Ph.d., Dr. habil. theol. & phil.
Institute of Philosophy
Slovak Academy of Sciences
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This work presents a philosophical analysis of the development of Western Civilization from antiquity to the Middle Ages. It traces the various self-conceptions of the different cultures from ancient Mesopotamia to Medieval Christendom. The thesis is that as human civilization took its first tenuous steps, it had a very limited conception of the individual. Instead, the dominant principle was the wider group: the family, clan or people. Only in the course of history did the idea of individuality begin to emerge. The conception of human beings as having an inner sphere of subjectivity subsequently had a sweeping impact on all aspects of culture and largely constitutes what is today referred to as modernity.
▪ “The Office of Philosophy: The
Dialectic of Theory and Practice,” forthcoming in Intempestivas. Filosofía,
psicoanálisis y cultura, 2020.
▪ “Hegel’s “note of discord”: The Cultural Crisis and the Inspiration
for Heiberg’s On the Significance of
Philosophy for the Present Age,” forthcoming in Scandinavian Studies, 2020.
Edited by Jon Stewart and Nathaniel Kramer
Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press 2020
(Danish Golden Age Studies, vol. 12)
The historical circumstances of the Danish Golden Age are well known: the Napoleonic Wars, the bombardment of Copenhagen, the state bankruptcy in 1814 with the ensuing financial crisis, the Revolution of 1848, and the establishment of a parliamentary democracy in 1849. There were peasant reforms, religious upheavals, and changes in class and social structures. These events constituted the milieu in which the Golden Age was born and developed. The guiding idea of the present volume is that these different crises served not just as a backdrop or as obstacles but rather as catalysts for the flowering of culture in the Golden Age.
Despite their many debates and polemics among themselves, the leading figures of Golden Age Denmark were generally in agreement about the fact that their age was in a state of crisis. The dramatic events spilled over into the various cultural spheres and shaped them in different ways. The articles in this volume trace the different crises as they appear in literature, criticism, religion, philosophy, politics and the social sciences. The contributing authors draw compelling parallels between the perceived crisis of the Golden Age and the acute issues of our own day. The articles collected here thus together show the continuing relevance of the Golden Age for readers of the twenty-first century.
Faust, Romantic Irony, and System:
German Culture in the Thought of Søren Kierkegaard
Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press 2019
(Danish Golden Age Studies, vol. 11)
Kierkegaard readers are familiar with his dogged polemic with Hegelianism, his critique of Friedrich von Schlegel’s Romantic irony, and his visit to Schelling’s lectures in Berlin. However, these are only a few well-known examples of a much deeper relation of influence and inspiration. Kierkegaard read German fluently and was interested in many different authors and thinkers from the German-speaking countries. The auction catalogue of his personal library reveals a wealth of works in German from a number of different fields. Given his famous criticisms of the Hegelians, Schlegel, and Schelling, one might be tempted to believe that Kierkegaard was anti-German. But this is clearly not the case since he had high praise for some German thinkers such as Hamann, Lessing and Trendelenburg. The present work is dedicated to an exploration of Kierkegaard’s relation to different aspects of Germanophone culture. Its goal is to gain a better appreciation of the importance of the various German sources for his thought. The points of contact are so numerous that it can truly be said that if it were not for the influence of German culture, Kierkegaard would not have been Kierkegaard and the Danish Golden Age would not have been the Golden Age.
"This text leaves the reader with an entirely new perspective on Kierkegaard. Of course, Kierkegaard readers knew that the Dane was in dialogue with Hegel and that he occasionally refers to German theologians or literary figures, but the vast scope of this usage has gone unnoticed. Stewart demonstrates beyond a doubt that virtually all of Kierkegaard’s writings and indeed his academic agenda itself were in some way shaped by German thought. Indeed, Kierkegaard would never have been the thinker that he was without his interaction with the German intellectual tradition. This is an exciting new perspective that breaks with traditional wisdom....Jon Stewart’s new book Faust, Romantic Irony, and System: German Culture in the Thought of Søren Kierkegaard is of a very high academic standard, and it contributes in many respects new insights and promising perspectives to research in the field. The work will be highly relevant not only for researchers and scholars but for the general reader too."
