Lecture 8.1 The 2nd Half of the Authorship and the Attack on the Church

The last decade of Kierkegaard’s life was in many ways the most dramatic. This was the time of the Revolution of 1848 and of Kierkegaard’s public attack on the Danish state church in his final years. This period represents what Kierkegaard scholars refer to as the second half of the authorship, namely, the period from 1846 after the Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Kierkegaard’s death in 1855. In this lecture we explore some of Kierkegaard’s main works from these years, such as A Literary Review of Two Ages, Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, The Sickness unto Death, Practice in Christianity and The Moment. We will see how some of the themes and motifs that we have examined re-appear in these works. In our exploration of these texts it will become evident that even as Kierkegaard grows older, he continues to return to the figure of Socrates as a source of inspiration. Indeed, he never abandons the great hero of his youth. Even in the last text that he ever completed before his death, he explicitly states that Socrates was the only model that he used for his work. Our goal in this lecture is, among other things, to try to understand what he means by this. The lecture ends with a biographical account of Kierkegaard’s attack on the Danish State Church, his final illness and death.

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