement on 11 August 1841, though it is generally believed that the two were deeply in love. In his journals, Kierkegaard mentions his belief that his “melancholy” made him unsuitable for marriage, but his precise motive for ending the engagement remains unclear.[19][38] The following quote from his Journals sheds some light on the motivation.

“… and this terrible restlessness—as if wanting to convince myself every moment that it would still be possible to return to her—O God, would that I dared to do it. It is so hard; my last hope in life I had placed in her, and I must deprive myself of it. How strange, I had never really thought of getting married, but I never believed that it would turn out this way and leave so deep a wound. I have always ridiculed those who talked about the power of women, and I still do, but a young, beautiful, soulful girl who loves with all her mind and all her heart, who is completely devoted, who pleads—how often I have been close to setting her love on fire, not to a sinful love, but I need merely have said to her that I loved her, and everything would have been set in motion to end my young life. But then it occurred to me that this would not be good for her, that I might bring a storm upon her head, since she would feel responsible for my death. I prefer what I did do; my relationship to her was always kept so ambiguous that I had it in my power to give it any interpretation I wanted to. I gave it the interpretation that I was a deceiver. Humanly speaking, that is the only way to save her, to give her soul resilience. My sin is that I did not have faith, faith that for God all things are possible, but where is the borderline between that and tempting God; but my sin has never been that I did not love her. If she had not been so devoted to me, so trusting, had not stopped living for herself in order to live for me—well, then the whole thing would have been a trifle; it does not bother me to make a fool of the whole world, but to deceive a young girl.—O, if I dared return to her, and even if she did not believe that I was false, she certainly believed that once I was free I would never come back. Be still, my soul, I will act firmly and decisively according to what I think is right. I will also watch what I write in my letters. I know my moods. But in a letter I cannot, as when I am speaking, instantly dispel an impression when I detect that it is too strong.”[39]

Kierkegaard turned attention to his examinations. On May 13, 1841 Kierkegaard wrote, “I have no alternative than to suppose that it is God’s will that I prepare for my examination and that it is more pleasing to him that I do this than actually coming to some clearer perception by immersing myself in one or another sort of research, for obedience is more precious to him than the fat of rams.”[40] The death of his father and the death of Poul Moller also played a part in his decision.

On September 29, 1841, Kierkegaard wrote and defended his dissertation, On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates. The university panel considered it noteworthy and thoughtful, but too informal and witty for a serious academic thesis.[41] The thesis dealt with irony and Schelling’s 1841 lectures, which Kierkegaard had attended with Mikhail Bakunin, Jacob Burckhardt, and Friedrich Engels; each had come away with a different perspective.[42] Kierkegaard graduated from university on 20 October 1841 with a Magister Artium, which today would be designated a Ph.D. He was able to fund his education, his living, and several publications of his early works with his family’s inheritance of approximately 31,000 rigsdaler,.[32]

Authorship (1843–1846)

Kierkegaard published some of his works using pseudonyms and for others he signed his own name as author. On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates was his university thesis, mentioned above. His first book, De omnibus dubitandum est (Latin: “Everything must be doubted”), was written in 1841–42 but was not published until after his death. It was written under the pseudonym “Johannes Climacus”.[43]

Either/Or was published February 20, 1843; it was mostly written during Kierkegaard’s stay in Berlin, where he took notes on Schelling’s Philosophy of Revelation.[44] Edited by Victor Eremita, the book contained the papers of an unknown “A” and “B” Kierkegaard writes in Either/Or, “one author seems to be enclosed in another, like the parts in a Chinese puzzle box,”;[45] the puzzle box would prove to be complicated. Kierkegaard claimed to have found these papers in a secret drawer of his secretary.[46] In Either/Or he stated that arranging the papers of “B” was easy because “B” was talking about ethical situations, whereas arranging the papers of “A” was more difficult because he was talking about chance, so he left the arranging of those papers to chance.[47] Both the ethicist and the aesthetic writers were discussing outer goods, but Kierkegaard was more interested in inner goods. Three months after the publication of Either/Or he published Two Upbuilding Discourses where he writes, “There is talk of the good things of the world, of health, happy times, prosperity, power, good fortune, a glorious fame. And we are warned against them; the person who has them is warned not to rely on them, and the person who does not have them is warned not to set his heart on them. About faith there is a different kind of talk. It is said to be the highest good, the most beautiful;, the most precious, the most blessed riches of all, not to be compared with anything else, incapable of being replaced. Is it distinguished from the other good things, then, by being the highest but otherwise of the same kind as they are—transient and capricious, bestowed only upon the chosen few, rarely for the whole of life? If this were so, then it certainly would be inexplicable that in these sacred places it is always faith and faith alone that is spoken of, that it is eulogized and celebrated again and again.”[48]

Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 was published under his own name, rather than a pseudonym. On October 16, 1843 Kierkegaard published three books: Fear and Trembling, under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio, Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 under his own name, and Repetition as Constantin Constantius.[49] He later published Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843, again using his own name.

In 1844 he published Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844, and Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 under his own name, Philosophical Fragments under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, The Concept of Anxiety under two pseudonyms Vigilius Haufniensis, with a Preface, by Nicolaus Notabene, and finally Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 under his own name.

Kierkegaard published Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions under his own name on April 29, and Stages on Life’s Way edited by Hilarius Bookbinder, April 30, 1845. Kierkegaard went to Berlin for a short rest. Upon returning he published his Discourses of 1843–44 in one volume, Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, May 29, 1845.

Pseudonymous authorship

Either/Or, one of Kierkegaard’s works, was authored under the pseudonyms “A” and “B”, or Judge William, and edited under the pseudonym Victor Eremita.Pseudonyms were used often in the early 19th century as a means of representing viewpoints other than the author’s own; examples include the writers of the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. Kierkegaard employed the same technique.

This was part of Kierkegaard’s theory of “indirect communication.” He wrote, “No anonymous author can more slyly hide himself, and no maieutic can more carefully recede from a direct relation than God can. He is in the creation, everywhere in the creation, but he is not there directly, and only when the single individual turns inward into himself (consequently only in the inwardness of self-activity) does he become aware and capable of seeing God.”[50] According to several passages in his works and journals, such as The Point of View of My Work as an Author, Kierkegaard used pseudonyms in order to prevent his works from being treated as a philosophical system with a systematic structure.[51] In the Point of View, Kierkegaard wrote:

The movement: from the poet (from aesthetics), from philosophy (from speculation), to the indication of the most central definition of what Christianity is—from the pseudonymous ‘Either/Or’, through ‘The Concluding Postscript’ with my name as editor, to the ‘Discourses at Communion on Fridays’, two of which were delivered in the Church of our Lady. This movement was accomplished or described uno tenore, in one breath, if I may use this expression, so that the authorship integrally regarded, is religious from first to last—a thing which everyone can see if he is willing to see, and therefore ought to see. “[52][53]

Later he would write:

… As is well-known, my authorship has two parts: one pseudonymous and the other signed. The pseudonymous writers are poetic creations, poetically maintained so that everything they say is in character with their poetized individualized personalities; sometimes I have carefully explained in a signed preface my own interpretation of what the pseudonym said. Anyone with just a fragment of common sense will perceive that it would be ludicrously confusing to attribute to me everything the poetized characters say. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, I have expressed urged that anyone who quotes something from the pseudonyms will not attribute the quotation to me (see my postscript to Concluding Postscript). It is easy to see that anyone wanting to have a literary lark merely needs to take some verbatim quotations from “The Seducer,” then from Johannes Climacus, then from me, etc., print them together as if they were all my words, show how they contradict each other, and create a very chaotic impression, as if the author were a kind of lunatic. Hurrah! That can be done. In my opinion anyone who exploits the poetic in me by quoting the writings in a confusing way is more or less a charlatan or a literary toper.[54]

Early Kierkegaardian scholars, such as Theodor W. Adorno and Thomas Henry Croxall argue that the entire authorship should be treated as Kierkegaard’s own personal and religious views.[55] This view leads to confusions and contradictions which make Kierkegaard appear philosophically incoherent.[56] Many later scholars, such as the post-structuralists, have interpreted Kierkegaard’s work by attributing the pseudonymous texts to their respective authors. Postmodern Christians present a different interpretation of Kierkegaard’s works.[57] Kierkegaard uses the category of “The Individual”[58] to stop[59] the endless Either/Or.[60]

Kierkegaard’s most important pseudonyms,[61] in chronological order, are:

Victor Eremita, editor of Either/Or
A, writer of many articles in Either/Or
Judge William, author of rebuttals to A in Either/Or
Johannes de silentio, author of Fear and Trembling
Constantin Constantius, author of the first half of Repetition
Young Man, author of the second half of Repetition
Vigilius Haufniensis, author of The Concept of Anxiety
Nicolaus Notabene, author of Prefaces
Hilarius Bookbinder, editor of Stages on Life’s Way
Johannes Climacus, author of Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript
Inter et Inter, author of The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress
H.H., author of Two Ethical-Religious Essays
Anti-Climacus, author of The Sickness Unto Death and Practice in Christianity

Authorship (1847–1855)

Kierkegaard’s manuscript of The Sickness Unto Death[69]Kierkegaard began to write again in 1847. His first work in this period was Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits,[38] which included Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, and Works of Love, both authored under his own name. There had been much discussion in Denmark about the pseudonymous authors until the publication of Concluding Unscientific Discourses where he openly admitted to be the author of the books because people began wondering if he was, in fact, a Christian or not.[70]

In 1848 he published Christian Discourses under his own name and The Crisis and a Crisis in the Life of an Actress under the pseudonym Inter et Inter. Kierkegaard also developed The Point of View of My Work as an Author, his autobiographical explanation for his prolific use of pseudonyms. The book was finished in 1848, but not published until after his death.

The Second edition of Either/Or and The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air were both published early in 1849. Later in 1849 he published The Sickness Unto Death, under the pseudonym Anti-Climacus; four months later he wrote Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays under his own name. Another work by Anti-Climacus, Practice in Christianity, was published in 1850, but edited by Søren Kierkegaard. This work was called Training in Christianity when Walter Lowrie translated it in 1941.

In 1851, Kierkegaard began openly presenting his case for Christianity to the “Single Individual”. In Practice In Christianity, his last pseudonymous work, he said, “In this book, originating in the year 1848, the requirement for being a Christian is forced up by the pseudonymous authors to a supreme ideality.”[71] He now pointedly referred to the single individual in his next three publications; For Self-Examination, Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays, and in 1852 Judge for Yourselves!.[72][73] In 1843 he had written in Either/Or “I ask: What am I supposed to do if I do not want to be a philosopher, I am well aware that I like other philosophers will have to mediate the past. For one thing, this is no answer to my question “What am I supposed to do?” for even if I had the most brilliant philosophical mind there ever was, there must be something more I have to do besides sitting and contemplating the past. Second, I am a married man and far from being a philosophical brain, but in all respect I turn to the devotees of this science to find out what I am supposed to do. But I receive no answer, for philosophy mediates the past and is in the past-philosophy hastens so fast into the past that, as a poet says of and antiquarian, only his coattails remain in the present. See, here you are at one with the philosophers. What unites you is that life comes to a halt. For the philosopher, world history is ended, and he mediates. This accounts for the repugnant spectacle that belongs to the order of the day in our age-to see young people who are able to mediate Christianity and paganism, who are able to play games with the titanic forces of history, and who are unable to tell a simple human being what he has to do here in life, nor do they know what they themselves have to do.”[74] A journal entry about Practice in Christianity from 1851 clarifies his intention.

What I have understood as the task of the authorship has been done. It is one idea, this continuity from Either/Or to Anti-Climacus, the idea of religiousness in reflection. The task has occupied me totally, for it has occupied me religiously; I have understood the completion of this authorship as my duty, as a responsibility resting upon me. Whether anyone has wanted to buy or to read has concerned me very little. At times I have considered laying down my pen and, if anything should be done, to use my voice. Meanwhile I came by way of further reflection to the realization that it perhaps is more appropriate for me to make at least an attempt once again to use my pen but in a different way, as I would use my voice, consequently in direct address to my contemporaries, winning men, if possible. The first condition for winning men is that the communication reaches them. Therefore I must naturally want this little book to come to the knowledge of as many as possible. If anyone out of interest for the cause—I repeat, out of interest for the cause—wants to work for its dissemination, this is fine with me. It would be still better if he would contribute to its well-comprehended dissemination. I hardly need say that by wanting to win men it is not my intention to form a party, to create secular, sensate togetherness; no, my wish is only to win men, if possible all men (each individual), for Christianity. A request, an urgent request to the reader: I beg you to read aloud, if possible; I will thank everyone who does so; and I will thank again and again everyone who in addition to doing it himself influences others to do it. Journals of Søren Kierkegaard, June 1, 1851

[edit] Attack upon the State Church and deathI ask: what does it mean when we continue to behave as though all were as it should be, calling ourselves Christians according to the New Testament, when the ideals of the New Testament have gone out of life? The tremendous disproportion which this state of affairs represents has, moreover, been perceived by many. They like to give it this turn: the human race has outgrown Christianity.
—Søren Kierkegaard, Journals, p. 446 (19 June 1852)[32]

Kierkegaard mounted an attack on Christian institutions in his final years. He felt the established state church was detrimental to individuals.Kierkegaard’s final years were taken up with a sustained, outright attack on the Danish National Church by means of newspaper articles published in The Fatherland (Fædrelandet) and a series of self-published pamphlets called The Moment (Øjeblikket). These pamphlet are now included in Kierkegaard’s Attack Upon Christendom[75]

Kierkegaard first moved to action after Professor (soon bishop) Hans Lassen Martensen gave a speech in church in which he called the recently deceased Bishop Jakob P. Mynster a “truth-witness, one of the authentic truth-witnesses.”[6] Kierkegaard explained, in his first article, that Mynster’s death permitted him—at last—to be frank about his opinions. He later wrote that all his former output had been “preparations” for this attack, postponed for years waiting for two preconditions: 1) both his father and bishop Mynster should be dead before the attack and 2) he should himself have acquired a name as a famous theologic writer.[76] Kierkegaard’s father had been Mynster’s close friend, but Søren had long come to see that Mynster’s conception of Christianity was mistaken, demanding too little of its adherents. Kierkegaard strongly objected to the portrayal of Mynster as a ‘truth-witness’.