István Czakó, Pázmány Péter Catholic University
"The Scandinavian countries have long been receptive to cultural currents flowing northward from the south. This has been especially the case as concerns Denmark in its relation to German culture, and this influx of ideas was particularly intense during the Danish Golden Age. Stewart’s manuscript covers a broad swath of these influences in exploring Kierkegaard’s entanglement in various aspects of Germanophone culture. Stewart’s work intends to cultivate greater appreciation of the significance of these sources for Kierkegaard’s creative work. Therefore, source work research is the functioning methodology that has allowed Stewart to identify the nature, scope, and extent of effects streaming from particular authors, writings, topics, and issues to shape Kierkegaard’s deliberations.....In every chapter the probing into the subject matter runs deep. Generally, the reader learns much about the social location of each author considered, the primary writings this figure has produced, major themes that have been addressed, Kierkegaard’s awareness of the figure, writings, and themes, and ways in which Kierkegaard was influenced by them. The highest level of scholarship informs all of these queries. An unsurpassed level of academic excellence is at work in the employment of the chosen research methodology, in the careful textual analysis of writings influencing and influenced, in the lucid articulation of the findings, and in the steadfast pursuit of carrying out the investigation in a purposeful manner."
Curtis L. Thompson, Thiel College
Hegel’s Interpretation of the Religions of the World:
In his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Hegel treats the religions of the world under the rubric “the determinate religion.” This is a part of his corpus that has traditionally been neglected since scholars have struggled to understand what philosophical work it is supposed to do. The present study argues that Hegel’s rich analyses of Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Egyptian and Greek polytheism, and the Roman religion are not simply irrelevant historical material, as is often thought. Instead, they play a central role in Hegel’s argument for what he regards as the truth of Christianity. Hegel believes that the different conceptions of the gods in the world religions are reflections of individual peoples at specific periods in history. These conceptions might at first glance appear random and chaotic, but there is, Hegel claims, a discernible logic in them. Simultaneously a theory of mythology, history and philosophical anthropology, Hegel’s account of the world religions goes far beyond the field of philosophy of religion. The controversial issues surrounding his treatment of the nonEuropean religions are still very much with us today and make his account of religion an issue of continued topicality in the academic landscape of the 21st century.
"Hegel's Interpretation of the Religions of the World is a thorough study of a neglected aspect of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s philosophy of religion: the role of history in Hegel’s overall philosophical construction. . . . Stewart’s book must be regarded as an extremely valuable piece of scholarship for both philosophers of religion and—more importantly—scholars of religion."
Nickolas P. Roubekas, Reading Religion
trans. by Jon Stewart, Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press 2018
One of Denmark’s greatest
philosophers during its greatest philosophical period, Frederik
Christian Sibbern (1785-1872) was a major figure on the landscape of
the Danish Golden Age. Profoundly influenced by German philosophy, he
was personally acquainted with figures such as Fichte, Schleiermacher,
Goethe and Schelling. Sibbern had long been interested in the
philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel but had never written any extended analysis
Subjetividade, ironia e a crise da modernidade
Translated by Humberto Araújo Quaglio de Souza
Petrópolis RJ: Editora Vozes 2017
(The Portuguese translation of Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony, and the Crisis of Modernity, Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015).
