Kenosis in <i>Philosophical Fragments</i>

David R. Law

in Kierkegaard's Kenotic Christology

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199698639
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745546 | DOI:
Kenosis in Philosophical Fragments

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This chapter examines the kenotic motifs present in Philosophical Fragments. Kierkegaard's analogy of the king who conceals his royal status in order not to overwhelm the peasant girl he loves resembles kenotic Christologies which emphasize the limitations Christ took upon himself on becoming a human being. Kierkegaard's pseudonym Johannes Climacus, however, emphasizes to a much greater extent the powerlessness of the incarnate Christ. For Climacus, Christ is bound by the servant form he has assumed on becoming incarnate. The kenotic Christology that emerges in Philosophical Fragments, however, matches directly none of the theories discussed in the historical survey of kenotic Christologies in Chapter 2, for Climacus based his Christology not on the affinity between God and humankind (e.g., the imago Dei) but on the basis of their radical difference.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; kenosis; kenotic Christology; philosophical fragments; servant; powerlessness; limitation; abasement

Chapter.  30127 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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