During the ten issues of Øjeblikket the aggressiveness of Keirkegaard’s language increased; the “thousand Danish priests“ “playing Christianity“ were eventually called “man-eaters“ after having been “liars“, “hypocrites“ and “destroyers of Christianity” in the first issues. This verbal violence caused a sensation in Denmark, but today Kierkegaard is often considered to have lost control of himself during this campaign.[77]

Before the tenth issue of his periodical The Moment could be published, Kierkegaard collapsed on the street and was taken to a hospital. He stayed in the hospital for over a month and refused to receive communion from a pastor. At that time Kierkegaard regarded pastors as mere political officials, a niche in society who was clearly not representative of the divine. He said to Emil Boesen, a friend since childhood who kept a record of his conversations with Kierkegaard, that his life had been one of immense suffering, which may have seemed like vanity to others, but he did not think it so.[38]

Søren Kierkegaard’s grave in Assistens KirkegårdKierkegaard died in Frederik’s Hospital after being there for over a month, possibly from complications from a fall he had taken from a tree in his youth. He was interred in the Assistens Kirkegård in the Nørrebro section of Copenhagen. At Kierkegaard’s funeral, his nephew Henrik Lund caused a disturbance by protesting the burying of Kierkegaard by the official church. Lund maintained that Kierkegaard would never have approved, had he been alive, as he had broken from and denounced the institution. Lund was later fined for his public disruption of a funeral.[19]

In Kierkegaard’s pamphlets and polemical books, including The Moment, he criticized several aspects of church formalities and politics.[78] According to Kierkegaard, the idea of congregations keeps individuals as children since Christians are disinclined from taking the initiative to take responsibility for their own relation to God. He stresses that “Christianity is the individual, here, the single individual.”[79] Furthermore, since the Church was controlled by the State, Kierkegaard believed the State’s bureaucratic mission was to increase membership and oversee the welfare of its members. More members would mean more power for the clergymen: a corrupt ideal.[80] This mission would seem at odds with Christianity’s true doctrine, which, to Kierkegaard, is to stress the importance of the individual, not the whole.[32] Thus, the state-church political structure is offensive and detrimental to individuals, since anyone can become “Christian” without knowing what it means to be Christian. It is also detrimental to the religion itself since it reduces Christianity to a mere fashionable tradition adhered to by unbelieving “believers”, a “herd mentality” of the population, so to speak.[81] In the Journals, Kierkegaard writes:

If the Church is “free” from the state, it’s all good. I can immediately fit in this situation. But if the Church is to be emancipated, then I must ask: By what means, in what way? A religious movement must be served religiously—otherwise it is a sham! Consequently, the emancipation must come about through martyrdom—bloody or bloodless. The price of purchase is the spiritual attitude. But those who wish to emancipate the Church by secular and worldly means (i.e. no martyrdom), they’ve introduced a conception of tolerance entirely consonant with that of the entire world, where tolerance equals indifference, and that is the most terrible offence against Christianity. […] the doctrine of the established Church, its organization, are both very good indeed. Oh, but then our lives: believe me, they are indeed wretched.[82]

Søren Kierkegaard has been interpreted and reinterpreted since he published his first book. Some authors change with the times as their productivity progresses and sometimes interpretations of an author changes with each new generation. The interpretation of Søren Kierkegaard is still in the process of becoming.

Early 20th century receptionThe first academic to draw attention to Kierkegaard was his fellow Dane Georg Brandes, who published in German as well as Danish. Brandes gave the first formal lectures on Kierkegaard in Copenhagen and helped bring Kierkegaard to the attention of the rest of the European intellectual community.[85] Brandes published the first book on Kierkegaard’s philosophy and life. Sören Kierkegaard, ein literarisches Charakterbild. Autorisirte deutsche Ausg (1879)[86] and compared him to Hegel in Reminiscences of my Childhood and Youth[87] (1906).

He also introduced Friedrich Nietzsche to Europe in 1915 by writing a biography about him.[88] Brandes opposed Kierkegaard’s ideas.[89] He wrote elegantly about Christian doubt. “But my doubt would not be overcome. Kierkegaard had declared that it was only to the consciousness of sin that Christianity was not horror or madness. For me it was sometimes both. I concluded there from that I had no consciousness of sin, and found this idea confirmed when I looked into my own heart. For however violently at this period I reproached myself and condemned my failings, they were always in my eyes weaknesses that ought to be combatted, or defects that could be remedied, never sins that necessitated forgiveness, and for the obtaining of this forgiveness, a Saviour. That God had died for me as my Saviour,—I could not understand what it meant; it was an idea that conveyed nothing to me. And I wondered whether the inhabitants of another planet would be able to understand how on the Earth that which was contrary to all reason was considered the highest truth.” Reminiscences of My Childhood and Youth, By George Brandes September, 1906 p. 108[83]

He also mentions him extensively in volume 2 of his 6 volume work, Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature.[83]

In Danish Romanticism there is none of Friedrich Schlegel’s audacious immorality, but neither is there anything like that spirit of opposition which in him amounts to genius; his ardour melts, and his daring moulds into new and strange shapes, much that we accept as inalterable. Nor do the Danes become Catholic mystics. Protestant orthodoxy in its most petrified form flourishes with us: so do supernaturalism and pietism; and in Grundtvigianism we slide down the inclined plane which leads to Catholicism; but in this matter, as in every other, we never take the final step; we shrink back from the last consequences. The result is that the Danish reaction is far more insidious and covert than the German. Veiling itself as vice does, it clings to the altars of the Church, which have always been a sanctuary for criminals of every species. It is never possible to lay hold of it, to convince it then and there that its principles logically lead to intolerance, inquisition, and despotism. Kierkegaard, for example, is in religion orthodox, in politics a believer in absolutism, towards the close of his career a fanatic. Yet—and this is a genuinely Romantic trait—he all his life long avoids drawing any practical conclusions from his doctrines; one only catches an occasional glimpse of such a feeling as admiration for the Inquisition, or hatred of natural science. Main Currents in Nineteenth, Century Literature Vol. 2 Georg Brandes, 1906 Introduction p. 11

During the 1890s, Japanese philosophers began disseminating the works of Kierkegaard, from the Danish thinkers.[90] Tetsuro Watsuji was one of the first philosophers outside of Scandinavia to write an introduction on the philosophy of Kierkegaard in 1915.

Harald Høffding has an article about him in A brief history of modern philosophy[83] (1900). Hoffding mentions Kierkegaard in his Philosophy of Religion 1906, (online but not in public domain), and the American Journal of Theology (1908) has an article about Hoffding’s Philosophy of Religion. Then Hoffding repents of his previous convictions in The problems of philosophy (1913)[83]

The Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics had an acticle about him in (1908). The beginning of the article says, “The life of Søren Kierkegaard has but few points of contact with the external world; but there were, in particular, three occurrences—a broken engagement, and attack by a comic paper, and the use of a word by H. L. Martensen—which must be referred to as having wrought with extraordinary effect upon his peculiarly sensitive and high-strung nature. The intensity of his inner life, again—which finds expression in his published works, and even more directly in his notebooks and diaries (also published)—cannot be properly understood without some reference to his father.” Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics, Vol. 7 (1908), by James Hastings, John Alexander Sebie and Louis H. Gray p. 696[83]

Theodor Haecker wrote and essay titled, Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of Inwardness in 1913 and David F. Swenson wrote a biography of Søren Kierkegaard in 1920.[83] Lee M. Hollander translated parts of Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Stages on Life’s Way, and Preparations for the Christian Life (Practice in Christianity) into English in 1923,[91] but no one paid attention to the work. Swenson said,

It would be interesting to speculate upon the reputation that Kierkegaard might have attained, and the extent of the influence he might have exerted, if he had written in one of the major European languages, instead of in the tongue of one of the smallest countries in the world. Scandinavian studies and notes, Volume 6 No. 7: Søren Kierkegaard, By David F Swenson, University of Minnesota, Editor A. M. Sturtevant, Feb 1920, p. 41

Later 20th century reception

Kierkegaard’s comparatively early and manifold philosophical and theological reception in Germany was one of the decisive factors of expanding his works, influence, and readership throughout the world.[98][99] Important for the first phase of his reception in Germany was the establishment of the journal Zwischen den Zeiten (Between the Ages) in 1922 by a heterogeneous circle of Protestant theologians: Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann and Friedrich Gogarten.[100] Their thought would soon be referred to as dialectical theology.[100] At roughly the same time, Kierkegaard was discovered by several proponents of the Jewish-Christian philosophy of dialogue in Germany,[101] namely by Martin Buber, Ferdinand Ebner, and Franz Rosenzweig.[102] In addition to the philosophy of dialogue, existential philosophy has its point of origin in Kierkegaard and his concept of individuality.[103] Martin Heidegger sparsely refers to Kierkegaard in Being and Time (1927),[104] obscuring how much he owes to him.[105][106][107] In 1935, Karl Jaspers emphasized Kierkegaard’s (and Nietzsche’s) continuing importance for modern philosophy.[108] Walter Kaufmann discussed Sartre, Jaspers, and Heidegger in relation to Kierkegaard, and Kierkegaard in relation to the crisis of religion.[109]

Philosophical view of Søren Kierkegaard

Philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard has been called a philosopher, a theologian,[110] the Father of Existentialism, both atheistic and theistic variations,[111] a literary critic,[66] a social theorist,[112] a humorist,[113] a psychologist,[8] and a poet.[114] Two of his influential ideas are “subjectivity”,[115] and the notion popularly referred to as “leap of faith”.[2][116]

Kierkegaard’s manuscript of Philosophical Fragments.[69]The leap of faith is his conception of how an individual would believe in God or how a person would act in love. Faith is not a decision based on evidence that, say, certain beliefs about God are true or a certain person is worthy of love. No such evidence could ever be enough to pragmatically justify the kind of total commitment involved in true religious faith or romantic love. Faith involves making that commitment anyway. Kierkegaard thought that to have faith is at the same time to have doubt. So, for example, for one to truly have faith in God, one would also have to doubt one’s beliefs about God; the doubt is the rational part of a person’s thought involved in weighing evidence, without which the faith would have no real substance. Someone who does not realize that Christian doctrine is inherently doubtful and that there can be no objective certainty about its truth does not have faith but is merely credulous. For example, it takes no faith to believe that a pencil or a table exists, when one is looking at it and touching it. In the same way, to believe or have faith in God is to know that one has no perceptual or any other access to God, and yet still has faith in God.[117] As Kierkegaard writes, “doubt is conquered by faith, just as it is faith which has brought doubt into the world”.[118][119]

Kierkegaard also stressed the importance of the self, and the self’s relation to the world, as being grounded in self-reflection and introspection. He argued in Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments that “subjectivity is truth” and “truth is subjectivity.” This has to do with a distinction between what is objectively true and an individual’s subjective relation (such as indifference or commitment) to that truth. People who in some sense believe the same things may relate to those beliefs quite differently. Two individuals may both believe that many of those around them are poor and deserve help, but this knowledge may lead only one of them to decide to actually help the poor.[120]

Kierkegaard primarily discusses subjectivity with regard to religious matters. As already noted, he argues that doubt is an element of faith and that it is impossible to gain any objective certainty about religious doctrines such as the existence of God or the life of Christ. The most one could hope for would be the conclusion that it is probable that the Christian doctrines are true, but if a person were to believe such doctrines only to the degree they seemed likely to be true, he or she would not be genuinely religious at all. Faith consists in a subjective relation of absolute commitment to these doctrines.[121]

Philosophical criticism

Kierkegaard’s famous philosophical critics in the 20th century include Theodor Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas. Atheistic philosophers such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger support many aspects of Kierkegaard’s philosophical views, but criticize and reject some of his religious views.[122][123]

