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The Truth is the Way: Kierkegaard's Theologia Viatorum Paperback – January 1, 2011
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"In the aptly named The Truth is the Way Christopher Ben Simpson gives an insightful and comprehensive reading of Kierkegaard's authorship, read as a theologian by a theologian, focusing on Kierkegaard's second "Christian" authorship as well as the more widely-known pseudonymous works."C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy, Baylor University --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy, Baylor University
'Kierkegaard is the strangest phenomenon: an enormously influential writer whose thought has nearly always been misunderstood, both by its advocates and by its opponents. Christopher Simpson's book provides us at last with a reliable and subtle reading that breaks with those of both existentialism and postmodernism. He shows us just why we have not yet caught up with the reflections of the Danish philosopher and why the full reach of his critical understanding must be understood as the reach of his Christian theology.'
John Milbank, Professor in Religion, Politics and Ethics and Director of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy, University of Nottingham
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It is a note within a footnote--the parenthetical phrase `(Theologia viatorum [theology of wayfarers])'--that strikes Simpson as a point of entry to Kierkegaard's entire authorship in his primer The Truth is the Way: Kierkegaard's Theologia Viatorum. Here Simpson illumines what Kierkegaard saw quite clearly: theology suits its reader best when it meets her in medias res (in the middle of things), as a wayfarer on a journey yet to be completed. As Simpson makes plain, Kierkegaard's "systematically incomplete" corpus repeatedly points to the incomplete character of human existence, ever resisting the systematic closure of those who would "transpose the whole content of faith into conceptual form" (Simpson, 1; FT 7). To this end, Kierkegaard and his pseudonyms confound readers with riddles, revocations, false starts, and aporias. That Simpson situates these twists and turns within a broader theological project--and, in so doing, signs Kierkegaard's name to the terms and ideas of his pseudonyms--is at once risky and compelling. Risky because the first thing one learns in a Kierkegaard seminar is: Do not confuse the pseudonyms with Kierkegaard! Compelling because Simpson is by no means confused, as is evidenced by a generous and careful use of the Hong rainbow** as he gestures toward a properly Kierkegaardian theology.
I first read Simpson's book as an undergraduate and continue to make reference to it on into my graduate studies. If you're looking for a way into the lovely and disorienting world that is Kierkegaard's authorship, I'd start by getting absolutely lost in a few of his shorter works (they take an afternoon to read and a lifetime to wander through) and then find your way in and around them with Simpson's primer.
*I do not exclude myself here, as writing this review is a pleasant distraction from my masters thesis.
**Howard and Edna Hong's English translations of Kierkegaard are multi-colored and make quite the rainbow when collected together on a bookshelf.