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Kierkegaard and the Self before God: Anatomy of the Abyss (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"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 Yorker

"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

"Podmore... impressively draw[s] upon Continental philosophers... as resources for contemporary theology and Kierkegaardian scholarship." —Intnl Journal for Philosophy of Religion

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

"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

"This book will be a valuable addition to libraries that support Kierkegaard studies or the philosophy of religion.... Highly recommended." —Choice

About the Author

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 Søren Kierkegaard Society of the United Kingdom.

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