Kierkegaard and the Self before God

Kierkegaard and the Self before God

Anatomy of the Abyss
Simon D. Podmore
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/01/2011
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-22282-4
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Simon D. Podmore claims that becoming a self before God is both a divine gift and an anxious obligation. Before we can know God, or ourselves, we must come to a moment of recognition. How this comes to be, as well as the terms of such acknowledgment, are worked out in Podmore’s powerful new reading of Kierkegaard. As he gives full consideration to Kierkegaard's writings, Podmore explores themes such as despair, anxiety, melancholy, and spiritual trial, and how they are broken by the triumph of faith, forgiveness, and the love of God. He confronts the abyss between the self and the divine in order to understand how we can come to know ourselves in relation to a God who is apparently so wholly Other.

Author Bio

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.


“Giving full consideration to Kierkegaard's writings, this powerful reading explores themes such as despair, anxiety, melancholy, and spiritual trial, and how they are broken by the triumph of faith, forgiveness, and the love of God.”

“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

“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

“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

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

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. Introduction: Anatomy of the Abyss
2. The Inner Abyss
3. The Abyss of Melancholy
4. The Melancholy Theophany
5. The Allegory of Yisra<ham>el
6. The Anatomy of Spiritual Trial
7. The Gaze of the Abyss
8. Conclusions: The (Im)possible and the (Un)forgivable

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