Este livro examina a vida e a obra desse famoso escritor religioso dinamarquês. Kierkegaard foi uma figura singular que tem inspirado, provocado, fascinado e irritado as pessoas desde os tempos em que andava pelas ruas de Copenhague. No fim de sua vida, Kierkegaard afirmou que o único modelo que ele teve para sua obra foi o filósofo grego Sócrates. Este livro faz dessa declaração seu ponto de partida. Jon Stewart investiga o que Kierkegaard quis dizer com essa afirmação, e mostra como diversos aspectos de seus escritos e de sua estratégia argumentativa remontam a Sócrates.
subjetividad, ironía y la crisis de la Modernidad
la brevedad del texto, pero esto, por supuesto, tiene la intención de acercar a
lectores nuevos que no están familiarizados con Kierkegaard de forma inmediata
y, a la vez, presenta un recurso pedagógico de enorme utilidad para los
profesores que tienen que dar maromas para exponer un autor tan complejo. El
texto se convierte en una fuente de primera mano obligada para toda curricula y
una guía indispensable e invaluable. La obra es un puente entre el pasado
socrático y el presente moderno, entre la autenticidad del maestro ateniense y
la inautenticidad de nuestras sociedades contemporáneas, una introducción y una
guía de estudio, pero también una exégesis fresca, original y novedosa." Alejandro Cavallazzi Sánchez, Estudios
Kierkegaardianos, vol. 4, 2018.
Alejandro Cavallazzi Sánchez, Estudios
Kierkegaardianos, vol. 4, 2018.
Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press
Annual Book Prize of the Slovak Academy of Sciences
July 2, 2019
The book Hegel’s Interpretation of the Religions of the World: The Logic of the Gods (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018) was awarded the annual book prize of the Slovak Academy of Sciences under the category "Monograph in a Recognized Publishing House."
New Homepages Launched for the Series, Texts from Golden Age Denmark
and Danish Golden Age Studies
See the new homepage for the series Texts from Golden Age Denmark here.
See the new homepage for the series Danish Golden Age Studies here.
New Chinese translation of Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity:
Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony and the Crisis of Modernity (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015) 的中译本将由北京华夏出版社出版，书名定为《克尔凯郭尔：丹麦黄金时代的苏格拉底》。本书已由田王晋健翻译完成，他目前在四川 大学文学与新闻学院攻读文艺学专业博士, 是一位克尔凯郭尔研究者。这本书将纳入“西方传统：经典与解释”丛书。
中译本面世后，将引领中国读者窥探索伦·克尔凯郭尔的思想以及他与现时代的关联。本书的蓝本是同名在线课程的字幕，大家可以 在Coursera平台免费观看：https://www.coursera.org/learn/kierkegaard. 这 部精益求精的中译本，将引领参与这门课程的中国学生更有效地学习这门课程。同时，这本书新增了阎嘉教授写的一篇序言，他曾经翻译过克尔凯郭尔的名作《或此 或彼》；译者在译后记中提及了访学丹麦时的相关经历；去年，在葡萄牙语译本出版之际，巴西的《浮士德》杂志专访了我，这篇采访稿将作为中译本的附录呈现在 中国读者面前。
The book Søren
Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony, and the Crisis of Modernity
(Oxford: Oxford University Press 2015) has recently appeared in a
See the interview with Jon Stewart in the Brazilian
journal Fausto Mag. on
occasion of the translation. (December 2017.)
Soren Kierkegaard: Subjetividade,
ironia e a crise da modernidade,
The Completion of Kierkegaard
Research: Sources, Reception and Resources
is often claimed that relativism, subjectivism and nihilism are
typically modern philosophical problems that emerge with the breakdown
of traditional values, customs and ways of life. The result is the
absence of meaning, the lapse of religious faith, and feeling of
alienation that is so widespread in modernity.
