Evans’ analysis of Kierkegaard’s Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript introduces even the nonspecialist to two of Kierkegaard’s most challenging works without minimizing the complex nature of his philosophy. Evans honors Kierkegaard’s wish not to be confused with his pseudonyms and so frames the discussion around the thoughts of "Johannes Climacus." Yet, Evans highlights the similarities between Climacus’ and Kierkegaard’s ideas while setting them in conversation with contemporary philosophers and theologians.
The book is divided into thirteen chapters. The first three set up the book with an introduction to Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous literature as a whole, an overview of Fragments and Postscript, and a discussion of the character and views of the Johannes Climacus pseudonym. The next nine chapters delve into specific pairs of concepts such as existence and the ethical, truth and subjectivity, and irony and humor. Evans also explores concepts that illuminate "immanent" or natural religion, as well as Christianity, understood as a "transcendent" religion grounded in a special revelation. Throughout, there is a revealing look at the roles objectivity and subjectivity play in human existence. Evans concludes his work with a consideration of Climacus’ voice that opens the door for readers to make their own interpretations and contributions to the conversation. A careful and lucid guide, Evans’ book is a key companion to Kierkegaard’s philosophical writings.
In a book devoted to two of Kierkegaard’s most complex and philosophically challenging works, [Evans] offers an interpretation that provides an excellent general introduction to Kierkegaard for the nonspecialist without in any way compromising the challenging nature of the Climacus writings… A Kierkegaard book ‘for the rest of us’ that is both responsible and insightful in its treatment of Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript.~Stephen N. Dunning, The Journal of Religion
This book attempts to unlock the Climacus section of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous literature by way of a sustained analysis of the key concepts discussed in the works: existence and the ethical, truth and subjectivity, indirect communication, guilt and suffering, irony and humor, reason and paradox, and faith and history. The perspective is sympathetic, yet critical, and Kierkegaard’s issues are considered in relation to contemporary philosophical themes and arguments.~Philosopher’s Index
The reason this book is such a delight to read is the consummate skill with which the explication of these themes is carried out. On the one hand, even for those like this reviewer, who have been reading and writing about Kierkegaard for years, Evans has fresh insight and illuminating interpretations of the themes he discusses and their relations to each other, not occasionally but with remarkable regularity. On the other hand, he writes with a lucidity and simplicity which make this volume an ideal companion for those turning to the Fragments and Postscript for the first time.~Merold Westphal, Faith and Philosophy
A student would find this work a valuable introduction to major emphases that Climacus shares with Kierkegaard….But the work’s greatest value may be its clear and authoritative exposition of the Postscript on the nature of religion in relation to Christianity….Recommended for academic libraries at all levels.~Choice
This book is an invaluable companion for anyone who wishes to delve deeply into these highly technical, philosophical works of Kierkegaard.~Thomas C. Anderson, The Modern Schoolman
Evans’ book is one of the members of a very small class of books that could be called ‘the best in English,’ a class, perhaps, with only four or five members.~Robert L. Perkins, Kierkegaard Newsletter