Several Kierkegaardian scholars[who?] argue Adorno’s take on Kierkegaard’s philosophy has been less than faithful to the original intentions of Kierkegaard. One critic of Adorno writes that his book Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic is “the most irresponsible book ever written on Kierkegaard”[124] because Adorno takes Kierkegaard’s pseudonyms literally, and constructs an entire philosophy of Kierkegaard which makes him seem incoherent and unintelligible. Another reviewer says that “Adorno is [far away] from the more credible translations and interpretations of the Collected Works of Kierkegaard we have today.”[56]

Levinas’ main attack on Kierkegaard is focused on his ethical and religious stages, especially in Fear and Trembling. Levinas criticises the leap of faith by saying this suspension of the ethical and leap into the religious is a type of violence. He states:

Kierkegaardian violence begins when existence is forced to abandon the ethical stage in order to embark on the religious stage, the domain of belief. But belief no longer sought external justification. Even internally, it combined communication and isolation, and hence violence and passion. That is the origin of the relegation of ethical phenomena to secondary status and the contempt of the ethical foundation of being which has led, through Nietzsche, to the amoralism of recent philosophies.[125]

Levinas points to the Judeo-Christian belief that it was God who first commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac and that it was an angel who commanded Abraham to stop. If Abraham were truly in the religious realm, he would not have listened to the angel to stop and should have continued to kill Isaac. “Transcending ethics” seems like a loophole to excuse would-be murderers from their crime and thus is unacceptable.[126] One interesting consequence of Levinas’ critique is that it seems to reveal that Levinas views God not as an absolute moral agent but as a projection of inner ethical desire.[127]

On Kierkegaard’s religious views, Sartre offers an objection to the existence of God: If existence precedes essence, it follows from the meaning of the term sentient that a sentient being cannot be complete or perfect. In Being and Nothingness, Sartre’s phrasing is that God would be a pour-soi [a being-for-itself; a consciousness] who is also an en-soi [a being-in-itself; a thing]: which is a contradiction in terms.[122][128] Critics of Sartre have rebutted this objection by stating that it fails as it rests on a false dichotomy and a misunderstanding of the traditional Christian view of God.[129]

Sartre agrees with Kierkegaard’s analysis of Abraham undergoing anxiety (Sartre calls it anguish), but Sartre doesn’t agree that God told him to do it. In his lecture, Existentialism is a Humanism, Sartre wonders if Abraham ought to have doubted whether God actually spoke to him or not.[122] In Kierkegaard’s view, Abraham’s certainty had its origin in that ‘inner voice’ which cannot be demonstrated or shown to another (“The problem comes as soon as Abraham wants to be understood”[cite this quote]). To Kierkegaard, every external “proof” or justification is merely on the outside and external to the subject.[130] Kierkegaard’s proof for the immortality of the soul, for example, is rooted in the extent to which one wishes to live forever.[131]

Kierkegaard’s influence on theology, philosophy, and psychology

The Søren Kierkegaard Statue in Copenhagen

Many 20th-century philosophers, both theistic and atheistic, and theologians drew many concepts from Kierkegaard, including the notions of angst, despair, and the importance of the individual. His fame as a philosopher grew tremendously in the 1930s, in large part because the ascendant existentialist movement pointed to him as a precursor, although he is now seen as a highly significant and influential thinker in his own right.[132] As Kierkegaard was raised as a Lutheran,[133] he is commemorated as a teacher in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church on 11 November and in the Calendar of Saints of the Episcopal Church with a feast day on 8 September.

Philosophers and theologians influenced by Kierkegaard include Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karl Barth, Simone de Beauvoir, Niels Bohr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Emil Brunner, Martin Buber, Rudolf Bultmann, Albert Camus, Martin Heidegger, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Karl Jaspers, Gabriel Marcel, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Reinhold Niebuhr, Franz Rosenzweig, Jean-Paul Sartre, Joseph Soloveitchik, Paul Tillich, Miguel de Unamuno.[134] Paul Feyerabend’s epistemological anarchism in the philosophy of science was inspired by Kierkegaard’s idea of subjectivity as truth. Ludwig Wittgenstein was immensely influenced and humbled by Kierkegaard,[135] claiming that “Kierkegaard is far too deep for me, anyhow. He bewilders me without working the good effects which he would in deeper souls”.[135] Karl Popper referred to Kierkegaard as “the great reformer of Christian ethics, who exposed the official Christian morality of his day as anti-Christian and anti-humanitarian hypocrisy”.[136]

The comparison between Nietzsche and Kierkegaard that has become customary, but is no less questionable for that reason, fails to recognize, and indeed out of a misunderstanding of the essence of thinking, that Nietzsche as a metaphysical thinker preserves a closeness to Aristotle. Kierkegaard remains essentially remote from Aristotle, although he mentions him more often. For Kierkegaard is not a thinker but a religious writer, and indeed not just one among others, but the only one in accord with the destining belonging to his age. Therein lies his greatness, if to speak in this way is not already a misunderstanding. Heidegger: Nietzsche’s Word, “God is Dead.” p. 94

Contemporary philosophers such as Emmanuel Lévinas, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Jacques Derrida, Jürgen Habermas, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Richard Rorty, although sometimes highly critical, have also adapted some Kierkegaardian insights.[137][138][139] Hilary Putnam admires Kierkegaard, “for his insistence on the priority of the question, ‘How should I live?'”.[140]

Kierkegaard has also had a considerable influence on 20th-century literature. Figures deeply influenced by his work include W. H. Auden, Jorge Luis Borges, Don DeLillo, Hermann Hesse, Franz Kafka,[141] David Lodge, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Rainer Maria Rilke, J.D. Salinger and John Updike.[142]

Kierkegaard’s profound influence on psychology is evident. He is widely regarded as the founder of Christian psychology[143] and of existential psychology and therapy.[8] Existentialist (often called “humanistic”) psychologists and therapists include Ludwig Binswanger, Viktor Frankl, Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers, and Rollo May. May based his The Meaning of Anxiety on Kierkegaard’s The Concept of Anxiety. Kierkegaard’s sociological work Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age provides an interesting critique of modernity.[66] Kierkegaard is also seen as an important precursor of postmodernism.[137] In popular culture, he has been the subject of serious television and radio programmes; in 1984, a six-part documentary Sea of Faith: Television series presented by Don Cupitt featured a programme on Kierkegaard, while on Maundy Thursday in 2008, Kierkegaard was the subject of discussion of the BBC Radio 4 programme presented by Melvyn Bragg, In Our Time.

Kierkegaard predicted his posthumous fame, and foresaw that his work would become the subject of intense study and research. In his journals, he wrote:

What the age needs is not a genius—it has had geniuses enough, but a martyr, who in order to teach men to obey would himself be obedient unto death. What the age needs is awakening. And therefore someday, not only my writings but my whole life, all the intriguing mystery of the machine will be studied and studied. I never forget how God helps me and it is therefore my last wish that everything may be to his honour.[144]

In 1784 Immanuel Kant challenged the thinkers of Europe to think for themselves.[145]

“Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance (natura-liter maiorennes), nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them (including the entire fair sex) regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the go-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts.”

In 1854 Søren Kierkegaard wrote a note To “My Reader” of a similar nature.

When a man ventures out so decisively as I have done, and upon a subject moreover which affects so profoundly the whole of life as does religion, it is to be expected of course that everything will be done to counteract his influence, also by misrepresenting, falsifying what he says, and at the same time his character will in every way be at the mercy of men who count that hay have no duty towards him but that everything is allowable. Now, as things commonly go in this world, the person attacked usually gets busy at once to deal with every accusation, every falsification, every unfair statement, and in this way is occupied early and late in counterattacking the attack. This I have no intention of doing. … I propose to deal with the matter differently, I propose to go rather more slowly in counteracting all this falsification and misrepresentation, all these lies and slanders, all the prate and twaddle. Partly because I learn from the New Testament that the occurrence of such things is a sign that one is on the right road, so that obviously I ought not to be exactly in a hurry to get rid of it, unless I wish as soon as possible to get on the wrong road. And partly because I learn from the New Testament that what may temporally be called a vexation, from which according to temporal concepts one might try to be delivered, is eternally of value, so that obviously I ought not to be exactly in a hurry to try to escape, if I do not wish to hoax myself with regard to the eternal. This is the way I understand it; and now I come to the consequence which ensues for thee. If thou really has ever had an idea that I am in the service of something true—well then, occasionally there shall be done on my part what is necessary, but only what is strictly necessary to thee, in order that , if thou wilt exert thyself and pay due attention, thou shalt be able to withstand the falsifications and misrepresentations of what I say, and all the attacks upon my character—but thy indolence, dear reader, I will not encourage. If thou does imagine that I am a lackey, thou hast never been my reader; if thou really art my reader, thou wilt understand that I regard it as my duty to thee that thou art put to some effort, if thou art not willing to have the falsifications and misrepresentations, the lies and slanders, wrest from thee the idea that I am in the service of something true. Attack Upon Christianity, by Søren Kierkegaard, 1853–1854 Translated, with an Introduction and Notes by Walter Lowrie, New Introduction by Howard A. Johnson, Princeton University Press 1944, 1968 pp. 95–96

Selected bibliography

For a complete bibliography, see List of works by Søren Kierkegaard

(1841) On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates (Om Begrebet Ironi med stadigt Hensyn til Socrates)
(1843) Either/Or (Enten-Eller)
(1843) Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
(1843) Fear and Trembling (Frygt og Bæven)
(1843) Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
(1843) Repetition (Gjentagelsen)
(1843) Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843
(1844) Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
(1844) Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
(1844) Philosophical Fragments (Philosophiske Smuler)
(1844) The Concept of Anxiety (Begrebet Angest)
(1844) Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
(1845) Stages on Life’s Way (Stadier paa Livets Vei)
(1846) Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (Afsluttende uvidenskabelig Efterskrift)
(1847) Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits (Opbyggelige Taler i forskjellig Aand), which included Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing
(1847) Works of Love (Kjerlighedens Gjerninger)
(1848) Christian Discourses (Christelige Taler)
(1848) The Point of View of My Work as an Author “as good as finished” (IX A 293)
(1849) The Sickness Unto Death (Sygdommen til Døden)
(1849) Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays
(1850) Practice in Christianity (Indøvelse i Christendom)


