Søren Kierkegaard 1813-1855

Søren Kierkegaard’s writings were a “corrective,” because he presents an either/or – either New Testament Christianity/or none at all. His writings were meant to make single individuals think for themselves and as a result be built up from the inside. Walter Lowrie, his early translator, hoped parsons would read his works because they would find so much material for their sermons.

Soren Aabye Kierkegaard lived in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1813-1855. He studied at the University of Copenhagen from 1830-1840 with the intention of becoming a Christian Lutheran preacher and teacher as his father requested. Sometime during his studies he made the decision that he really didn’t want to preach or teach because he felt he was called to write.

Kierkegaard always referred to “my reader” or “my listener” in his writings. He thought it was a shame that in Christendom everyone blames the speaker if no one benefits from what is said but he blamed the listener or the reader. Everything lies with the listener. The effect a truthful discourse will bring about depends solely on who the listener is. Perhaps there is someone whom a discourse could make more anxious than he has ever been before, but this is not the fault of the discourse – it lies with the listener. Perhaps there is someone who in complete agreement said yes and amen to it, heard it as the most blessed assurance; but this is not the merit of the discourse, it lies with the listener or with the reader.

Soren Aabye Kierkegaard lived at a time when the proofs of Christianity were debated in universities. Miracles were questioned by philosophers and theologians responded to their questions. Books were written on one side and the other and libraries were filled. Kierkegaard was firmly  against the over use of external proofs and advocated the testimony of the inner voice instead.

Kierkegaard turned his readers from the external world to the inner beauty of the world of the spirit. The Romantics had deified Nature while the Idealists deified both Reason and the State. Kierkegaard was against this kind of upbuilding of external goods and pushed for the inner goods.

Relating oneself to the ideal in one’s personal life is never seen. Such a life is the life of the witness to the truth. This rubric disappeared long ago, and preachers, philosophy professors, and poets have taken over the place of servants to the truth, whereby they no doubt are served very well — but they do not serve the truth. Soren Kierkegaard, Journals X 1A 11

While [Jesus] was living the day today, how did he manage to protect himself against the enemy that would attack him from the rear, namely the next day – just because he had the eternal with him in his today in a sense totally different from the way any human being has, for that very reason he turned his back on the next day. How did he manage? Far be it from us presumptuously to try to gain popularity by fathoming what should not be fathomed. We do not believe that he came to the world in order to give us subjects for erudite research. He came into the world to set the task, in order to leave a footprint so that we would learn from him. Soren Kierkegaard, Christian Discourses 1845 Hong 1997 P. 76-77

My name is Craig Campbell and I have lived in Wisconsin for the most part. I became interested in Kierkegaard and his writings in 2007 and have continued to be interested to date. I began by trying to read his works into Librivox, a free audio book site where one is permitted to read works in the public domain, for others to listen to while driving or sitting around. I found that even though Kierkegaard had died in 1855 his works weren’t translated into English until 1938 and beyond.

I have read what I could find into Librivox – see the link below. LibriVox is a public domain audio site maintained by volunteers.
Click Here

I have read what I could find into Librivox – see the link below. LibriVox is a public domain audio site maintained by volunteers.
Click Here

YouTube seemed to be a good platform for me to create videos about Kierkegaard and his works so I have gathered a good number of videos from across YouTube.
Click Here

I found that many of the writings by and about Kierkegaard were listed on archive.org – this is a depository for texts, audio, video, software, etc.
Click Here

Soren Kierkegaard was a Christian layman who wrote for the single individual.

It is true, every man is naturally bound to diffuse knowledge and virtue among his fellow- creatures, and to eradicate error and prejudice as much as lies in his power. It might therefore be concluded, that it is a duty, publicly tc fiing the gauntlet at every religious opinion, which one deems erroneous. But all prejudices are not equally noxious. Certainly, there are some which strike directly at the happiness of the human race; their effect on morality is obviously deleterious, and we cannot expect even a casual benefit from them. These must be unhesitatingly assailed by the philanthropist. To grapple with them, at once, is indisputably the best mode, and all delay, from circuitous measures, unwarrantable. Of this kind are those errors and prejudices which disturb mans own, and his fellow-creatures’ peace and happiness, and canker, in youth, the germ of benevolence and virtue, before it can shoot forth. Fanaticism, ill-will, and a spirit of persecution, on the one side, levity, Epicurism, and boasting infidelity, on the other.

Yet the opinions of my fellow-creatures, erroneous as they may appear to my conviction, do sometimes belong to the higher order of theoretical principles, and are too remote from practice, to become immediately pernicious; they constitute, however, from their generality, the basis, on which the people who entertain them have raised their system of morality and social order; and so they have casually become of great importance to that portion of mankind. To attack such dogmas openly, because they appear prejudices, would be like sapping the foundation of an edifice, for the purpose of ex amining its soundness and stability, without first securing the superstructure against a total downfall. He who values the welfare of mankind more than his own fame, will bridle his tongue on prejudices of this description, and beware of seeking to reform them prematurely and precipitately, lest he should overset, what he thinks a defective theory of morality, before his fellow-creatures are firm in the perfect one, which he means to substitute.

Therefore, there is nothing inconsistent in my thinking myself bound to remain neutral, under the impression of having detected national prejudices and religious errors amongst my fellow- citizens, — provided these errors and prejudices do not subvert, directly, either their religion or the laws of nature, and that they have a tendency to promote, casually, that which is good and desirable.

Letter to J. C. Lavater, December 1769 by Moses Mendelssohn 1729-1786

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