Chapter

<i>Felix Fallibilitas</i> in <i>The Sickness unto Death</i>

Jason A. Mahn

in Fortunate Fallibility

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199790661
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897391 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199790661.003.0004

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series

Felix Fallibilitas in The Sickness unto Death

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This chapter provides a deconstructionist interpretation of The Sickness unto Death. It begins by tracing Western culture's penchant for moralizing sin, arguing that Kierkegaard's text resists such moralizations. It then analyzes a closely related group of texts, those of the Romantics, with their celebration of human trespass, attending especially to Lord Byron's play Cain. Anti-Climacus (Kierkegaard's pseudonym) plays with the idea that humans might dispose themselves to sin in the effort to win self-security—just as the Romantic poets see creative growth in suffering and transgression. The chapter, however, argues that Kierkegaard actually deconstructs such Romantic leanings in the effort to depict the virtue of faith negatively through the possibility of human failure.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; Byron; Romanticism; deconstruction; virtue; sin; despair; bound will; via negativa; Anti-Climacus

Chapter.  20771 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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