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200 × 130 × 15 mm
208 pages
28 illustrations
12 Feb 2018
Critical Lives

Søren Kierkegaard Alastair Hannay

The Danish philosopher, theologian and author Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) is widely considered to be one of the most important religious thinkers of the modern age. He is known as the ‘father of existentialism’, but his work was also influential on theories of modernism, theology, Western culture, church politics and the Christian faith. His wit, imagination and humour have inspired a generation of followers from Franz Kafka to Woody Allen. But how did this inattentive schoolboy rise to critique the work of great thinkers such as Hegel and the German Romantics? Who was the unusual person writing behind the many pseudonyms? And in what way are Kierkegaard’s concepts still relevant today?

In this absorbing new biography Alastair Hannay unravels the mystery of Søren Kierkegaard’s short but momentous career. Kierkegaard’s key concepts and major works are described alongside the major incidents in his private and public life, from his longing for selfhood expressed at the age of 22, to a verbal assault on the Church in the months prior to his early death at the age of 42. Søren Kierkegaard is a story of a man destined to become a thorn in the side of society.

‘In calling for a leap of faith from universal human religiosity to commitment to the revelation of God in Christ, Kierkegaard foreshadowed the later theology of Karl Barth and the philosophy of the 20th century existentialists. All of this makes him a fitting subject for treatment in a series of “Critical Lives”. . . a compact study and may encourage those who are intrigued by this provocative and enigmatic figure to delve more deeply into his life and thought’ — Methodist Recorder

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Alastair Hannay is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo. He is the author of Kierkegaard: A Biography (2001), Mental Images (2002) and On the Public (2005).