Kierkegaard and Levinas: The Subjunctive Mood, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Kierkegaard and Levinas

The Subjunctive Mood, 1st Edition

By Patrick Sheil


306 pages

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The Danish Christian existentialist Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) and the Jewish Lithuanian-born French interpreter of modern phenomenology Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) have enabled theology and philosophy to illuminate and confront one another in radical and important ways. This book addresses the theological and philosophical thought of both Kierkegaard and Levinas with a focus on the special form that exists in the grammar of many languages for cases of uncertainty, possibility, hypothesis and for expressions of hope: the subjunctive mood. As well as presenting arguments and observations about Kierkegaard and Levinas through an analysis of the subjunctive mood, Patrick Sheil offers an interesting and accessible way into the thought of these two major European philosophers and he explores a wide range of Kierkegaardian and Levinasian texts throughout.


’Enhancing the linguistic perspective, Sheil is thus able to systematically displace the accents, inviting us to reread carefully Kierkegaard and Levinas, bringing forth hidden dimensions that only the linguistic approach is able to unveil. In Sheil’s work, the idea of grammar as philosophy� inspires hermeneutics, offering the reader a genuine philosophical exercise more than a mere comparative study.’ Journal of Religion

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Identity and the subjunctive; Representing the seducer; Interrupting philosophy: the complaint about knowledge; Transcendence and negativity; The moodiness of the subjunctive; The accusation of ethics; Working through love: the subjunctive hopes all things; Freedom; Suffering, faith and forgiveness; Concluding with the unscientific; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Patrick Sheil read English and Modern Languages at King's College Cambridge, where he then completed an M.Phil. degree, as well as the doctorate on which this book is based. He is now a news writer and web developer for Cambridgeshire County Council.

About the Series

Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology

Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology is an interdisciplinary series exploring new opportunities in the dialogue between philosophy and theology that go beyond more traditional 'faith and reason' debates and take account of the contemporary reshaping of intellectual boundaries. For much of the modern era, the relation of philosophy and theology has been conceived in terms of antagonism or subordination, but recent intellectual developments hold out considerable potential for a renewed dialogue in which philosophy and theology have common cause for revisioning their respective identities, reconceiving their relationship, and combining their resources. This series explores constructively for the 21st century the resources available for engaging with those forms of enquiry, experience and sensibility that theology has historically sought to address. Drawing together new writing and research from leading international scholars in the field, this high profile research series offers an important contribution to contemporary research across the interdisciplinary perspectives relating theology and philosophy.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General