Kierkegaard and Asceticism

Existenz 1 (13):39-43 (2018)
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In Religion of Existence, Noreen Khawaja suggests that Kierkegaard is an “ascetic” thinker. By this, she means that he regards religious striving as (1) requiring ceaseless renewal and (2) being an end in itself rather than a means to some further end. In this paper, I raise challenges to both parts of Khawaja’s proposal. I argue that the first part stands in tension with Kierkegaard’s assertion that his infinitely demanding account of religious existence is meant merely as a “corrective.” The second part, I maintain, does not fit well with his claim that our eternal salvation is at stake in religious striving.

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Antony Aumann
Northern Michigan University


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