In his introduction to Kierkegaard’s Kierkegaard’s Attack Upon “Christendom” 1854-1855, Walter Lowrie suggests that Kierkegaard was “moreevidently andmore fundamentally a Catholicor perhaps it would be better to say,more consciously in revolt against Protestantism.”

His evidence: “This-appears plainlyin the Instant by his insistence upon works, and by the fact that here
he has nothing to say about faith, except that, according to the NewTestament (and the Gospels especially), it must not be ‘faith alone.’He was thoroughly aware that when he insisted upon the imitation ofChrist he was stressing a medieval aspect of Catholicism. But his dissentfrom the Protestant position, especially from the sola fide, went fardeeper than that. It is shown by his marked preference for the Epistleof St. James, which Luther dismissed as ‘an epistle of straw.’ It isshown more generally by his definition of faith as obedience, as theopposite of sin rather than of unbelief. It is significant that he choseto entitle his biggest volume of edifying discourses ‘The Works ofLove.’ It is so obvious that love cannot be ‘with the tongue’! But S.K.was himself so keenly aware that he was contravening a fundamentalposition of Lutheranism (sola fide) that he was fearful of the offensethe publication of this book would giveand greatly surprised thatno one raised an outcry.”

It’s an interesting comment on a book that is largely an assault on priests.

More on: Philosophy

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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