Kierkegaard, Religion, and Existence

The Voyage of the Self


This book is an original philosophic exploration of the meaning of Kierkegaard’s life, his thought, and his works. It makes a bold case for Kierkegaard’s recognition of the concrete existence of the individual, including Kierkegaard himself, as crucial to the spiritual life. Written with delicate insight, and beautifully translated from Hebrew, this work offers valuable new turns to understanding the puzzling life-work of a modern giant of spiritual reflection.

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Professor Avi Sagi teaches general and Jewish philosophy in the Department of Philosophy, Bar Ilan University, Israel. He is the founder and director of a graduate program of Hermeneutic and Cultural studies at the university. He is also a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Sagi has published many books and articles in several areas: continental philosophy, philosophy of religion and ethics, current Jewish philosophy, philosophy and sociology of Jewish law. Among his books: Albert Camus and the Philosophy of the Absurd; Religion and Morality (with Daniel Statman); Judaism: Between Religion and Morality; Conversion and Jewish Identity (with Zvi Zohar); “Elu va-Elu”: A Study on the Meaning of Halakhic Discourse
”very sound …Kierkegaard’s philosophy, he argues convincingly, sways between the hope of overcoming alienation (despair, anxiety, self-denial) by creating unity and harmony (marriage, repetition, faith), and readopting the experience of alienation as the ultimate meaning of existence, as an unbridgeable gap.” in: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie, 67/2005
Foreword Preface


First Steps
1. The Voyage To The Self
2. The Development of the Existential Element in Kierkegaard's Thought
3. “What God Wills That I Shall Do

The Meaning of Personal Alienation
1. The Experience of Alienation
2. Alienation and Marriage

From Existence to Religion
1. Failure as a Turning Point
2. Religion as Escape?
3. Religion as the New Metaphysical Horizon
4. From Existence to Religion

Interlude: The Literary Medium and the
Relationship between Existence and Religion
1. Introduction
2. Kierkegaard Living and the Problem of Literary Philosophical Writing
3. The Pseudonymous Writing
4. The Literary Failure and the Implications of a Growing Alienation: The Turn to Religion
5. Methodological Conclusions

Faith as a Contest with Alienation
1. Immediacy: Reflection and Unity
2. The Dialectic of Faith: Unity and Contradiction
3. The Ontological Meaning of Faith
4. Faith and Alienation

The Voyage toward Fate
1. Models of Self-Affirmation
2. Endorsing the Biography: Accepting Destiny
3. Freedom and Fate
4.Fate and Destiny: The Voyage toward Fate


Existence or Religion
1. The Problem
2. Christianity and Existence
3. Obedience and Existence

From Religion to Existence: The Theological Foundation
1.The Perception of God
2.God and the Relationship with God
3. Decoding God’s Will: “What God Wills That I Shall Do?”
4. The Perception of God and the Religious Demand: A Reconsideration
5. From Religion to Existence: Religious Life

Affirming and Denying the World: The Problematic
1. Introductory Remarks: On “Double Reading”
2. The Problematic of Affirming and Denying the World

Religious and Existence in Kierkegaard’s Thought: A Summary

Works Cited
1. Works by Kierkegaard (with Abbreviations Used in This Book)
2. Secondary Sources
About the Author

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