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Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook

Ed. by Schulz, Heiko / Stewart, Jon / Verstrynge, Karl

In cooperation with Sajda, Peter

CiteScore 2018: 0.15

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.131
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.564

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Prayer as God-knowledge (via Self)

Joshua Cockayne
Published Online: 2017-12-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kierke-2017-0005


What is the purpose of prayer? According to Kierkegaard, “prayer does not change God, but it changes the one who prays.” Whilst much contemporary philosophy of religion focuses on the so-called puzzle of petitionary prayer, less is written about how prayer can change the person who prays. In this paper, I discuss Kierkegaard’s account of prayer in The Sickness unto Death and “An Occasional Discourse on the Occasion of Confession.” Prayer, as it is presented here, allows a person to gain a certain kind of self-knowledge and thereby draw near to God. After outlining Kierkegaard’s account, I draw some comparisons with Harry Frankfurt’s account of the will to demonstrate how prayer might allow for both self-knowledge as well as God-knowledge

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Published Online: 2017-12-22

Published in Print: 2017-12-20

Citation Information: Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook, Volume 2017, Issue 1, Pages 101–114, ISSN (Online) 1612-9792, ISSN (Print) 1430-5372, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/kierke-2017-0005.

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