1.^ This classification is anachronistic; Kierkegaard was an exceptionally unique thinker and his works do not fit neatly into any one philosophical school or tradition, nor did he identify himself with any. His works are considered precursor to many schools of thought developed in the 20th and 21st centuries. See 20th century receptions in Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard.
2.^ a b c (Hannay & Marino, 1997)
3.^ The influence of Socrates can be seen in Kierkegaard’s Sickness Unto Death and Works of Love.
4.^ (Gardiner, 1969)
5.^ Point of View Lowrie p. 41, Practice in Christianity, Hong 1991 Chapter VI p. 233ff, Works of Love IIIA p. 91ff
6.^ a b (Duncan, 1976)
7.^ Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments Hong pp. 15–17, 555–610 Either/Or Vol II pp. 14, 58, 216–217, 250 Hong
8.^ a b c (Ostenfeld & McKinnon, 1972)
9.^ (Howland, 2006)
10.^ Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong, 1992 p. 131
11.^ Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Postscript both deal with objectively demonstrated Christianity. It can’t be done per SK.
12.^ Works of Love 1847 Hong 1995 p. 145 See The Point of View of my Work as an Author, 1848 by Walter Lowrie pp. 133–134 for more about the single individual
13.^ Johannes Climacus, by Søren Kierkegaard p. 17
14.^ See David F. Swenson’s 1921 biography of SK, pp. 2, 13
15.^ Concluding Unscientific Postscript p. 72ff Hong
16.^ The Point of View of My Work as An Author: A Report to History, by Søren Kierkegaard, written in 1848, published in 1859 by his brother Peter Kierkegaard Translated with introduction and notes by Walter Lowrie, 1962 Harper Torchbooks pp. 48–49
17.^ Søren Kierkegaard by Johannes Hohlenberg, translated by T.H. Croxall, Pantheon Books, 1954 ISBN 53008941
18.^ (Watkin, 2000)
19.^ a b c d (Garff, 2005)
20.^ Johannes Climacus, by Søren Kierkegaard p. 29
21.^ Kierkegaard’s Journals Gilleleie, August 1, 1835. Either/Or Vol II pp. 361–362
22.^ Johannes Climacus, by Søren Kierkegaard pp. 22–23, 29–30, 32–33, 67–70, 74–76
23.^ Point of View Lowrie pp. 28–30
24.^ Johannes Climacus, by Søren Kierkegaard p. 23
25.^ Point of View Lowrie p. 89, Practice in Christianity pp. 90–91
26.^ see Malcolm Muggeridge The Third Testament
27.^ (Garff, 2005, p. 113); Also available in Encounters With Kierkegaard: A Life As Seen by His Contemporaries, p. 225.
28.^ Kierkegaard, by Josiah Thompson, Published by Alfred P. Knoff, inc, 1973 pp. 14–15, 43–44 ISBN 0-394-47092-3
29.^ Journals & Papers of Søren Kierkegaard IIA 11 August 1838
30.^ (Bergmann, 1991, p. 2)
31.^ Given the importance of the journals, references in the form of (Journals, XYZ) are referenced from Dru’s 1938 Journals. When known, the exact date is given; otherwise, month and year, or just year is given.
32.^ a b c d (Dru, 1938)
33.^ (Conway & Gover, 2002, p. 25)
34.^ (Dru, 1938, p. 221)
35.^ (Søren Kierkegaard’s Journals & Papers IA Gilleleie, August 1, 1835)
36.^ (Dru, 1938, p. 354)
37.^ Journals & Papers of Søren Kierkegaard IIA 11 August 1838
38.^ a b c (Hannay, 2003)
39.^ Journals & Papers of Søren Kierkegaard IIIA 166
40.^ Journals & Papers of Søren Kierkegaard IIA 11 May 13, 1839
41.^ (Kierkegaard, 1989)
42.^ Tristram Hunt, Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels (Henry Holt and Co., 2009: ISBN 0-8050-8025-2), pp. 45–46.
43.^ Johannes Climacus: or. De omnibus dubitandum est, and A sermon. Translated, with an assessment by T. H. Croxall 1958 B 4372 .E5 1958
44.^ Kierkegaards notes on Schelling’s work are included in Hong’s 1989 translation of the Concept of Irony
45.^ Either/Or Vol I, Swenson p. 9
46.^ Either/Or Vol I Preface Swenson pp. 3–6
47.^ Either/Or Vol I Preface Swenson pp. 7–8, also see Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong, 1992 p. 555ff for a relationship of Religiousness A to Religiousness B
48.^ Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, The Expectancy of Faith pp. 9–10 Hong
49.^ Fear and Trembling, Hong, 1983 Translator’s introduction p. xiv
50.^ Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong 1992 p. 243
51.^ (Carlisle, 2006)
52.^ (The Point of View of My Work as An Author: Lowrie pp. 142–143)
53.^ See also Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments Volume I, by Johannes Climacus, edited by Søren Kierkegaard, Copyright 1846 – Edited and Translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong 1992 Princeton University Press pp. 251–300 for more on the Pseudonymous authorship.
54.^ Journals & Papers of Søren Kierkegaard X 6 b 145 1851
55.^ (Adorno, 1989)
56.^ a b (Morgan)
57.^ (Evans, 1996)
58.^ (POV Lowrie pp. 133–134)
59.^ (POV Lowrie pp. 74–75)
60.^ (Either/Or Vol I Swenson, pp. 13–14)
61.^ (Malantschuk & Hong, 2003)
62.^ Kierkegaard, Søren. Dialectical Result of a Literary Police Action in Essential Kierkegaard.
63.^ (Kierkegaard, 1978, pp. vii–xii)
64.^ See Chapter VII of Søren Kierkegaard by David F Swensen below in Web pp. 27–32 for a fuller account of this affair
65.^ (Kierkegaard, 2001, p. 86)
66.^ a b c (Kierkegaard, 2001)
67.^ The Crowd is Untruth
68.^ Works of Love Hong pp. 44–60
69.^ a b (Royal Library of Denmark, 1997)
70.^ Point of View pp. 20–24, 41–42, Concluding Unscientific Postscript Hong 1992 p. 251ff
71.^ Practice in Christianity, Hong 1991 Editor’s Preface
72.^ Point of View 1962 Lowrie pp. 6–9, 24, 30, 40, 49, 74–77, 89
73.^ (Lowrie, 1968)
74.^ Either/Or Vol II Hong p. 171ff
75.^ (Lowrie, 1962) Attack Upon Christendom, by Soren Kierkegaaard, 1854–1855, translated by Walter Lowrie, 1944, 1968, Princeton University Press
76.^ For instance in “Hvad Christus dømmer om officiel Christendom.“ 1855.
77.^ For instance: In Lindhardt: Vækkelser og Kirkelige Retninger i Danmark. Det Danske Forlag 1951, the attack is coined as “pathological“ and in Danstrup and Koch’s Danmarks Historie it is called “sygeligt“. Vol. 11, p. 398
78.^ (Kierkegaard, 1998b)
79.^ (Kirmmse, 2000)
80.^ (Walsh, 2009)
81.^ (Kierkegaard, 1999)
82.^ (Dru, 1938, p. 429)
83.^ a b c d e f g h i j k l see the link to the text in section Web below
85.^ (Hall, 1983)
87.^, pp. 98–108
88.^ Friedrich Nietzsche, by George Brandes 1906 not in pd but online
89.^ 1911 Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica/Søren Kierkegaard
90.^ (Masugata, 1999)
91.^ See “Selections from the writings of Kierkegaard” in external links below. Also honorarium for Hollander
92.^ Buch des Richters: Seine Tagebücher 1833–1855, (8 volumes) Hermann Gottsched (1905) the link is below in web
93.^ a b (Bösl, 1997, p. 12)
94.^ An independent English translation of selections/excerpts of Kierkegaard appeared in 1923 by Lee Hollander, and published by the University of Texas at Austin.
95.^ See Michael J. Paulus, Jr. From A Publisher’s Point Of View: Charles Williams’s Role In Publishing Kierkegaard In English — online —
96.^ Kierkegaard studies, with special reference to (a) the Bible (b) our own age. Thomas Henry Croxall, Published: 1948 pp. 16–18
97.^ The Journals Of Kierkegaard (1958)
98.^ (Stewart, 2009)
99.^ (Bösl, 1997, p. 13)
100.^ a b (Bösl, 1997, p. 14)
101.^ The German Wikipedia has an article on Dialogphilosophie.
102.^ (Bösl, 1997, pp. 16–17)
103.^ (Bösl, 1997, p. 17)
104.^ Heidegger, Sein und Zeit, Notes to pp. 190, 235, 338
105.^ (Bösl, 1997, p. 19)
106.^ (Beck, 1928)
107.^ (Wyschogrod, 1954)
108.^ (Jaspers, 1935)
109.^ Audio recordings of Kaufmann’s lectures
110.^ (Kangas, 1998)
111.^ (McGrath, 1993, p. 202)
112.^ (Westphal, 1997)
113.^ (Oden, 2004)
114.^ (MacKey, 1971)
115.^ Kierkegaard is not an extreme subjectivist; he would not reject the importance of objective truths.
116.^ The Danish equivalent to the English phrase “leap of faith” does not appear in the original Danish nor is the English phrase found in current English translations of Kierkegaard’s works. Kierkegaard does mention the concepts of “faith” and “leap” together many times in his works. See Faith and the Kierkegaardian Leap in Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard.
117.^ (Kierkegaard, 1992, pp. 21–57)
118.^ (Kierkegaard, 1976, p. 399)
119.^ Elsewhere, Kierkegaard uses the Faith/Offense dichotomy. In this dichotomy, doubt is the middle ground between faith and taking offense. Offense, in his terminology, describes the threat faith poses to the rational mind. He uses Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:6: “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me”. In Practice in Christianity, Kierkegaard writes: “Just as the concept of “faith” is an altogether distinctively Christian term, so in turn is “offense” an altogether distinctively Christian term relating to faith. The possibility of offense is the crossroad, or it is like standing at the crossroad. From the possibility of offense, one turns either to offense or to faith, but one never comes to faith except from the possibility of offense” (p. 80). In the footnote, he writes, “in the works of some psuedonymous writers it has been pointed out that in modern philosophy there is a confused discussion of doubt where the discussion should have been about despair. Therefore one has been unable to control or govern doubt either in scholarship or in life. “Despair,” however, promptly points in the right direction by placing the relation under the rubric of personality (the single individual) and the ethical. But just as there is a confused discussion of “doubt instead of a discussion of “despair, ” So also the practice has been to use the category “doubt” where the discussion ought to be about “offense.” The relation, the relation of personality to Christianity, is not to doubt or to believe, but to be offended or to believe. All modern philosophy, both ethically, and Christianly, is based upon frivolousness. Instead of deterring and calling people to order by speaking of being despairing and being offended, it has waved to them and invited them to become conceited by doubting and having doubted. Modern philosophy, being abstract, is floating in metaphysical indeterminateness. Instead of explaining this about itself and then directing people (individual persons) to the ethical, the religious, the existential, philosophy has given the appearance that people are able to speculate themselves out of their own skin, as they so very prosaically say, into pure appearance.” (Practice in Christianity, trans. Hong 1991, p. 80.) He writes that the person is either offended that Christ came as a man, and that God is too high to be a lowly man who is actually capable of doing very little to resist. Or Jesus, a man, thought himself too high to consider himself God (blasphemy). Or the historical offense where God a lowly man comes into collision with an established order. Thus, this offensive paradox is highly resistant to rational thought.
120.^ (Pattison, 2005)
121.^ (Kierkegaard, 1992)
122.^ a b c (Sartre, 1946)
123.^ (Dreyfus, 1998)
124.^ (Westphal, 1996, p. 9)
125.^ Emmanuel Levinas, Existence and Ethics, (1963) (as cited in Lippitt, 2003, p. 136)
126.^ (Katz, 2001)
127.^ (Hutchens, 2004)
128.^ (Sartre, 1969, p. 430)
129.^ Swinburne Richard, The Coherence of Theism
130.^ (Stern, 1990)
131.^ (Kosch, 1997)
132.^ (Weston, 1994)
133.^ (Hampson, 2004)
134.^ Unamuno refers to Kierkegaard in his book The Tragic Sense of Life, Part IV, In The Depths of the Abyss
135.^ a b (Creegan, 1989)
136.^ (Popper, 2002)
137.^ a b (Matustik & Westphal, 1995)
138.^ (MacIntyre, 2001)
139.^ (Rorty, 1989)
140.^ (Pyle, 1999, pp. 52–53)
141.^ (McGee, 2006)
142.^ (Updike, 1997)
143.^ (Society for Christian Psychology)
144.^ (Dru, 1938, p. 224)
145.^ see An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? (1784)



