Kierkegaard and the Self before God

Kierkegaard and the Self before God : Anatomy of the Abyss

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Simon D. Podmore claims that becoming a self before God is both a divine gift and an anxious obligation. Before we can know God, or ourselves, we must come to a moment of recognition. How this comes to be, as well as the terms of such acknowledgment, are worked out in Podmore's powerful new reading of Kierkegaard. As he gives full consideration to Kierkegaard's writings, Podmore explores themes such as despair, anxiety, melancholy, and spiritual trial, and how they are broken by the triumph of faith, forgiveness, and the love of God. He confronts the abyss between the self and the divine in order to understand how we can come to know ourselves in relation to a God who is apparently so wholly Other.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 280 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253222826
  • 9780253222824
  • 945,743

Review quote

Podmore (Univ. of Oxford, UK) offers a probing examination of Kierkegaard's existential treatment of the relations between human sin and divine forgiveness. He seeks to counterbalance a dark portrait of Kierkegaard as obsessed only with human sin with a picture of the philosopher as gripped by divine forgiveness toward humans. As Podmore remarks, 'it is the paradox of an "impossible" forgiveness [from God] which holds the key to the paradox that one will express one's own nature most adequately when one expresses this difference [between God and humanity] absolutely.' The latter difference underlies the mention of the 'abyss' in the subtitle. The human self acquires its transparent selfhood, in this approach, as it embraces its creaturely relation to God, including its forgiveness from God. In illuminating this theme, the book expounds Kierkegaard on such existential topics as despair, melancholy, spiritual trial, and forgiveness. Podmore carefully relates some of Kierkegaard's ideas to the works of Luther, Karl Barth, and Rudolf Otto, among others, but he maintains careful scholarship regarding Kierkegaard's own positions. This book will be a valuable addition to libraries that support Kierkegaard studies or the philosophy of religion. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty. --ChoiceP. K. Moser, Loyola University Chicago, April 2012 "This book will be a valuable addition to libraries that support Kierkegaard studies or the philosophy of religion... Highly recommended." -Choice "A reading of Kierkegaard the theologian without setting itself needlessly in opposition to readings of Kierkegaard the philosopher. Highly persuasive and significant." -Rick Anthony Furtak, Colorado College "In this original, passionate, and engaging book, Simon Podmore rightly reminds us that for all Kierkegaard's unparalleled insights into the dark side of soul it is in the end not sin but forgiveness that concerns him most... what a different Kierkegaard we would have known if only all interpreters had, like Podmore, looked beyond Kierkegaard's famous melancholy to the hope his work is able to offer the struggling soul." -George Pattison, University of Oxford "Podmore... impressively draw[s] upon Continental philosophers... as resources for contemporary theology and Kierkegaardian scholarship." -Intnl Journal for Philosophy of Religion "For anyone who loves Kierkegaard, or who is puzzled and wants elucidation, this is a wonderfully intelligent, supple account of the philosopher's thought." -The New Yorkershow more

About Simon D. Podmore

Simon D. Podmore is Gordon Milburn Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College and British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oxford. He has published in Literature and Theology, Journal of Psychology & Theology, and International Kierkegaard Commentary. He is also the Secretary of the Soren Kierkegaard Society of the United Kingdom.show more

Table of contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsList of Abbreviations1. Introduction: Anatomy of the Abyss2. The Inner Abyss3. The Abyss of Melancholy4. The Melancholy Theophany5. The Allegory of Yisrael6. The Anatomy of Spiritual Trial7. The Gaze of the Abyss8. Conclusions: The (Im)possible and the (Un)forgivableNotesBibliographyIndexshow more

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