“Recognition and Religion:
Hegel’s Account of the Shapes of the Gods”
in 19th-Century Philosophy: Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche”
“Hegel’s Account of
Subjectivity in the World Religions”
Subjectivity and Alienation in Judaism and Christianity”
“The Discovery of Subjectivity as Reflected in Early Notions of the
Institute of Philosophy and
“Hegel’s Account of Christianity and Religious Alienation”
Pedagogical University, Crakow
June 24, 2019
“Feuerbach’s Conception of Philosophy of Religion as Anthropology”
Conference: “Memory and Anticipation
as Anthropological Phenomena”
“Hegel’s Theory of Mythology”
Faculty of Central European Studies
Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra
Slovakia, December 3, 2018
“Hegel’s Account of the Representations of the Gods in his Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion”
Conference: “Image, Phenomenon, and Imagination in the Phenomenology of Religious Experience”
The Society for Phenomenology of Religious Experience (SOPHERE), Biennial Congress
Prague, November 2-4, 2018
“Hegel’s Parallel Story of the Development of World History and the Development
of the Religions of the World”
Internationaler Kongress: "Ethik, Politik und Weltgeschichte”
L’Università di Urbino Carlo Bo, Urbino, Italy
24-27, October, 2018
Religion and Religious Pluralism”
Conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Religion: "Philosophy of Religion in a Pluralistic World"
Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University
August 28-31, 2018
Philosophical Anthropology as a Reflection of the Philosophy of
Journées philosophiques de Bratislava,
“l’Historicité de l'homme?”
May 25-26, 2018
“La théorie de la
liberté subjective et la modernité de Hegel”
Conference : “Homme nouveau, homme ancien: autour de
figures émergentes et disparaissantes de l’humain”
Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia, July 1-6, 2018
Description of the Romantic Ironist as a Sign of the Times Then and Now”
Pázmány Péter Catholic University, Budapest, Hungary
Budapest, Tárogató út 2-4. classroom 121/B
April 26, 2018, 2:15 to 3:45 p.m.Read more
"Hegel’s Theory of the Emergence of Subjectivity and the Development of Human Rights"
Workshop: “The Image of Man in the Context of Anthropology and Human Rights”
Institute of Philosophy, Slovak Academy of Sciences
Klemensova 19, 813 64 Bratislava
April 9, 2018
The workshop takes place between 1:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Hegel’s Theory of the Emergence of Subjectivity”
“Hegel’s Theory of Recognition and
Subjective Freedom and the Ethical Challenges
Crisis of the Danish Golden Age and its Modern
Session for the
Conference for the Society for the
Advancement of Scandinavian Studies (SASS)
May 11-13, 2017, Minneapolis. Organizers: Jon Stewart and Nathaniel Kramer
their many interesting debates and polemics, the leading figures of
Golden Age Denmark were in agreement about the fact that their age was
in a state of crisis. They believed that the quick pace of change since
the Enlightenment had led to a sense of alienation from traditional
values and ways of thinking. This produced uncertainty that resulted in
different forms of relativism, subjectivism and nihilism.
poet-philosopher, Johan Ludvig Heiberg, dramatically announced the
great cultural crisis of the day in his treatise On the
Significance of Philosophy for the Present Age from 1833. According
to Heiberg, people in his generation had lost their belief in truth and
beauty in any deeper sense. Likewise, in 1837 the classicist and
philosopher, Poul Martin Møller followed this line of thinking in his
influential article “Thoughts on the Possibility of Proofs of Human
Immortality,” in which he claims that modern scientific and
naturalistic thinking has undermined the traditional belief in the
immortality of the soul. In this context he too explores the movement
of nihilism that he believes characterizes the age. In 1842 the
theologian Hans Lassen Martensen published an article entitled “The
Present Religious Crisis,” where he argues that much of the uncertainty
in religion is the result of the work of, among others, the German
theologian David Friedrich Strauss, who argued that Christianity was a
form of myth. The philosopher Søren Kierkegaard treated the idea of a
cultural and religious crisis in a number of his famous works, such as The Concept of Irony, Either/Or, A Literary Review of Two Ages, and The Moment.
of the texts from the Golden Age strike the reader as profoundly modern
since they seem to anticipate key characteristics of the crisis of the
21st century. In keeping with the conference theme—Nordic Connections:
Old and New—we invite papers focused on the Danish Golden Age and its
philosophical, literary and artistic heritage that explore the theme of
crisis and examine the resemblances between the perils and crises of
the Danish Golden Age and those of our own.
European Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature, Master of Arts in Comparative Humanities (MACH),
and the undergraduate Humanities Fellows
Brandeis University, DuBois Lounge (Rabb Graduate Center, Rm. 119)
March 30, 2017, 4pm
“Hegel’s Use of Recognition and Subjective Freedom in His Interpretation of the Religions of the World”
Boston College, Higgins Hall 225
Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Interpretation of the Greek Religion as a Religion of Spirit”
Determinate Religions: Hegel's Interpretation of the Religions of the
Religion of the
Sublime: Hegel’s Controversial Account of Judaism”
“The Determinate Religions: Hegel's Interpretation of the Religions of the World”
Philosophy Department, Boston University
November 4, 2016.Read more
Crisis of Religion and the Logic of the Gods: Hegel’s Interpretation of
Religions of the World”
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard UniversityOctober 19, 2016.
“Humanities Education in a Globalized World
and Our Modern Prejudices”
conference “Classical Education in the 21st Century: Challenges,
Thales Academy, Rolesville, North Carolina
October 7, 2016.Read more
See the video of the lecture
The Conference, “The Registers of Philosophy II,”
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Pázmány Péter Catholic University,
Budapest, Hungary, May 14, 2016.
Read the article
Description of the conference:
Jon Stewart has recently argued in his book The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing (2013) that the style of contemporary philosophy – particularly in its Anglo-American version – is extremely impoverished. This homogeneity, according to Stewart, has its roots in the scientific model of philosophy and philosophical writing, in the philosophy of language that was popular in the beginning of the last century and in the fact that during the professionalization of philosophy a particular mode of writing proved to be the most useful one. Noting the deep similarities of current philosophical pieces would of course not cause any surprise – but Stewart went on to argue that this kind of uniformity in philosophical writing causes much harm to philosophy itself. The standardization not only causes some thoughts to be only ineffectively expressible in philosophy, but shifts the attention of courses both at undergraduate and graduate level to the regular type of philosophical texts. Irregular genres or styles are left out from the curriculum at many places, their own characteristics and the messages encoded in philosophical styles do not gain attention. ‘By insisting on a single form of writing – Stewart emphasized –, professional philosophy implicitly imposes a certain notion about how to read philosophy.’ The ability to read some classics is fading away. And works falling outside of the scope of the writing which people are now accustomed to are deemed to be unphilosophical, lacking rigor and therefore uninteresting.
Nevertheless one might argue that even nowadays various philosophical genres and styles are flourishing, and not only in continental philosophy. Philosophical novels and poems are being published, philosophy is present in theatres and cinemas, not to mention the different web pages that are dedicated to philosophical topics. Even analytic writings do not always use the same style. Furthermore, as Keith Allen noted in his review of The Unity of Content and Form in Philosophical Writing, ‘Stewart’s selection of case studies to illustrate the diversity of forms that philosophical writing can take raises interesting questions about when it is appropriate to describe a work as a work of philosophy.’
Now how uniform really is today’s philosophy? Is the homogeneity of styles dangerous for philosophy itself? What are the themes that only fit well with some genres or styles? What is the exact connection between content and form? Should philosophers pay attention to genres practiced outside of academia? The aim of our series of conferences is to investigate these questions and more. We would like to look at the problems of content and form in philosophy both from historical and contemporary perspectives, from the viewpoint of analytic and continental philosophy as well as from the standpoint of styles that fall outside the scope of academic philosophy. Stewart claimed that questions of form, genre and style should be entertained not only at the literature departments but by professional philosophers too. As he argued: ‘To read philosophical texts as literature is to miss the specifically philosophical meaning that they contain.’ We would like to give a joint occasion for both of these disciplines to discuss the problems introduced above. Like Stewart, we would like to bring philosophers to the edges of conformity, to explore the various forms and the diverse ways of not only writing, reading and interpreting philosophy but teaching, discussing, presenting, popularizing or doing it.