Adorno, Theodor W. (1989). Kierkegaard: Construction of the Aesthetic. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-1186-6
Angier, Tom. (2006). Either Kierkegaard/or Nietzsche: Moral Philosophy in a New Key. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-5474-5
Beck, M. (1928). Referat und Kritik von M.Heidegger: Sein und Zeit, in: Philosophische Hefte 1 7 (German)
Bergmann, Samuel Hugo. (1991). Dialogical philosophy from Kierkegaard to Buber. New York: SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-0623-6
Bösl, Anton. (1997). Unfreiheit und Selbstverfehlung. Søren Kierkegaards existenzdialektische Bestimmung von Schuld und Sühne. (German) Herder: Freiburg, Basel, Wien
Cappelorn, Niels J. (2003). Written Images. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-11555-9
Carlisle, Claire. (2006). Kierkegaard: a guide for the perplexed‎. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-8611-0
Conway, Daniel W. and Gover, K. E. (2002). Søren Kierkegaard: critical assessments of leading philosophers. London: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-0-415-23587-7
Dreyfus, Hubert’ (1998). Being-in-the-World: A Commentary on Heidegger’s Being and Time, Division I. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-54056-8
Dru, Alexander. (1938). The Journals of Søren Kierkegaard. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Duncan, Elmer. (1976). Søren Kierkegaard: Maker of the Modern Theological Mind. Word Books, ISBN 0-87680-463-6
Evans, C. Stephen. (1996). “Introduction” in Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard, trans. by C. Stephen Evans and Sylvia Walsh. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-84810-7
Gardiner, Patrick. (1969). Nineteenth Century Philosophy. New York: The Free Press. ISBN 978-0-02-911220-5
Garff, Joakim. (2005). Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography, trans. by Bruce Kirmmse. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-09165-5
Hall, Sharon K. (1983). Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Detroit: University of Michigan. ISBN 978-0-8103-0221-1
Hannay, Alastair. (2003). Kierkegaard: A Biography (new ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-53181-0
Hannay, Alastair and Gordon Marino (eds). (1997). The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47719-0
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich. (1979). Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-824597-1
Hong, Howard V, and Edna Hong. (2000). The Essential Kierkegaard. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-03309-9
Howland, Jacob. (2006). Kierkegaard and Socrates: A Study in Philosophy and Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86203-5
Houe, Poul, and Gordon D. Marino, Eds. (2003). Søren Kierkegaard and the words. Essays on hermeneutics and communication, Copenhagen: C.A. Reitzel.
Hubben, William. (1962). Dostoevsky, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Kafka: Four Prophets of Our Destiny. New York: Collier Books.
Hutchens, Benjamin C. (2004). Levinas: a guide for the perplexed‎. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8264-7282-3.
Jaspers, Karl. (1935). Vernunft und Existenz. Fünf Vorlesungen. (German) Groningen.
Kierkegaard, Søren. (2001). A Literary Review. London: Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044801-2
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1992). Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02082-5
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1985). Johannes Climacus, De Omnibus Dubitandum Est, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02036-5
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1976). Journals and Papers, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-18239-5
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1999). Provocations, edited by Charles Moore. Rifton, NY: Plough Publishing House. ISBN 978-0-87486-981-1
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1989). The Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07354-6.
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1998b). The Moment and Late Writings, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14081-0
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1998a). The Point of View. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-05855-5.
Kierkegaard, Søren. (1978). Two Ages: The Age of Revolution and the Present Age, A Literary Review, trans. by Howard and Edna Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-14076-6
Kosch, Michelle. (1996). Freedom and reason in Kant, Schelling, and Kierkegaard. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-928911-0
Lippitt, John. (2003). Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Kierkegaard and Fear and Trembling. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-18047-4
Lowrie, Walter. (1942). A Short Life of Kierkegaard. Prinecton: Princeton University Press.
Lowrie, Walter. (1968). Kierkegaard’s Attack Upon Christendom. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
MacIntyre, Alasdair. (2001). “Once More on Kierkegaard” in Kierkegaard after MacIntyre. Chicago: Open Court Publishing. ISBN 0-8126-9452-X
MacKey, Louis. (1971). Kierkegaard: A Kind of Poet. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-1042-5
Malantschuk, Gregor, and Howard and Edna Hong. (2003). Kierkegaard’s concept of existence. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press. ISBN 978-0-87462-658-2
Matustik, Martin Joseph and Merold Westphal (eds). (1995). Kierkegaard in Post/Modernity. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-20967-6
McGrath, Alister E. (1993). The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Thought. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-631-19896-2
Mooney, Edward F. (2007). On Søren Kierkegaard: dialogue, polemics, lost intimacy, and time‎. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-5822-1
Oden, Thomas C. (2004). The Humor of Kierkegaard: An Anthology. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02085-X
Ostenfeld, Ib and Alastair McKinnon. (1972). Søren Kierkegaard’s Psychology. Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurer University Press, ISBN 0-88920-068-8
Pattison, George. (2002). Kierkegaard’s Upbuilding Discourses: Philosophy, theology, literature. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-28370-1.
Pattison, George. (2005). The Philosophy of Kierkegaard. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-2987-8
Popper, Sir Karl R. (2002). The Open Society and Its Enemies Vol 2: Hegel and Marx. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-29063-5
Pyle, Andrew. (1999). Key philosophers in conversation: the Cogito interviews. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-18036-8
Rorty, Richard. (1989). Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-36781-6
Sartre, Jean-Paul. (1969). Being and nothingness: an essay on phenomenological ontology‎. London: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-04029-7
Skopetea, Sophia. (1995). Kierkegaard og graeciteten, En Kamp med ironi. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel. ISBN 87-7421-963-4 (In Danish with synopsis in English)
Staubrand, Jens. (2009). Jens Staubrand: Søren Kierkegaard’s Illness and Death, Copenhagen: Søren Kierkegaard Kulturproduktion. ISBN 978-87-92259-92-9. The book is in English and Danish.
Staubrand, Jens. (2009). Søren Kierkegaard: International Bibliography Music works & Plays, New edition, Copenhagen: Søren Kierkegaard Kulturproduktion. ISBN 978-87-92259-91-2. The book is in English and Danish.
Stern, Kenneth. (1990). “Kierkegaard on Theistic Proof” in Religious Studies. Cambridge, Vol. 26, pp. 219–226.
Stewart, Jon. (2009). Kierkegaard’s International Reception, Vol. 8. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7546-6496-3
Updike, John. (1997). “Foreword” in The Seducer’s Diary by Søren Kierkegaard. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01737-9
Walsh, Sylvia. (2009). Kierkegaard: Thinking Christianly in an Existential Mode‎. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-920836-4
Watkin, Julia. (2000). Kierkegaard. Continuum International Publishing Group, ISBN 978-0-8264-5086-9
Westfall, Joseph. (2007). The Kierkegaardian Author: Authorship and Performance in Kierkegaard’s Literary and Dramatic Criticism. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019302-2
Weston, Michael. (1994). Kierkegaard and Modern Continental Philosophy. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-10120-4
Westphal, Merold. (1996). Becoming a self: a reading of Kierkegaard’s concluding unscientific postscript. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue Press. ISBN 978-1-55753-089-9
Westphal, Merold. (1997). “Kierkegaard and Hegel” in The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-47719-0
Wyschogrod, Michael. (1954). Kierkegaard and Heidegger. The Ontology of Existence London: Routledge.
[edit] Web”Manuscripts from the Søren Kierkegaard Archive”. Royal Library of Denmark. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
The Western literary messenger, Sept 1849 Living Philosophers in Denmark pp. 182–183. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
Hans Lassen Martensen, 1856 (German translation only) “Dr. S. Kierkegaard mod Dr. H. Martensen: et indlaeg”. Retrieved 2010-09-12.
Hans Lassen Martensen, 1856 *Søren Kierkegaard Forskningscenteret. “Søren Kierkegaard Forskningscenteret”. University of Copenhagen. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
Evangelical Christendom: 1856 “The Doctrines of Dr Kierkegaard,”. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
Evangelical Christendom: 1857 Denmark: Remarks on the State of the Danish National Church, by The Rev. Dr. Kalkar, Copenhagen, August 1, 1858. pp. 269–274. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
Hans Lassen Martensen, 1871 “Christian ethics : (General part), S68-70, 99”. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
Otto Pfleiderer 1887 “The Philosophy of Religion: On the Basis of Its History pp. 209–213”. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
The Concise Dictionary of Religious Knowledge and Gazetteer 1889, “Kierkegaard, Søren Aaby pp. 473–475”. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
Harald Høffding, 1900 “A brief history of modern philosophy pp. 283–289”. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
Hermann Gottsched, 1905 “Buch des Richters: Seine Tagebücher 1833–1855,”. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
Encyclopaedia of religion and ethics, Vol. 7, 1908, p. 696-699 “Søren Kierkegaard,”. Retrieved 2010-09-21.
Georg Brandes, 1906 “Main Currents in Nineteenth Century Literature, Vol. 2”. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
Georg Brandes, 1906 “Reminiscences of my Childhood and Youth pp. 98–108,”. Retrieved 2010-08-21.
David F. Swenson, 1921 “Søren Kierkegaard”. Scandanavian Studies and Notes. Retrieved 2010-08-06.
Karl Barth, 1933, 1968 The Epistle to the Romans By Karl Barth, E. C. Hoskyns
Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1946. “Existentialism is a Humanism”. World Publishing Company. Retrieved 2007-04-14.
Hunt,George Laird, 1958″Ten makers of modern Protestant thought Schweitzer, Rauschenbusch, Temple, Kierkegaard, Barth, Brunner, Niebuhr, Tillich, Bultmann, Buber,”. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
Gates, John A, 1960 “The Life And Thought Of Kierkegaard For Everyman,”. Retrieved 2010-12-22.
Malcolm Muggeridge, A Third Testament, 1976, 1983, Little Brown and Company
Creegan, Charles. 1989 “Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard”. Routledge. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
MacDonald, William, 1995 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Søren Kierkegaard.
Lippitt, John and Daniel Hutto. (1998). “Making Sense of Nonsense: Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein, 1998”. University of Hertfordshire. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
Kangas, David, 1998 “Kierkegaard, the Apophatic Theologian, David Kangas, Yale University (pdf format)” (PDF). Enrahonar No. 29, Departament de Filosofia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
Masugata, Kinya, Jul 9, 1999 “Kierkegaard’s Reception in Japan,”. Kinya Masugata. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
Kirmmse, Bruce, 2000. “Review of Habib Malik, Receiving Søren Kierkegaard”. Stolaf. Archived from the original on 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
Hampson, Daphne, 2001 Christian Contradictions: The Structures of Lutheran and Catholic Thought. Cambridge, 2004
Morgan, Marcia, September, 2003 “Adorno’s Reception of Kierkegaard: 1929–1933,”. University of Potsdam.’s%20reception%20of%20kierkegaard.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
“Kierkegaard for Grownups” (2004), by Richard John Neuhaus Retrieved 2012-02-07
Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Gyldendal Leksikon, 2008 “The Official Website of Denmark”. Søren Kierkegaard. Retrieved 2010-09-26.
Society for Christian Psychology. “Society for Christian Psychology”. Christian Psychology,. Archived from the original on 2006-04-07. Retrieved 2010-01-19.
[edit] AudioWalter Kaufmann “Prof. Kaufmann discusses Sartre, Jaspers, Heidegger, Kierkegaard”. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
Walter Kaufmann, 1960 “Kierkegaard and the Crisis in Religion”. Retrieved 2010-08-29.

External links

Find more about Søren Kierkegaard on Wikipedia’s sister projects:

Definitions from Wiktionary

Images and media from Commons

Learning resources from Wikiversity

Quotations from Wikiquote

Source texts from Wikisource

Textbooks from Wikibooks

Kierkegaard on In Our Time at the BBC. (Kierkegaard listen now)
Soren Kierkegaard: Johannes Climacus
Journals and Papers of Kierkegaard in English
Sören Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling by Sören Kierkegaard at Excerpts only
Sören Kierkegaard: Philosophical Fragments at Excerpts only
Sören Kierkegaard: Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing at Excerpts only
Sören Kierkegaard: The Sickness Unto Death at Excerpts only
Sören Kierkegaard: On the Dedication to “That Single Individual” Public Domain
Selections from the writings of Kierkegaard 1923, Hollander, Lee Milton, 1880–1972
Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard (free ebook)
D. Anthony Storm’s Commentary on Kierkegaard
Wabash Center Internet Guide: Søren Kierkegaard

Internet Resources about Kierkegaard from David Bishop

Søren Kierkegaard Newsletter edited by Gordon D. Marino
Guardian series on Kierkegaard by Liverpool University philosopher Clare Carlisle
Søren Kierkegaard at the Open Directory Project
Søren Kierkegaard Research Center
Søren Kierkegaard at Find a Grave

Major works

On the Concept of Irony with Continual Reference to Socrates · Either/Or · Repetition · The Concept of Anxiety · Fear and Trembling · Philosophical Fragments · Stages on Life’s Way · Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments · Works of Love · The Sickness Unto Death · Practice in Christianity · The Book on Adler · For Self-Examination · The Point of View of My Work as an Author · The Journals Attack Upon Christendom ·


Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 · Three Upbuilding Discourses · Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 · Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 · Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 · Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844 · Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions · Edifying Discourses in Diverse Spirits · Christian Discourses · The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air · Three Discourses at the Communion on Fridays · Two Discourses at the Communion on Fridays ·


Philosophy · Theology · Angst · Anguish · Authenticity · Double-mindedness · Indirect communication · Infinite qualitative distinction · Knight of faith · Leap of faith · Ressentiment · Rotation method

Related topics

Regine Olsen · Peter Kierkegaard · Danish Golden Age · Søren Kierkegaard Research Center · Howard V. and Edna H. Hong Kierkegaard Library

[show]v · d · eDanish Golden Age (1800–1850)


Golden Age Copenhagen · Danish artists colony in Rome



Michael Gottlieb Bindesbøll · Jørgen Hansen Koch · Andreas Hallander · Christian Frederik Hansen · Gustav Friedrich Hetsch · Johan Martin Quist


Wilhelm Bendz · Ditlev Blunck · Dankvart Dreyer · C. W. Eckersberg · Louis Gurlitt · Constantin Hansen · Georg Hilker · H. G. F. Holm · C. A. Jensen · Albert Küchler · Vilhelm Kyhn · Christen Købke · Johan Lundbye · Wilhelm Marstrand · Fritz Petzholdt · Jørgen Roed · Martinus Rørbye · P. C. Skovgaard · Jørgen Valentin Sonne · Carl Frederik Sørensen


Herman Wilhelm Bissen · Christen Christensen · Hermann Ernst Freund · Jens Adolf Jerichau · Bertel Thorvaldsen


Niels Gade · Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann · Friedrich Kuhlau · Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse

Performing arts

August Bournonville · Johanne Luise Heiberg


Hans Christian Andersen · Jens Baggesen · Ludvig Bødtcher · Bernhard Severin Ingemann · Adam Oehlenschläger · Christian Winther · Emil Aarestrup ·

Philosophy and Theology

Nikolaj Frederik Severin Grundtvig · Søren Kierkegaard · Poul Martin Møller · Henrik Steffens

Law and Science

Adam Wilhelm Hauch · Peter Wilhelm Lund · Rasmus Rask · Joakim Frederik Schouw · Anders Sandøe Ørsted · Hans Christian Ørsted

Administrators and Patrons

Frederik VI · Christian VIII · Jonas Collin · Niels Laurits Høyen · Knud Lyne Rahbek · Ernst von Schimmelmann · Just Mathias Thiele · Christian Jürgensen Thomsen

Venues Institutions Royal Academy of Fine Arts · Royal Danish Theatre · Kunstforeningen · Sorø Academy

Private venues Bakkehuset (Kamma Rahbek) · C. A. Reitzel’s Bookshop · Nysø Manor · Sophienholm (Friederike Brun) · Sølyst (Charlotte Schimmelmann)

« Age of EnlightenmentModern Breakthrough »

[show] Links to related articles

[show]v · d · eContinental philosophy

Contemporary philosophy (analytic · continental)

