Kierkegaard Research

Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources




Volume 5:
Kierkegaard and the Renaissance and Modern Traditions

Edited by Jon Stewart


Tome I: Philosophy
Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate 2009.xix+202pp.


Tome II: Theology
Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate 2009. xiii+268pp.


Tome III: Literature, Drama and Music
Farnham and Burlington: Ashgate 2009. xiii+292pp.

The long period from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century supplied numerous sources for Kierkegaard’s thought in different fields. The present, rather heterogeneous volume covers the long period from the birth of Savonarola in 1452 through the beginning of the nineteenth century and into Kierkegaard’s own time.

The Danish thinker read authors representing vastly different traditions and time periods. Moreover, he also read a diverse range of genres. His interests concerned not just philosophy, theology and literature but also drama and music. The present volume consists of three tomes that are intended to cover Kierkegaard’s sources in these different fields of thought.


Tome I: Philosophy


Tome I is dedicated to the philosophers of the early modern period and the Enlightenment who played a role in shaping Kierkegaard’s intellectual development. He was widely read in German and French philosophy of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, making reference to the leading rationalist philosophers Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz in his journals and published works. Further, connections have also been pointed out between his thought and the writings of the French thinkers Montaigne, Pascal and Rousseau, who share with Kierkegaard a form of philosophy that is more interested in life and existence than purely conceptual analysis.

Through the works of the authors explored here Kierkegaard became acquainted with some of the major philosophical discussions of the modern era such as the beginning of philosophy, the role of doubt, the status of autonomy in ethics and religion, human freedom, the problem of theodicy found in thinkers such as Bayle and Leibniz, and the problem of the relation of philosophy to religion as it appears in the German writers Jacobi and Lessing.

Table of Contents

Pierre Bayle
: Kierkegaard’s Use of the Historical and Critical Dictionary
Karl Verstrynge

René Descartes
: Kierkegaard’s Understanding of Doubt and Certainty
Anders Moe Rasmussen

David Hume
: Kierkegaard and Hume on Reason, Faith,

and the Ethics of Philosophy
Thomas Miles

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi
: Two Theories of the Leap
Anders Moe Rasmussen

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
: Traces of Kierkegaard’s Reading
of the Theodicy
Arild Waaler and Håvard Løkke

Gotthold Ephraim Lessing
: Appropriating the Testimony

of a Theological Naturalist
Curtis L. Thompson

Michel de Montaigne
: The Vulnerability of Sources in Estimating

Kierkegaard’s Study of Essais
Søren Landkildehus 

Blaise Pascal
: Kierkegaard and Pascal as kindred spirits in the Fight

against Christendom
Søren Landkildehus

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
: Presence and Absence
Vincent A. McCarthy

Baruch de Spinoza
: Questioning Transcendence, Teleology and Truth
Clare Carlisle 


Tome II: Theology

Tome II is dedicated to the wealth of theological and religious sources from the beginning of the Reformation to Kierkegaard’s own day. It examines Kierkegaard’s relations to some of the key figures of the Reformation period, from the Lutheran, Reformed and Catholic traditions. It thus explores Kierkegaard’s reception of theologians and spiritual authors of various denominations, most of whom are known to history primarily for their exposition of practical spirituality rather than theological doctrine. Several of the figures investigated here are connected to the Protestant tradition of Pietism that Kierkegaard was familiar with from a very early stage. The main figures in this context include the “forefather” of Pietism Johann Arndt, the Reformed writer Gerhard Tersteegen, and the Danish author Hans Adolph Brorson.

With regard to Catholicism, Kierkegaard was familiar with several popular figures of Catholic humanism, Post-Tridentine theology and Baroque spirituality, such as François Fénelon, Ludwig Blosius and Abraham a Sancta Clara. He was also able to find inspiration in highly controversial and original figures of the Renaissance and the early Modern period, such as Girolamo Savonarola or Jacob Böhme, the latter of whom was at the time an en vogue topic among trendsetting philosophers and theologians such as Hegel, Franz von Baader, Schelling and Hans Lassen Martensen.

