Kierkegaard and Christian Faith responds directly to the perennial and problematic concern of how to read Kierkegaard. Specifically, this volume presses the question of whether the existentialist philosopher, who so troubled the waters of nineteenth-century Danish Christendom, is a "Christian thinker for our time." The chapters crisscross the disciplines of philosophy, theology, literature, and ethics, and are as rich in argument as they are diverse in style. Collectively the chapters demonstrate a principled agreement that Kierkegaard continues to be relevant, even imperative. Kierkegaard and Christian Faith reveals just how Kierkegaard's work both defines and reconfigures what is meant by "Christian thinker."
Following an autobiographical prologue by Kathleen Norris, this volume gathers the chapters in pairs around crucial themes: the use of philosophy (Merold Westphal and C. Stephen Evans), revelation and authority (Richard Bauckham and Paul J. Griffiths), Christian character (Sylvia Walsh and Ralph C. Wood), the relationship between the church and the world (Jennifer A. Herdt and Paul Martens), and moral questions of forgiveness and love (Simon D. Podmore and Cyril O’Regan). The volume underscores the centrality of Christianity to Kierkegaard’s life and thought, and rightly positions Kierkegaard as a profound challenge to Christianity as it is understood and practiced today.
1. An Introduction to False Pretenses, Søren Kierkegaard, and Trying on Faith for Size
Part I: Philosophy, Revelation, and Authority
2. Kierkegaard as Four Dimensional Thinker
3. Kierkegaard, Natural Theology, and the Existence of God
4. Kierkegaard and the Epistle of James
5. Kierkegaard and Apostolic Authority
Part II: Christian Character and Community
6. On Becoming a Person of Character
7. Søren Kierkegaard, Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins, and Transparency Before God
8. The Apophatic Self and the Way of Forgetting
9. The Rule of Chaos and the Perturbation of Love
10. Secrecy, Corruption, and the Exchange of Reasons
11. Kierkegaard and the Peaceable Kingdom
Paul Martens is Associate Professor of Religion at Baylor University.
C. Stephen Evans is University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University and Professorial Fellow, Australian Catholic University.
By giving Kierkegaard a voice for our time, this unique collection of essays breaks new ground, demonstrating why Kierkegaard remains such an important figure for Christianity today. What makes this volume exceptional is the way that it weaves together a diverse range of perspectives from leading scholars. This collection will prove invaluable not only for Kierkegaard scholars but also for all those interested in Kierkegaard’s profound vision of the Christian faith.
~Andrew Torrance, Research Fellow, University of St Andrews
This collection of essays by eleven eminent contemporary Kierkegaard scholars is a fascinating collage of diverse readings and applications of his profound engagement with the task of becoming a Christian in the modern world. They will serve both as an excellent introduction to Kierkegaard for those well versed in mainstream modern philosophy and as challenging interpretations of his thought for his far more numerous non-academic readers.
~Stephen N. Dunning, Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania
This volume is perhaps the most important text in recent decades to consider the ways in which Kierkegaard’s thought is of historical relevance to Christian thought and at the same speak to what it means to be (or try to become) a Christian.
Martens and Evans have put together a strong volume. Those unfamiliar with Kierkegaard should find it a relatively easy read, while those who do know him will find it a joy to read and interact with the different scholars in this book.
~Matthew Brake, Reading Religion
Kierkegaard’s main critique of Christianity was that it had become too easy. The least we can do, then, in reading him (or reading about him) is to put in some effort. This book is well worth leaping into. It shows how Kierkegaard’s thought might speak, both rigorously and creatively, to the challenges faced by Christians in today’s world.
~Elizabeth Palmer, The Christian Century
This collection’s focus, as a whole, is broad enough to offer access into most arenas of Kierkegaard scholarship but intense enough that each essay makes a contribution to those arenas. Several of the essays (those from Westphal, Evans, Bauckham, and Wood) offer not only penetrating insight into the continuing import of the Dane but also serve as almost archetypal introduction to the thought of the commentators themselves.