Related articles Critical theory · Phenomenology · Hermeneutics · Deconstruction

Concepts Angst · Authenticity · Being in itself · Boredom · Dasein · Différance · Existential crisis · Facticity · Intersubjectivity · Ontic · Other · Self-deception · Trace · more…

Theories German idealism · Hegelianism · Marxism · Psychoanalytic theory · Existentialism · Structuralism · Postmodernism · Poststructuralism

Philosophers Theodor W. Adorno · Louis Althusser · Giorgio Agamben · Hannah Arendt · Alain Badiou · Jean Baudrillard · Zygmunt Bauman · Henri Bergson · Albert Camus · Ernst Cassirer · Gilles Deleuze · Jacques Derrida · Johann Fichte · Michel Foucault · Frankfurt School · Sigmund Freud · Antonio Gramsci · Jürgen Habermas · Georg Hegel · Martin Heidegger · Edmund Husserl · Roman Ingarden · Karl Jaspers · Søren Kierkegaard · Alexandre Kojève · Leszek Kołakowski · Jacques Lacan · Claude Lévi-Strauss · Emmanuel Levinas · Karl Marx · Maurice Merleau-Ponty · Friedrich Nietzsche · Jean-Paul Sartre · Friedrich Schelling · Arthur Schopenhauer · Władysław Tatarkiewicz · Slavoj Žižek · more…

Category · Task Force · Stubs · Discussion

[show]v · d · eEpistemology

Related articles Outline of epistemology · Alethiology · Formal epistemology · Meta-epistemology · Philosophy of perception · Philosophy of science · Faith and rationality · Social epistemology

Concepts in epistemology Knowledge · Justification · Belief · Perception · A priori knowledge · Induction · Other minds · Analytic-synthetic distinction · Causality · Common sense · Descriptive knowledge · Gettier problem · Objectivity · Analysis · Proposition · Regress argument · Simplicity · Speculative reason · Truth · more…

Epistemological theories Coherentism · Constructivist epistemology · Contextualism · Determinism · Empiricism · Fallibilism · Foundationalism · Holism · Infinitism · Innatism · Internalism and externalism · Naïve realism · Naturalized epistemology · Objectivist epistemology · Phenomenalism · Positivism · Reductionism · Reliabilism · Representative realism · Rationalism · Skepticism · Theory of Forms · Transcendental idealism · Uniformitarianism

Epistemologists Thomas Aquinas · Robert Audi · A.J. Ayer · George Berkeley · Laurence BonJour · René Descartes · Edmund Gettier · Alvin Goldman · Nelson Goodman · Paul Grice · David Hume · Immanuel Kant · Søren Kierkegaard · John Locke · G. E. Moore · Robert Nozick · Alvin Plantinga · Plato · Louis Pojman · P. F. Strawson · W.V.O. Quine · Bertrand Russell · Ludwig Wittgenstein ·
Vienna Circle

Portal · Category · Task Force · Stubs · Discussion

[show]v · d · eEthics

Related articles Applied ethics · Normative ethics · Meta-ethics · Descriptive ethics · Medical ethics · Professional ethics

Concepts in ethics Freedom · Autonomy · Rights · Conscience · Value · Morality · Responsibility · Care · Justice · Principles · Virtue · Happiness · Norm · Suffering or Pain · Equality · Trust · Free will · Consent · Moral right · Human rights · Just War · Axiology · more…

Theories Consequentialism · Deontology · Virtue ethics · Ethics of care

Philosophers Plato · Aristotle · Confucius · Mencius · Augustine of Hippo · Thomas Aquinas · Baruch Spinoza · David Hume · Immanuel Kant · Georg W. F. Hegel · Arthur Schopenhauer · Jeremy Bentham · John Stuart Mill · Søren Kierkegaard · Henry Sidgwick · Friedrich Nietzsche · G. E. Moore · Karl Barth · Paul Tillich · Philippa Foot · John Rawls · Bernard Williams · J. L. Mackie · Alasdair MacIntyre · Peter Singer · Derek Parfit · Thomas Nagel · more…

Portal · Category · Task Force · Stubs · Discussion

[show]v · d · ePhilosophy of religion

Related articles Criticism of religion • Exegesis • History of religions • Religion • Religious philosophy • Theology • Relationship between religion and science • Political science of religion • Faith and rationality • more…

Concepts in religion Afterlife • Euthyphro dilemma • Faith • Intelligent design • Miracle • Problem of evil • Religious belief • Soul • Spirit • Theodicy • Theological veto

Theories of religion Acosmism • Agnosticism • Animism • Antireligion • Atheism • Dharmism • Deism • Divine command theory • Dualism • Esotericism • Exclusivism • Existentialism (Christian, Agnostic, Atheist) • Feminist theology • Fundamentalism • Gnosticism • Henotheism • Humanism (Religious, Secular, Christian) • Inclusivism • Monism • Monotheism • Mysticism • Naturalism (Metaphysical, Religious, Humanistic) • New Age • Nondualism • Nontheism • Pandeism • Pantheism • Polytheism • Process theology • Spiritualism • Shamanism • Taoic • Theism • Transcendentalism • more …

of religion Albrecht Ritschl • Alvin Plantinga • Anselm of Canterbury • Antony Flew • Anthony Kenny • Augustine of Hippo • Averroes • Baron d’Holbach • Baruch Spinoza • Blaise Pascal • Bertrand Russell • Boethius • D. Z. Phillips • David Hume • Desiderius Erasmus • Emil Brunner • Ernst Cassirer • Ernst Haeckel • Ernst Troeltsch • Friedrich Schleiermacher • Friedrich Nietzsche • Gaunilo of Marmoutiers • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel • George Santayana • Harald Høffding • Heraclitus • Jean-Luc Marion • Lev Shestov • Loyal Rue • Martin Buber • Mircea Eliade • Immanuel Kant • J. L. Mackie • Johann Gottfried Herder • Karl Barth • Ludwig Feuerbach • Maimonides • Paul Tillich • Pavel Florensky • Peter Geach • Pico della Mirandola • Reinhold Niebuhr • René Descartes • Richard Swinburne • Robert Merrihew Adams • Rudolf Otto • Søren Kierkegaard • Sergei Bulgakov • Thomas Aquinas • Thomas Chubb • Vladimir Solovyov • Walter Kaufmann • William Alston • William James • William Lane Craig • W.K. Clifford • William L. Rowe • William Whewell • William Wollaston • more …

Existence of god For Beauty • Christological • Consciousness • Cosmological • Degree • Desire • Experience · Love • Miracles • Morality • Ontological · Pascal’s Wager · Proper basis • Reason • Teleological ( Natural law) · Transcendental • Witness

Against 747 Gambit • Atheist’s Wager • Evil • Free will • Hell • Inconsistent revelations • Nonbelief • Noncognitivism • Occam’s razor • Omnipotence • Poor design • Russell’s teapot • Fate of the unlearned


Philosophy of mind

Related articles

Metaphysics · Philosophy of artificial intelligence · Philosophy of information · Philosophy of perception · Philosophy of self

Concepts in mind

Abstract object · Artificial intelligence · Chinese room · Cognition · Concept · Concept and object · Consciousness · Idea · Identity · Ingenuity · Intelligence · Intentionality · Introspection · Intuition · Language of thought · Materialism · Mental event · Mental image · Mental process · Mental property · Mental representation · Mind · Mind-body dichotomy · Pain · Problem of other minds · Propositional attitude · Qualia · Tabula rasa · Understanding · more…

Theories of mind

Behaviourism · Biological naturalism · Dualism · Eliminative materialism · Emergent materialism · Epiphenomenalism · Functionalism · Identity theory · Interactionism · Materialism · Mind-body problem · Monism · Naïve realism · Neutral monism · Phenomenalism · Phenomenology (Existential phenomenology) · Physicalism · Pragmatism · Property dualism · Representational theory of mind · Solipsism · Substance dualism

Philosophers of mind

J. L. Austin · Alexander Bain · Henri Bergson · Krishna Chandra Bhattacharya · Ned Block · C. D. Broad · Daniel Dennett · Dharmakirti · Donald Davidson · René Descartes · Alvin Goldman · Martin Heidegger · Edmund Husserl · William James · Søren Kierkegaard · Gottfried Leibniz · Maurice Merleau-Ponty · Marvin Minsky · G. E. Moore · Thomas Nagel · Karl Popper · Richard Rorty · Gilbert Ryle · John Searle · Baruch Spinoza · Alan Turing · Vasubandhu · Ludwig Wittgenstein · Zhuangzi · more…

Retrieved from “”

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms of Use for details.

Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.


Must you please come thrust through cussed

Moo blustering death knots in seemly cute

Obscenely true quite nublial quite tubelial

Soil sinking sunk shipped sought some dust

To spread bread onto dry toast roast a boat

Moat meat might market thought throp clop

Wrought bought unto trot mot lot caught

Dunk down dinky drafts untreated loud

Unbelievably treat me trusted meet me sin

Sound seek ye found funky friend feet sit

Sight shop unto ripe wrong lite long left

Leap underneath apple treat seat leave he

You me muck munch couch lounge lively

Eke out every miffed mound each rowdy

Rump loudly limping to the lip blundering

Fist floundering food flop fidget front and

Sickly quick drip kick miss rock test tiff

its yours

dripping dropping flacking flicking sing songs of sipping
slender slipping socks onto sapping sorts of sameness
really. did you? no, never. I would never do that.
I figured. now, to climbing, kicking, strapping storks
under battered beams of emblems in nearby namesakes
reality blown up into surreality slugged them with it!
blew it out cringe grapping the oh shit handles of life
food, sex, power, greed, wealth, accumulation of junk
wal-mart yard sales sales sales spending it all with
nothing in your pocket but credit cards yes they say
yes of course you may you may have it on sale you may
have it anyway you may have it any way you want any
time you want any where you want it. just ask and it
shall be yours and we will even send it to you if you don’t
ask just take it, please, keep it, enjoy it, you can pay us
later just make sure you make that payment or even
better don’t so we can charge you surreal interest to
match your surreal purchase and surreal greed. it’s yours.

Frederick Buechner, American Writer and Theologian

(The following information can be found at

(Carl) Frederick Buechner is an American writer and theologian. Born July 11, 1926 in New York City, he is an ordained Presbyterian minister and the author of more than thirty published books thus far.[1] His work encompasses different genres, including fiction, autobiography, essays and sermons, and his career has spanned six decades. Buechner’s books have been translated into many languages for publication around the world. He is best known for his works A Long Day’s Dying (his first work, published in 1950); The Book of Bebb, a tetralogy based on the character Leo Bebb published in 1977; Godric, a first person narrative of the life of the medieval saint, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1981; Brendan, a second novel narrating a saint’s life, published in 1987; Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner (1992); and his autobiographical works The Sacred Journey (1982), Now and Then (1983), Telling Secrets (1991), and The Eyes of the Heart: Memoirs of the Lost and Found (1999). He has been called “Major talent” and “…a very good writer indeed” by the New York Times, and “one of our most original storytellers” by USA Today. Annie Dillard (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek) says: “Frederick Buechner is one of our finest writers.”

Buechner’s work has often been praised for its ability to inspire readers to see the grace in their daily lives. As stated in the London Free Press, “He is one of our great novelists because he is one of our finest religious writers.” He has been a finalist for the National Book Award Presented by the National Book Foundation and the Pulitzer Prize, and has been awarded eight honorary degrees from such institutions as Yale University and the Virginia Theological Seminary. In addition, Buechner has been the recipient of the O. Henry Award, the Rosenthal Award, the Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres Prize, and has been recognized by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.


Frederick Buechner, the eldest son of Carl Frederick and Katherine (Kuhn) Buechner, was born on July 11, 1926 in New York City. During Buechner’s early childhood the family moved frequently, as Buechner’s father searched for work. In The Sacred Journey Buechner recalls: “Virtually every year of my life until I was fourteen, I lived in a different place, had different people to take care of me, went to a different school. The only house that remained constant was the one where my maternal grandparents lived in a suburb of Pittsburgh called East Liberty…Apart from that one house on Woodland Road, home was not a place to me when I was a child. It was people.” This would change in 1936, when Buechner’s father committed suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning, a result of his conviction that he had been a failure. Immediately afterwards, the family moved to Bermuda, where they would remain until World War II forced the evacuation of Americans from the island.

Buechner then attended the Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, graduating in 1943. While at Lawrenceville, he met the future Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Merrill; their friendship and rivalry inspired the literary ambitions of both. As Mel Gussow wrote in Merrill’s 1995 obituary: “their friendly competition was an impetus for each becoming a writer.” Buechner then enrolled at Princeton University. His college career was interrupted by military service in World War II (1944–46), but he returned to graduate with a degree in English in 1948. Upon graduation, he returned to the Lawrenceville School as a teacher of creative writing.

