Book

Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

Stephen Backhouse

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604722
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729324 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604722.001.0001

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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The book draws out the critique of Christian nationalism that is implicit throughout the thought of Søren Kierkegaard, an analysis that is inseparable from his wider aim of reintroducing Christianity into Christendom. ‘Christian nationalism’ refers to the set of ideas in which belief in the development and superiority of one's national group is combined with, or underwritten by, Christian theology and practice. The book examines the nationalist theologies of H. L. Martensen and N. F. S. Grundtvig, important cultural leaders and contemporaries of Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard's response to their thought forms the backbone of his own philosophical and theological project, namely his attempt to form authentic Christian individuals through the use of ‘the moment’, ‘the leap’ and ‘contemporaneity’. This Kierkegaardian critique is brought into conversation with current political science theories of religious nationalism, and is expanded to address movements and theologies beyond the historical context of Kierkegaard's Golden Age Denmark. The implications of Kierkegaard's approach are undoubtedly radical and unsettling to politicians and church leaders alike, yet there is much to commend it to the reality of modern religious and social life. As a theological thinker keenly aware of the unique problems posed by Christendom, Kierkegaard's critique is timely for any Christian culture that is tempted to confuse its faith with patriotism or national affiliation.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; nationalism; patriotism; Christian nationalism; religious nationalism; Christendom; authenticity; moment; leap; contemporaneity; Martensen; Grundtvig; Golden Age; Denmark

Book.  272 pages. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Nationalism, Christianity and Kierkegaard in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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H. L. Martensen in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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N. F. S. Grundtvig in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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Philosophical Tools in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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History in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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Identity in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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Undefined New Things: Church and State in Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

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