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Kierkegaard's Attack Upon "Christendom" 1854-1855 Paperback – April 1, 1968
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All of this does, however, become somewhat prolix, as this book is actually just a series of articles and pamphlets that he wrote in a 2-year span, which were then combined into the present work. Still, though, this book is an enjoyable read, due to the satirical style of K.'s writing and the, however arguable, relevance of the subject. I recommend reading "Training in Christianity", though, as an introduction to this book.
The whole thing amounts to an elaborate Conspiracy theory. In order to be rid of Christianity Society has not rejected it, but enthroned it. But in so doing created a hierarchy (the institutional Church) with the covert purpose of making certain that Christianity does not exist. Christianity is professed as the StateReligion. There are many civil servant employed to promote it. There is much Real Estate devoted to it. Church attendance is high. And, as a result, Christianity is effectively nullified, because it actually exists nowhere.
One must remember that SK and Han Christian Andersen were drinking buddies (they fell out when SK reviewed one of Andersen's novels) and SK here announces another naked emperor. In a Christian nation no one is a Christian!
If you are just starting SK I suggest this book because here he is at his most open and "direct." Everything else has deep ironic undercurrents, but a "surface" reading of this one is probably close to right.
Though deadly serious in his attack, with the utmost reverance and love for faith in Jesus Christ SK comes out swinging. It is hard to imagine how much ridicule he endured for this series of articles and rebutals.
Perhaps my favorite aspect of this collection of writings is SK's absolutely brilliant use of metaphors, and his comical sarcasm.
As a Christian, this is a very difficult book to read, but one that is crucial to understanding Christianity in what SK labels "New Testament Christianity" terms. In the beginning of the book, Valdemar Ammundsen is quoted as giving us this haunting reminder:
"Where Kierkegaard is wrong, that goes on his account. Where Kierkegaard was right, the bill comes to us."
There is so much I would love to quote out of this collection, such as the metaphor of the "Obediant Hound," but I hope that anyone even considering reading this will do so and experience it for themselves.
By backing up all of his claims with consistent citing of the Bible and Christ Himself, SK forces us to consider things that have either been forgotten or overlooked in regards to being a Christian.
How may a disciple deny himself, take up the cross, and follow Christ when the culture claims to be Christian? How may a follower of Jesus follow in the footsteps of a rejected Christ when to deny Christ would cause more social ostracism than to claim him? Is it possible to hear the gospel in a Christian culture? How may a person living in Christendom ever find a way to live as a Christian?
This is the deep conflict between Christianity in the gospels and Christianity in a Christianized culture (Christendom) that fuels the polemics of the book. The presenting symptom of the deeper issue is that of a state-sponsored church whose clergy are, in effect, government functionaries. Kierkegaard demonstrates that clergy in a state church serve a professional function that guts their prophetic voice. The comfort of career, salary, prestige, etc. are counter to the call to serve as proclaimers of the kind of kingdom Jesus' proclaims.
"Attack Upon Christendom" is still timely. We live in a time when Christendom seems to be losing ground in our country. Many Christians believe this is a bad thing, and that the job of the church is to reestablish Christendom (putting 10 commandments statues in courthouses and throwing a fit over the "Christ" being taken out of Christmas at the mall and such).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic, and religious author, who was the first existentialist philosopher. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Steven H Propp
Attack on "Christendom" is so controversial for reasons that have little to do with Kierkegaard's reasons for writing the book. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Dean Fredrikson