Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness  book cover
1st Edition

Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness

ISBN 9781138260993
Published November 23, 2016 by Routledge
242 Pages

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Book Description

Søren Kierkegaard wrote that Pietism is 'the one and only consequence of Christianity'. Praise of this sort - particularly when coupled with Kierkegaard's significant personal connections to the movement in Christian spirituality known as Pietism - would seem to demand thorough investigation. And yet, Kierkegaard's relation to Pietism has been largely neglected in the secondary literature. Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness fills this scholarly gap and, in doing so, provides the first full-length study of Kierkegaard's relation to the Pietist movement. First accounting for Pietism's role in Kierkegaard's social, ecclesial, and intellectual background, Barnett goes on to demonstrate Pietism's impact on Kierkegaard's published authorship, principally regarding the relationship between Christian holiness and secular culture. This book not only establishes Pietism as a formative influence on Kierkegaard's life and thinking, but also sheds fresh light on crucial Kierkegaardian concepts, from the importance of 'upbuilding' to the imitation of Christ.



Christopher B. Barnett is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Berry College, Georgia, USA. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Theology at the University of Oxford in September 2008, working under Professor George Pattison, one of the world's best known Kierkegaard scholars and holder of the prestigious Lady Margaret Professorship of Divinity. Also, during his doctoral research, Dr Barnett served as a guest researcher at the Moravian Archives in Herrnhut, Germany and at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre in Copenhagen. Dr Barnett has issued articles on Kierkegaard in the Journal for the History of Modern Theology and in the book series, Kierkegaard Research: Sources, Reception, and Resources, edited by Jon Stewart of the Kierkegaard Research Centre, Copenhagen (Ashgate).


'The role of Pietism in shaping Kierkegaard's religious outlook has often been alluded to in the secondary literature, but has only rarely been addressed in detail. Christopher B. Barnett's study goes further than any previous work in establishing the historical, biographical and textual basis for this influence and in tracing its effects in Kierkegaard's own writings. This will surely become a point of reference for any future work that takes Kierkegaard's place in the history of theology seriously and, indeed, for any work that seeks to understand what being religious meant for him. It is admirably clear and thorough in its treatment of both primary and secondary materials.' George Pattison, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity,University of Oxford, UK 'This book should be required reading for any student of Kierkegaard’s religious works, and it is highly recommended for anyone studying the philosophical writings too. Barnett traces key sources of Kierkegaard’s religious outlook back through such figures as J. G. Hamann, Nikolaus Zinzendorf, Gottfried Arnold, Johannes Arndt, Martin Luther, and Thomas à Kempis, all the way to the medieval mystic Johannes Tauler, and before. The analysis thereby illumines Kierkegaard’s polemics against mere philosophical speculation and his call for a Socratic brand of Christianity disciplined by the constant risk of martyrdom.' Andrew Burgess, Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, The University of New Mexico, USA 'Søren Kierkegaard’s intellectual relationship to Pietism is complex and dialectical - indeed, ambivalent. Barnett’s historically detailed treatise on Kierkegaard’s relationship to Pietism will thus become a standard work for international Kierkegaard researchers and for scholars of church history and dogmatics'. Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Professor of Kierkegaard Studies, University of Copenhagen, Denmark '... Barnett’s Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness will one day become a seminal work on this issue