AAR Annual Meeting
November 18-21, 2017
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This Unit seeks to explore the significance of the religious thought and ethics of Kierkegaard for contemporary culture in its various aspects — social, political, ecclesiastical, theological, philosophical, and aesthetic.
Kierkegaard and the Future of Revelation
The 2016 presidential election in the U.S. has left many people shocked, saddened, even despondent. The results seem to announce that the idea of America—the possibility of, indeed the potentiality for, a democracy that can flourish spiritually, morally, culturally, politically, and economically, precisely because of its diverse people—has been occluded. Kierkegaard provides insight into this despondency, as he broadens the issue into something more pressing: the meaning of human being and the dynamics of faith at its heart.
In various works, Kierkegaard insists that faith and single individuality are not given naturally, but must come historically into existence by means of revelation. The person who is, by birth and circumstance, the immediate self is not the authentic self that one can become in the moment of faith—a moment of intense passion, reflection, and action that subsumes and transforms the immediate self. Christianity, too, Kierkegaard is clear, is thus never given naturally. It too has a history; it too has come—it too must continually be brought—into existence. The result is the fear and trembling attached to the terrifying prospect that, because revelation comes into existence, it can go out of existence—unless it is willed and practiced by the faithful single individual.
What, then, is the future of revelation—the future of Kierkegaard? We welcome papers that address Kierkegaard, revelation, and crisis/historicity (the uncertainty of the future). Does Kierkegaard's ability to help his readers to respond to their present age—and its future—have a future?