Table of Contents


Abraham a St. Clara: An Aphoristic Encyclopedia of Christian Wisdom
Peter Šajda

Johann Arndt
: The Pietist Impulse in Kierkegaard and the Seventeenth-Century Lutheran Devotional Literature
Joseph Ballan

Ludovicus Blosius
: A Frightful Satire on Christendom
Peter Šajda

Jacob Böhme
: The Ambiguous Legacy of Speculative Passion
Lee C. Barrett

Hans Adolph Brorson
: Danish Pietism’s Greatest Hymn Writer and His Relation to Kierkegaard
Christopher B. Barnett

John Calvin
: Kierkegaard and the Question of the Law’s Third Use
David Yoon-Jung Kim

Erasmus of Rotterdam
: Kierkegaardian Hints at a Christian Humanist
Finn Gredal Jensen

François de Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon
: Clearing the Way for

The Sickness unto Death
Peter Šajda

August Hermann Francke
: Kierkegaard on the Kernel and the Husk of Pietist Theology
Joseph Ballan

Thomas Hansen Kingo
: An Investigation of the Poet

and Hymnist’s Impact on Kierkegaard
Christopher B. Barnett

Martin Luther
: Reform, Secularization, and the Question of His “True Successor”
Joel D.S. Ramussen and David Yoon-Jung Kim

Hieronimus Savonarola
: Kierkegaard’s Model for the Blood-Witness
Ivan Sørensen

Gerhard Tersteegen
: Kierkegaard’s Reception of a Man of

“Noble Piety and Simple Wisdom”
Christopher Barnett


Tome III: Literature, Drama and Music

Tome III covers the sources that are relevant for literature, drama and music. Kierkegaard was well read in the European literature of the seventeen and eighteenth century. He was captivated by the figure of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, who is used as a model for humor and irony. He also enjoyed French literature, represented here by articles on Chateaubriand, Lamartine, and Mérimée. French dramatists were popular on the Danish stage, and Kierkegaard demonstrated an interest in, among others, Moliére and Scribe.

Although Kierkegaard never possessed strong English skills, this did not prevent him from familiarizing himself with English literature, primarily with the help of German translations. While there is an established body of secondary material on Kierkegaard’s relation to Shakespeare, little has been said about his use of the Irish dramatist Sheridan. It is obvious from, among other things, The Concept of Irony that Kierkegaard knew in detail the works of some of the main writers of the German Romantic movement. However, his use of the leading figures of the British Romantic movement, Byron and Shelley, remains largely unexplored terrain.

The classic Danish authors of the eighteenth century, Holberg, Wessel and Ewald, were influential figures who prepared the way for the Golden Age of Danish poetry. Kierkegaard constantly refers to their dramatic characters, whom he often employs to illustrate a philosophical idea with a pregnant example or turn of phrase. Finally, while Kierkegaard is not an obvious name in musicology, his analysis of Mozart’s Don Giovanni shows that he had a keen interest in music on many different levels.

Table of Contents

Lord George Gordon Byron
: Seduction, Defiance and Despair: Lord Byron in the Works of Kierkegaard
Bartholomew Ryan

Miguel de Cervantes
: The Valuable Contribution of a Minor Influence
Óscar Parcero Oubiña

François-René de Chateaubriand
: The Eloquent “Fellowship
of the Dead”
Ingrid Basso

Johannes Ewald
: Poetic Fire
Kim Ravn

Ludvig Holberg
: Kierkegaard’s Unacknowledged Mentor
Julie Allen

Alphonse de Lamartine
: The Movement “en masse” versus the Individual Choice
Ingrid Basso

Prosper Mérimée
: A New Don Juan
Nataliya Vorobyova

: An Existential Vision of Authenticity in Man Across Time
Jeanette Bresson Ladegaard Knox

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
: The Love for Music and the Music of Love
Elisabete M. de Sousa 

Eugène Scribe
: The Unfortunate Authorship of a Successful Author
Elisabete M. de Sousa 

William Shakespeare
: Kierkegaard’s Post-Romantic Reception

of “the Poet’s Poet”
Joel D. S. Rasmussen

Percy Bysshe Shelley
: Anxious Journeys, the Demonic, and
“Breaking the Silence”
Bartholomew Ryan

Richard Brinsley Sheridan
: A Story of One Review—

Kierkegaard on The School for Scandal
Nataliya Vorobyova

Johan Herman Wessel
: Kierkegaard’s Use of Wessel, or the
Crazier the Better
Tonny Aagaard Olesen

Edward Young
: Kierkegaard’s Encounter with a Proto-Romantic Religious Poet
Joseph Ballan



Kierkegaard and the Bible,
Tomes I-II


Volume 2

Kierkegaard and the
Greek World,
Tomes I-II


Volume 3

Kierkegaard and the
Roman World


Volume 4
Kierkegaard and the

Patristic and

Medieval Traditions


Volume 5
Kierkegaard and the
Renaissance and
Modern Traditions,
Tomes I-III


Volume 6

Kierkegaard and his
German Contemporaries,
Tomes I-III


Volume 7

Kierkegaard and his
Danish Contemporaries,
Tomes I-III




















































































































The series Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception and Resources is published Routledge Research, Philosophy
Routledge / Taylor & Francis Group, 711 Third Ave., Eighth Floor, New York, NY 10017, USA

Jon Stewart©2007-2020