During his senior year at Princeton, Buechner received the Irene Glascock Prize for poetry, and he also began working on what was to be his first novel and one of his greatest critical successes: A Long Day’s Dying, published in 1950. Of this first book Buechner says,

“I took the title from a passage in Paradise Lost where Adam says to Eve that their expulsion from Paradise “will prove no sudden but a slow pac’d evil,/ A Long Day’s Dying to augment our pain,” and with the exception of the old lady Maroo, what all the characters seem to be dying of is loneliness, emptiness, sterility, and such preoccupation with themselves and their own problems that they are unable to communicate with each other about anything that really matters to them very much. I am sure that I chose such a melancholy theme partly because it seemed effective and fashionable, but I have no doubt that, like dreams generally, it also reflected the way I felt about at least some dimension of my own life and the lives of those around me.”
The publication of A Long Day’s Dying was to catapult Buechner into early and, in his own words, “undeserved” fame. Buechner’s dense, reflective style was compared to Henry James and Marcel Proust, and he was hailed as one of the rising stars of American literature.[citation needed] In a long and distinguished career, A Long Day’s Dying continues to be one of Buechner’s most successful works, both critically and commercially (it was reissued in 2003). However, his second novel, The Season’s Difference, published in 1952, in Buechner’s words, “fared as badly as the first one had fared well.” The contrast between the success of his first novel and the commercial failure of the second was starkly visible, and it was on this note that Buechner left his teaching position at Lawrenceville to move to New York City and focus on his writing career.

In 1952, Buechner began lecturing at New York University, and once again received critical acclaim for his short story “The Tiger,” published in The New Yorker, which won the O. Henry Award in 1955. Also during this time, he began attending the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, where George Buttrick was pastor. It was during one of Buttrick’s sermons that Buechner heard the words that inspired his ordination: Buttrick described the inward coronation of Christ as taking place in the hearts of those who believe in him “among confession, and tears, and great laughter.” The impact of this phrase on Buechner was so great that he eventually entered the Union Theological Seminary in 1954, on a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship.

While at Union, Buechner studied under such renowned theologians as Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, and James Muilenberg, who helped Buechner in his search for understanding:

“I wanted to learn about Christ – about the Old Testament, which had been his Bible, and the New Testament, which was the Bible about him; about the history of the church, which had been founded on the faith that through him God had not only revealed his innermost nature and his purpose for the world, but had released into the world a fierce power to draw people into that nature and adapt them to that purpose….No intellectual pursuit had ever aroused in me such intense curiosity, and much more than my intellect was involved, much more than my curiosity aroused. In the unfamiliar setting of a Presbyterian church, of all places, I had been moved to astonished tears which came from so deep inside me that to this day I have never fathomed them, I wanted to learn more about the source of those tears and the object of that astonishment.”
Buechner’s decision to enter the seminary had come as a great surprise to those who knew him. Even George Buttrick, whose words had so inspired Buechner, observed that, “It would be a shame to lose a good novelist for a mediocre preacher.” Nevertheless, Buechner’s ministry and writing have ever since served to enhance each other’s message.

Following his first year at Union, Buechner decided to take the 1955-6 school year off to continue his writing. In the spring of 1955, shortly before he left Union for the year, Buechner met his wife Judith at a dance given by some family friends. They were married a year later by James Muilenberg in Montclair, N.J., and spent the next four months traveling in Europe. During this year, Buechner also completed his third novel, The Return of Ansel Gibbs.

After his sabbatical, Buechner returned to Union to complete the two further years necessary to receive a Bachelor of Divinity. He was ordained on June 1, 1958 at the same Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church where he had heard George Buttrick preach four years earlier. Buechner was ordained as an evangelist, or minister without pastoral charge. Shortly before graduation, as he considered his future role as minister of a parish, he had received a letter from Robert Russell Wicks, formerly the Dean of the Chapel at Princeton, and now serving as school minister at Phillips Exeter Academy; Wicks had offered him the job of instituting a new, full-time religion department at Exeter. Buechner decided to take the opportunity to return to teaching, and to develop a program that taught religion in depth.

In September 1958, the Buechners moved to Exeter. There, Buechner faced the challenge of creating a new department and academically rigorous curriculum that would challenge the often cynical views of his new students. “My job, as I saw it, was to defend the Christian faith against its “cultured despisers,” to use Schleiermacher’s phrase. To put it more positively, it was to present the faith as appealingly, honestly, relevantly, and skillfully as I could.” During his tenure at Exeter, Buechner taught courses in both the Religion and English departments, and served as school chaplain and minister. Also during this time, the family grew to include three daughters. For the school year 1963-4, the Buechners took a sabbatical on their farm in Rupert, VT, during which time Buechner returned to his writing; his fourth book, The Final Beast, was published in 1965. As the first book he had written since being ordained, The Final Beast represented a new style for Buechner, one in which he would combine his dual callings as minister and as author.

Buechner recalls of his accomplishments at Exeter: “All told, we were there for nine years with one year’s leave of absence tucked in the middle, and by the time we left, the religion department had grown from only one full-time teacher, namely myself, and about twenty students, to four teachers and something in the neighborhood, as I remember, of three hundred students or more.”[20] Among these students was the future author John Irving, who included a quotation from Buechner in the preface of his book A Prayer for Owen Meany. One of Buechner’s biographers, Marjorie Casebier McCoy, describes the effect of his time at Exeter as follows: “Buechner in his sermons had been attempting to reach out to the “cultured despisers of religion.” The students and faculty at Phillips Exeter had been, for the most part, just that when he had arrived at the school, and it had been they who compelled him to hone his preaching and literary skills to their utmost in order to get a hearing for Christian faith.”

After nine years at Exeter, and the successful establishment of the Religion Department, the Buechners felt that it was time for a change. In the summer of 1967, the whole family moved to their farmhouse in Rupert to live year-round. Buechner describes their house in Now and Then:

“Our house is on the eastern slope of Rupert Mountain, just off a country road, still unpaved then, and five miles from the nearest town…Even at the most unpromising times of year – in mudtime, on bleak, snowless winter days – it is in so many unexpected ways beautiful that even after all this time I have never quite gotten used to it. I have seen other places equally beautiful in my time, but never, anywhere, have I seen one more so.”
There Buechner realized the challenge of writing without the structure of school life around him. He describes the creation of his next novel, The Entrance to Porlock, as follows: “…the labor of writing which was so painful that I find it hard, even now, to see beyond the memory of the pain to whatever merit it may have.” However, in 1968, Buechner received a letter from Charles Price, the chaplain at Harvard, inviting him to give the Noble Lectures series in the winter of 1969. His predecessors in this role were none other than Richard Niebuhr and George Buttrick, and Buechner was both flattered and daunted by the idea of joining so august a group. When he voiced his concerns, Price replied that he should write “something in the area of “religion and letters.”” Thence came the idea to write about the everyday events of life “as the alphabet through which God, of his grace, spells out his words, his meaning, to us. So The Alphabet of Grace was the title I hit upon, and what I set out to do was to try to describe a single representative day of my life in a way to suggest what there was of God to hear in it.” This process showed Buechner a way out of the frustration he had felt while writing The Entrance to Porlock: by drawing on his own experience, he found the means to convey his thoughts through his writing.

It was about this time, when Buechner was giving the Noble Lectures, that he came across the character that would prove so significant in his later career:

“I was reading a magazine as I waited my turn at a barber shop one day when, triggered by a particular article and the photographs that went with it, there floated up out of some hitherto unexplored subcellar of me a character who was to dominate my life as a writer for the next six years and more. He was a plump, bald, ebullient southerner who had once served five years in a prison on a charge of exposing himself before a group of children and was now the head of a religious diploma mill in Florida and of a seedy, flat-roofed stucco church called the Church of Holy Love, Incorporated. He wore a hat that looked too small for him. He had a trick eyelid that every once in a while fluttered shut on him. His name was Leo Bebb.”
The Book of Bebb tetralogy was to prove one of Buechner’s most well-known works. Published in the years from 1972–1977, it brought Buechner to a much wider audience, and gained him critical acclaim (Lion Country, the first book in the series, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1971). Of writing the series, Buechner says: “I had never known a man like Leo Bebb and was in most ways quite unlike him myself, but despite that, there was very little I had to do by way of consciously, purposefully inventing him. He came, unexpected and unbidden, from a part of myself no less mysterious and inaccessible than the part where dreams come from; and little by little there came with him a whole world of people and places that was as heretofore unknown to me as Bebb was himself.” In this series, Buechner experimented for the first time with first-person narrative, and discovered that this, too, opened new doors. His next work, Godric, published in 1980, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

” Godric came as mysteriously alive for me as Bebb had and, with him, all the people he knew and the whole medieval world he lived in. I had Godric narrate his own life, and despite the problem of developing a language that sounded authentic on his lips without becoming impenetrably archaic, and despite the difficulties of trying to recapture a time and place so unlike my own, the book, like Lion Country before it, came so quickly and with such comparative ease that there were times when I suspected that maybe the old saint himself was not entirely uninvolved in the process, as, were I a saint and were somebody writing a book about me, I would not be entirely uninvolved in the process either.”
The process of writing Godric once again indicated a new path for Buechner: the writing of his own autobiography. To date, this includes four volumes: The Sacred Journey (1982), Now and Then (1983), Telling Secrets (1991), Secrets in the Dark (2006). Buechner has thus far published over thirty works, and continues to write more; his latest book, Yellow Leaves, was released in 2008.

In 2007, Buechner was presented with the lifetime achievement award from the Conference on Christianity and Literature


“There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks or bring about your own birth.” Wishful Thinking

“The life that I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.” The Hungering Dark

“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” Now and Then

“You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you’ve never seen before. A pair of somebody’s old shoes can do it. … You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are, but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go next.” Beyond Words

“All theology, like all fiction, is at its heart autobiography.” The Sacred Journey

“It is impossible to conceive how different things would have turned out if that birth had not happened whenever, wherever, however it did … for millions of people who have lived since, the birth of Jesus made possible not just a new way of understanding life but a new way of living it. It is a truth that, for twenty centuries, there have been untold numbers of men and women who, in untold numbers of ways, have been so grasped by the child who was born, so caught up in the message he taught and the life he lived, that they have found themselves profoundly changed by their relationship with him.” Listening to Your Life

“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past … to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back — in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.” Wishful Thinking [64]

“The place God calls you to is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Wishful Thinking

“The world is full of dark shadows, to be sure both the world without and the world within … But praise and trust him too for the knowledge that what’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and that all the dark there ever was, set next to light, would scarcely fill a cup.” Commencement Address at Union Seminary, Richmond

“Grace is something you can never get but only be given. The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you. I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.” Wishful Thinking

“The only patriots worth their salt are the ones who love their country enough to see that in a nuclear age it is not going to survive unless the world survives. True patriots are no longer champions of Democracy, Communism, or anything like that but champions of the Human Race. It is not the Homeland that they feel called on to defend at any cost but the planet Earth as Home. If in the interests of making sure we don’t blow ourselves off the map once and for all, we end up relinquishing a measure of national sovereignty to some international body, so much the worse for national sovereignty. There is only one Sovereignty that matters ultimately, and it is of another sort altogether.” Whistling in the Dark

“Our eyes are just our eyes and not all we have for seeing, maybe not even the best we have for seeing. Facts are all the eye can see, eyes cannot see truth. It’s not with the eyes of the head that we see truths like that, but with the eyes of the heart. To see (Jesus) with the heart is to know, in the long run, that his life is the only life worth living.” From “Faith by the Book: Author Preaches About Biblical Perspective” by Matt VandeBunte

“I pick the children up at the bottom of the mountain where the orange bus lets them off in the wind. They run for the car like leaves blowing. Not for keeps, to be sure, but at least for the time being, the world has given them back again, and whatever the world chooses to do later on, it can never so much as lay a hand on the having-beenness of this time. The past is inviolate. We are none of us safe, but everything that has happened is safe. In all the vast and empty reaches of the universe it can never be otherwise than that when the orange bus stopped with its red lights blinking, these two children were on it. Their noses were running. One of them dropped a sweater. I drove them home.” Listening to Your Life

“[T]he Gospel writers are not really interested primarily in the facts of the birth but in the significance, the meaning for them of that birth just as the people who love us are not really interested primarily in the facts of our births but in what it meant to them when we were born and how for them the world was never the same again, how their whole lives were charged with new significance.” The Hungering Dark

“You can survive on your own; you can grow strong on your own; you can prevail on your own; but you cannot become human on your own.” The Sacred Journey

“Martin Luther said once, ‘If I were God, I’d kick the world to pieces.’ But Martin Luther wasn’t God. God is God, and God has never kicked the world to pieces. He keeps re-entering the world. He keeps offering himself to the world by grace, keeps somehow blessing the world, making possible a kind of life which we all, in our deepest being, hunger for.” From discussion with reporter Kim Lawton on Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly

“Many an atheist is a believer without knowing it just as many a believer is an atheist without knowing it. You can sincerely believe there is no God and live as though there is. You can sincerely believe there is a God and live as though there isn’t.” Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and free-dom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” The Magnificent Defeat

“Maybe it’s all utterly meaningless. Maybe it’s all unutterably meaningful. If you want to know which, pay attention to what it means to be truly human in a world that half the time we’re in love with and half the time scares the hell out of us. Any fiction that helps us pay attention to that is religious fiction. The unexpected sound of your name on somebody’s lips. The good dream. The strange coincidence. The moment that brings tears to your eyes. The person who brings life to your life. Even the smallest events hold the greatest clues.” Lecture to a Book of the Month Club

“The child is born in the night — the mother’s exhausted flesh, the father’s face clenched like a fist — and nothing is ever the same again.” The Hungering Dark

“When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am in who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.

