Kierkegaard, Soren Aaby

Kierkegaard, Soren Aaby a Danish philosophical and theological writer, was born May 5, 1813, at Copenhagen. He spent his whole life in his native city, and, being rich and unmarried, became a father to the poor. In 1838 he published pseudonymously From the Papers of a Living, and in 1841 a dissertation On the Idea of Irony. In the same year he went to Berlin to acquaint himself with Schelling's philosophy. In the following year he returned home, and from 1843 to the time of his death, November 11, 1855, he devoted himself entirely to literary activity. In 1843 he published his Whether Or, in two parts, representing respectively the aesthetical and the ethical type of life, and placing indirectly before the reader the question: Which of these two types ought to be chosen? In the same year he published a small collection of Sermons: Bits of Philosophy (1844): — Stations along the Road of Life (1845): — Lilies of the Field (1849): — Training for Christianity (1850): — How Christ Looks upon Official Christianity (1855), etc. During twelve years he prepared about thirty volumes for the press, and about as many he left in manuscript. All his writings, as it would seem, were executed according to a preconceived plan; and the subjects chosen were so written that all criticism grew silent. According to Kierkegaard Christianity is no scientific theory, but life and existence. Hence he rejected altogether the ideas of creed, Church, priest, etc. A Christian is, according to him, an insulated individual, alone with God, and in contact with the world only through suffering. Some of his writings were translated into German. As yet we have no biography which gives a satisfactory representation of his philosophical and religious standpoint. See the article "Kierkegaard," in Nordisk Konversations- Lexikon (1879): Petersen, Dr. Soren Kierkegeaard's Christendon asforkyndslse (Christiana, 1877); Martensen, Christliche Ethik, § 69, 70, where Kierkegaard is compared with Vinet; Lutke, Kirchl. Zustande in den skandinavischen Landern (Elberfeld, 1864), page 4558; Heuche, in Zeitschrift fur luth. Kirche und Theologie, 1864, pages 295-310; Brandes, Soren Kierkegaard, ein literarisches Charakterbild (Leipsic, 1879); Michelsen, in Plitt-Herzog's Real-Encyklop. s.v. (B.P.)

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