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Works of Love Paperback – October 27, 1964


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1st Harper Torchbook Ed edition (October 27, 1964)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061301221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061301223
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,042,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"His most important religious work." -- --Alexander Dru

"His single greatest work on Christian ethics." -- --Douglas V. Steere

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Danish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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God gives us power to love.
Kendal B. Hunter
If I have to compare this book to any other, I would compare it to Plato's Phaedrus.
J. C. Woods
This book is also extremely well-written, well-translated, and readable.
Ross James Browne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

101 of 110 people found the following review helpful By Ross James Browne on February 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
_Works of Love_ by Kierkegaard is the most uplifting, encouraging, and hope-restoring book I have ever read. Kierkegaard's statement that "the greatest act of love anyone can ever achieve is to mourn for someone who is dead" is a statement I have used to guide myself through innumerable existential crises and has given me hope in my darkest hours. The wisdom contained in this book is an essential tool in dealing with the premature and untimely death of a loved one, and restoring your hope and faith in God even in the face of tragedy. Kierkegaard's sense of empathy and morality is unsurpassed by any other philosopher living or dead, and I will also go so far as to call him a saint.
This book is also extremely well-written, well-translated, and readable. _Works of Love_ is living proof of the theory that inherently complicated and profound subject matter does not necessarily have to be extremely difficult to read. Kierkegaard's use of anecdotal situations and clear real-life examples to illustrate his theories make the book more readily understandable, and his writing style naturally lends itself to clear and accurate translation. Unlike many German philosophers of the same time period, Kierkegaard (from Denmark) does not lapse into highly personal, abstract, and inaccessable concepts, but instead focuses on more realistic and timeless problems that have plagued humanity since the dawn of sentience. While authors like Hegel and Schopenhauer are intellectually stimulating and mildly interesting, reading their works does not exactly make you happier, more hopeful, and more empathetically caring. You are often left with nothing but pie-in-the-sky theories regarding esoteric philosophical questions that are only marginally relevant to the everyday realities we experience.
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46 of 49 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Woods on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
If I have to compare this book to any other, I would compare it to Plato's Phaedrus. In Phaedrus, Socrates talks to Phaedrus of how to speak of love authentically, i.e. to speak of love in such a way that the speaking itself is an act of love. The problem is that we are never brought into connection with Socrates' speech. It is always about Phaedrus and we are eavesdroppers and therefore similtaneously included and excluded from what is said. As Plato put it, the written word is a pharmakon (drug, medicine, poison), it cannot speak authentically of love. This is the philosophical point of Works of Love. In it, Kierkegaard attempts to speak authentically of love. This is why the book is published on his own name and there are no pseudonyms. He is writing directly to the reader who is his beloved. He, however, must redefine the terms of the discourse. Since Eros is a love of beauty and he cannot see the reader's beauty, he speaks instead of Agape (in danish Kjerlighed, i.e. Christian love), or love of neighbor. In this way whoever reads the book becomes his beloved, to whom the discourse is aimed. In this way he attempts to get past Plato's empasse. I think he suceeds.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By "efutures" on May 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
Whatever you may think about Soren's views, this book is the pinnacle of his work. The first part of the book clarifies the meaning of true Godly love, to love your neighbor. Each page is riveting and triggers new understanding about truly loving another not romantically or out of worldiness, but out of Godliness.
A must read for Christians and for others interested in understanding Kierkegaardian philosphy.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Parsons on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
Soren Kierkegaard at his best! Works of Love is perhaps his consummate work regarding the centrality of an "ethics of love," and provides the best introduction to the thought and passion of this writer.
The book is organized around the theme of becoming a true lover. SK normally cites a particular Biblical passage regarding love (i.e., "Love hides a multitude of sins") and then profoundly explores the implications of the passage for the reader's life. Often the contrast with "erotic" and "platonic" love (i.e. the poetic) is made to demonstrate how radical the call of Christian love really is.
Hauntingly powerful and soul-stopping: if you decide to read only one book by Kierkegaard, this is the one I'd recommend.
The Hong's translation is excellent, and scholarly end notes are provided.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gerad W. Arcuri on July 9, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here it is. How to apply the love of God, as taught to us by Jesus, in the reality of daily life. No fancy formulas here, no clever platitudes, just the truth. A tremendous reconcilitation of the supposed contradiction between works and faith as the basis of salvation, Kierkegaard shows that in fact the letter to the Galatians explains that the essence of Christianity's message is faith, working through love. Hence, "Works of Love". This is Kierkegaards' magnum opus. Not for the faint of heart nor anyone looking for an easy answer, yet amazingly simple and honest. Completely vindicates Soren Kierkegaard from the charge by narrow traditionalists ( most of whom have never read anything he wrote ) that he was not a genuine Christian, perhaps not even a Christian at all. If you wish to follow Christ, follow Kierkegaard. He is a trustworthy guide.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Kendal B. Hunter on November 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is more of a reaction to Kierkegaard's "Works of Love" than a review of the book. I cannot perfect perfection.
First, he hits the genius of Christianity, and take's Paul's chapter on Charity, 1 Corinthians 13 as the backbone text. This is an impressive "love poem" which really explains why Christianity is so novel. If you don't believe me, read pre-Christian literature, such as Socrates, Homer, or The Epic of Gilgamesh. Pre-Christian society ignored human dignity and worth, and people were just functions of the state, or the whim of the king.
Secondly, Kierkegaard recognizes that love is a work, and not merely a state of heart or a chattering point. This notion of work is anathema to "Pop Protestantism," which was Kierkegaard's mortal enemy. He commented that the obsession with "grace" had turned Christianity upside-down, and had caused men to try and cheat God out of his religion. This is another way of saying that faith without works is dead.
Kierkegaard last insight is that God is the basis of love, which he underscores in the opening invocation. Too many people gloss by this prefacing prayer, but that is what separates love and love with power. God gives us power to love.
I found this translation quite readable. Soren, in any version, is rather thick, almost as if he is intentionally trying to hide things. Part of difficulty comes from the dense 19th Century verbosity that was a token of the age. However, his greatest asset is humorous illustrations, which helps mentally fix the points forever.
The only criticism I have is that Kierkegaard does not connect love to the Atonement.
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