“For as long as your remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I’m feeling most ghost-like, it’s your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I’m feeling sad, it’s my consolation. When I’m feeling happy, it’s part of why I feel that way.

If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget me, part of who I am will be gone.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well.” Listening To Your Life

“The love for equals is a human thing—of friend for friend, brother for brother. It is to love what is loving and lovely. The world smiles. The love for the less fortunate is a beautiful thing—the love for those who suffer, for those who are poor, the sick, the failures, the unlovely. This is compassion, and it touches the heart of the world. The love for the more fortunate is a rare thing—to love those who succeed where we fail, to rejoice without envy with those who rejoice, the love of the poor for the rich, of the black man for the white man. The world is always bewildered by its saints. And then there is the love for the enemy—the love for the one who does not love you but mocks, threatens, and inflicts pain. The torture’s love for the torturer. This is God’s love. It conquers the world.” The Magnificent Defeat

Awards and Honors

Irene Glascock Prize for Poetry 1948
O. Henry Award for “The Tiger” 1955
Rosenthal Award for The Return of Ansel Gibbs 1959
Fiction Finalist, National Book Award for Lion Country 1972
Finalist, Pulitzer Prize for Godric 1981
American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters 1982
Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres Prize 1987
Critics’ Choice Books Award for Fiction for Son of Laughter 1994

Honorary Doctorates

Virginia Theological Seminary 1982
Lafayette College 1984
Lehigh University 1987
Cornell College 1989
Yale University 1990
The University of the South 1996
Susquehanna University 1998
Wake Forest University 2000
King College 2008

Important Dates

July 11, 1926 born in NYC
1936 father commits suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning
1937 family moves to Bermuda until evacuation of Americans at beg. of WWII- 1943 graduates Lawrenceville School (NJ)
1944-6 serves in army
1943-8 attends Princeton University
1948 wins Irene Glascock Prize for Poetry; begins work on his first novel, A Long Day’s Dying
1948-53 teaches English at Lawrenceville
1950 A Long Day’s Dying published
1952 The Season’s Difference published
1953-55 lives in NYC; lecturer at New York University
1954 – 8 enrolled at Union Theological Seminary; also works at Harlem employment clinic
1955-6 year off from seminary to write; meets and marries Judith Buechner
1955 short story “The Tiger” wins O. Henry Prize
1958 publishes The Return of Ansel Gibbs; book receives the Rosenthal award
June 1, 1958 ordination as an evangelist with B.D. from Union Theological Seminary
1958-1960 chaplain and chairman of Dept. of Religion at Phillips Exeter Academy
1960-7 school minister and teacher of religion at Phillips Exeter Academy; daughters are born
1963-4 sabbatical in VT
1965 The Final Beast published
1966 first theological work The Magnificent Defeat (collection of school sermons) published
after 1967 moves with family to Rupert, VT to pursue writing full time
1969 second book of sermons, The Hungering Dark, published
1969 delivers William Belden Noble Lectures at Harvard
1970 Harvard lectures published as The Alphabet of Grace (theological autobiography on a day in his life)
1970 The Entrance to Porlock (retelling of The Wizard of Oz) published
1971 Lion Country published (first of tetralogy on Leo Bebb); nominated for National Book Award
1971 Russell Lecturer at Tufts University
1972 Open Heart (second of tetralogy on Leo Bebb) published
1974 Love Feast (third of tetralogy on Leo Bebb) published
1974 Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC
1974 The Faces of Jesus (book of pictures with text by CFB) published
1976 Lyman Beecher Lecturer at Yale; lectures published in same year as Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale
1977 Treasure Hunt (fourth of tetralogy on Leo Bebb) published
1977 The Book of Bebb published
1977 Telling the Truth: The Gospel in Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale published
1979 Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who published, with illustrations by daughter Katherine
1980 Godric published; Pulitzer Prize finalist
1982 D.D. from Virginia Theological Seminary; archive established at Wheaton College
1982 The Sacred Journey (first volume of autobiography) published
1983 Now and Then published (second volume of autobiography)
1984 A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces published
1985 semester-long teaching position at Wheaton College; offers manuscripts to the college
1987 Christianity and Literature Belles Lettres Prize
1987 Brendan published
1988 Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized published
1990 The Wizard’s Tide published (later re-released as The Christmas Tide)
1991 Telling Secrets (third volume of autobiography) published
1992 Wiersma Lecturer at Calvin College
1992 The Clown in the Belfry: Writings on Faith and Fiction published
1992 Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner published
1993 The Son of Laughter published
1996 The Longing for Home published
1997 On the Road with the Archangel published
1998 The Storm published
1999 The Eyes of the Heart: A Memoir of the Lost and Found (fourth volume of autobiography) published
2001 Speak What We Feel (Not What We Ought to Say) published
2004 Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith published
2006 Secrets in the Dark published
2008 The Buechner Institute inaugurated at King College
2008 The Yellow Leaves: A Miscellany published
[edit] Bibliography[edit] Published worksA Long Day’s Dying, 1950
The Seasons’ Difference, 1952
The Return of Ansel Gibbs, 1958
The Final Beast, 1965
The Magnificent Defeat, 1966
The Hungering Dark, 1968
The Entrance to Porlock, 1970
The Alphabet of Grace, 1970
Lion Country, 1971
Open Heart, 1972
Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC, 1973
Love Feast, 1974
Faces of Jesus: A Life Story, 1974
Treasure Hunt, 1977
Telling the Truth: The Gospel As Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale, 1977
Peculiar Treasures: A Biblical Who’s Who, 1979
The Book of Bebb, 1979
Godric, 1980
The Sacred Journey, 1982
Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation, 1983
A Room Called Remember, 1984
Brendan, 1987
Whistling in the Dark: An ABC Theologized, 1988
Telling Secrets, a Memoir, 1991
The Clown in the Belfry: Writings on Faith and Fiction, 1992
Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, 1992
The Son of Laughter, 1993
The Longing for Home: Recollections and Reflections, 1996
On the Road With the Archangel, 1997
The Storm, 1998
The Eyes of the Heart: A Memoir of the Lost and Found, 1999
Speak What We Feel (Not What We Ought to Say): Reflections on Literature and Faith, 2004
Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith, 2004
The Christmas Tide: A Story, 2005
Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, 2006 (ISBN 0-06-084248-2)
The Yellow Leaves: A Miscellany, 2008 (ISBN 0-664-23276-0)
[edit] Secondary LiteratureMarie-Helene Davies. Laughter in a German Town: The Works of Frederick Buechner 1970-1980. (1983)
Marjorie Casebriar McCoy. Frederick Buechner: Novelist and Theologian of the Lost and Found. (1988)
Victoria S. Allen. Listening to Life: Psychology and Spirituality in the Writings of Frederick Buechner. (2002)
Dale Brown. The Book of Buechner: A Journey Through His Writings. (2006)


1.^ Buechner Institute Biography. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
2.^ Powell’s Books – Peculiar Treasures Synopses & Reviews. Retrieved 2009.11.05.
3.^ London Free Press
4.^ The National Book Awards Winners & Finalists, Since 1950. PDF. Retrieved 2009.11.05.
5.^ Harper Collins, Works by Frederick Buechner. Retrieved 2009.11.05
6.^ Yale University Honorary Degree Honorands, 1977-2009. PDF. Retrieved 2009.11.05 (a)
7.^ Frederick Buechner Papers, 1926-2006, Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections. Retrieved 2009.11.05
8.^ Frederick Buechner Papers, 1926-2006. Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections. Retrieved 2009.11.05
9.^ American Academy of Arts and Lectures. Retrieved 2009.11.05
10.^ a b Buechner Institute Biography
11.^ The Sacred Journey. Repr. San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco, 1991 pg. 20
12.^ The Wheaton Archives. Retrieved 2009.11.05.
13.^ Gussow, Mel. “James Merrill Is Dead at 68; Elegant Poet of Love and Loss.” The New York Times, February 7, 1995.
14.^ The Sacred Journey. Pg. 98
15.^ The Sacred Journey. Pg. 107
16.^ With current generation of pastors close to retirement, leaders seek young clergy by Sam Hodges. The Dallas Morning News, July 19, 2008. Retrieved 2009.11.05.
17.^ Now and Then. Repr. San Francisco: Harper SanFrancisco, 1991. Pg. 10
18.^ The Sacred Journey
19.^ Now and Then. Pg. 47
20.^ Now and Then. Pg. 43
21.^ Marjorie Casebier McCoy.Frederick Buechner: Novelist and Theologian of the Lost and Found. New York: Harper & Row, 1988
22.^ Now and Then. Pg. 77
23.^ Now and Then. Pg. 81
24.^ a b Now and Then. Pg. 86
25.^ a b Now and Then. Pg. 97
26.^ Now and Then. Pg. 106
27.^ The Conference on Christianity and Literature, 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award, Frederick Buechner, Text of Citation of Award. Retrieved 2009.11.05.
28.^ a b c d Barbara Brown Taylor,The Art of the Sermon: a Tribute to Frederick Buechner. April 5, 2006
29.^ James Woelfel. “Frederick Buechner: The Novelist as Theologian,” in Theology Today Vol. 40, No. 3 October 1983.
30.^ Marjorie Casebier McCoy. Frederick Buechner: Novelist and Theologian of the Lost and Found. Pg. 14
31.^ David Daiches, New York Times 1950
32.^ Christopher Isherwood, USA Today
33.^ Brian D. McLaren, author of Everything Must Change
34.^ New York Times Book Review.
35.^ Reynolds Price, New York Times, April 11, 1982. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
36.^ New York Times, March 11, 1984. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
37.^ Washington Post Book Review, 1987.
38.^ Rich Barlow. Minister sees divine in everyday struggles . Boston Globe, July 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
39.^ Richard Kauffman, Ordained to write: an interview with Frederick Buechner; Speak What We Feel Not What We Ought To Say; Interview, The Christian Century, September 11, 2002
40.^ New York Times Book Review, 1980. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
41.^ Frederick Buechner quotes. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
42.^ Volunteering completes the calling by Julia Zaher. The Flint Times. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
43.^ Kansas City Star.
44.^ Discovering a Better Life. Article originally published in The West Australian News. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
45.’^ Working to fill world’s ‘deep hunger for God, Q & A with Stephen Montgomery. Compiled by Emily Adams Keplinger. The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
46.^ Dangers of playing the God card by Tapu Misa. The New Zealand Herald. Monday Oct 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
47.^ Is it really as dreadful as it has been made out? by Peter Youngren. The Pembroke Observer. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
48.^ Critics’ choices for Christmas, Commonweal, 2000
50.^ Presbyterian Record, 2000.
51.^ The Christian Century, 2000
52.^ Eric Convey, Bridging Heaven and Earth – Author brings secular edge to religious writing. The Boston Herald January 9, 2000.
53.^ Reading that refreshes As spring takes over, spiritual discipline sometimes takes a nosedive. These books of devotions and stories offers focus, encouragement and surprises. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Little Rock), April 17, 2004.
54.^ The Buffalo News, June 13, 2004.
55.^ The Son of Laughter, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, June 22, 1994.
56.^ Jacob: The Novel, The New York Times, September 19, 1993
57.^ Painful family secrets point the way to faith, Chicago Tribune, February 10, 1991.
58.^ Wishful Thinking, pp. 38-9, 1973
59.^ The Hungering Dark, 1968
60.^ Now and Then, p. 3, 1983
61.^ Beyond Words, p. 321, 2004
62.^ The Sacred Journey, p. 1, 1982.
63.^ Listening to Your Life, 1992
64.^ Wishful Thinking, p.2, 1973″
65.^ Wishful Thinking, p. 95 1973
66.^ Commencement Address at Union Seminary, Richmond, 1979.
67.^ Wishful Thinking, p. 96, 1973
68.^ Whistling in the Dark, p. 175- 176, 1988
69.^ Faith by the Book: Author preaches about biblical perspective, Grand Rapids Press, 2004.
70.^ Listening to Your Life, 1992.
71.^ a b The Hungering Dark, 1969
72.^ The Sacred Journey, p. 46, 1982
73.^ Author and minister Frederick Beuchner discusses meaning of Easter. Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly with Anchor Bob Abernethy and Reporter Kim Lawton. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
74.^ Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC’s of Faith, 2004
75.^ The Magnificent Defeat, p. 143, 1985
76.^ A Journal of Theological Resources for Ministry, Quarterly Review, Spring 1992. Lecture to a Book of the Month Club. PDF. Retrieved 2009.11.06.
77.^ “Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechner, 1992”
78.^ The Magnificent Defeat, Frederich Buechner[edit] External linksBuechner, part of a film made about Buechner in 2003