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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access July 15, 2019

Kierkegaard’s Existential Conception of the Relationship Between Philosophy and Christianity

Elizabeth Li EMAIL logo
From the journal Open Theology

Abstract

This paper explores the implications of Kierkegaard’s concern with the existential meaning of Christianity on his treatment of the relationship between philosophy and theology. It will be argued that Kierkegaard offers an existential corrective to the predominantly scholarly-scientific engagement with this debate, to point to the much more serious matter of the individual’s existence and the impossible difficulty and challenge that the religious sphere poses to the human being, both epistemologically and ethically. This will be shown by taking into account Kierkegaard’s definitions of the terms philosophy, theology, and Christianity, as well as the distinction he draws between objective and subjective philosophy: Whereas Kierkegaard separates from Christianity what can be termed objective philosophy (in particular Hegelian-speculative philosophy), subjective philosophy (specifically Socratic philosophy) is revealed to have a much more complex relationship to the religious sphere. Socratic philosophy’s relationship to Christianity is ultimately kept in a dynamic tension of similarity and dissimilarity, or analogy and contrast, which reflects the difficulty of Christian existence. As such, this reconceptualised debate, for Kierkegaard, does not belong within a scholarly academic context, but rather annihilates such inquiry.

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Received: 2019-05-19
Accepted: 2019-05-28
Published Online: 2019-07-15

© 2019 Elizabeth Li, by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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