Kierkegaard, Aesthetics, and Selfhood: The Art of Subjectivity, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Kierkegaard, Aesthetics, and Selfhood

The Art of Subjectivity, 1st Edition

By Peder Jothen


272 pages

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Paperback: 9781138546110
pub: 2018-02-12
Hardback: 9781409470168
pub: 2014-10-10
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pub: 2016-04-22
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In the digital world, Kierkegaard's thought is valuable in thinking about aesthetics as a component of human development, both including but moving beyond the religious context as its primary center of meaning. Seeing human formation as interrelated with aesthetics makes art a vital dimension of human existence. Contributing to the debate about Kierkegaard's conception of the aesthetic, Kierkegaard, Aesthetics, and Selfhood argues that Kierkegaard's primary concern is to provocatively explore how a self becomes Christian, with aesthetics being a vital dimension for such self-formation. At a broader level, Peder Jothen also focuses on the role, authority, and meaning of aesthetic expression within religious thought generally and Christianity in particular.


’The works of Søren Kierkegaard have long provoked and perplexed readers, and nowhere more than in the relation between his accounts of art, aesthetics, and subjectivity. In this insightful and readable book, Peder Jothen shows how for Kierkegaard coming to exist as a self is nothing other than the art of subjectivity�. This work should be widely read by anyone interested in Kierkegaard’s writings.’ William Schweiker, University of Chicago, USA ’Criticizing common views that Kierkegaard rejects both the aesthetic and the arts, Peder Jothen portrays beautifully Kierkegaard’s aesthetically rich concept of selfhood, how the imagination, will, and passion play central roles in various ways of being in the art of subjectivity�, particularly in the unexpected yet profound aesthetic dimensions of Christian existence. Readers will benefit too from Jothen’s stimulating reflections on the continuing relevance of Kierkegaard’s critical yet constructive understanding of the role of the arts for Christian faith in the contemporary world.’ David J. Gouwens, Brite Divinity School, USA 'In Jothen we see a gentler, warmer, and richer Kierkegaard than the spiritual rigorism which is the normal lens through which Kierkegaard is interpreted.' Lutheran Quarterly

Table of Contents


1 Kierkegaard’s Ambiguous Aesthetics

2 Becoming Christian

3 Christ and the Art of Subjective Becoming

4 Mimesis, Aesthetics, and Christian Becoming

5 Becoming amidst the Existence Stages

6 Becoming and Art


About the Author

Peder Jothen is Assistant Professor, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Theology, Imagination and the Arts

What have imagination and the arts to do with theology? For much of the modern era, the answer has been 'not much'. It is precisely this deficit that this series seeks to redress. For, whatever role they have or have not been granted in the theological disciplines, imagination and the arts are undeniably bound up with how we as human beings think, learn and communicate, engage with and respond to our physical and social environments and, in particular, our awareness and experience of that which transcends our own creatureliness. The arts are playing an increasingly significant role in the way people come to terms with the world; at the same time, artists of many disciplines are showing a willingness to engage with religious or theological themes. A spate of publications and courses in many educational institutions has already established this field as one of fast-growing concern. This series taps into a burgeoning intellectual concern on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. The peculiar inter-disciplinarity of theology, and the growing interest in imagination and the arts in many different fields of human concern, afford the opportunity for a series that has its roots sunk in varied and diverse intellectual soils, while focused around a coherent theological question: How are imagination and the arts involved in the shaping and reshaping of our humanity as part of the creative and redemptive purposes of God, and what roles do they perform in the theological enterprise? Many projects within the series have particular links to the work of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts in the University of St Andrews, and to the Duke Initiatives in Theology and the Arts at Duke University.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Subjects & Themes / Religious
PHILOSOPHY / Religious
RELIGION / General