Chapter

<i>Felix Offensatio</i> in <i>Practice in Christianity</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/9780199790661.003.0005

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

Felix Offensatio in Practice in Christianity

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This chapter closely analyzes Practice in Christianity (by Kierkegaard's pseudonym Anti-Climacus) to show how Christ comprises good news to sinners only by incarnating the very possibility of offense. After glimpsing the inherent goodness of human fragility (as traced in Chapter 2) and becoming increasingly capable of spirited sin (Chapter 3), it offers Kierkegaard's readers the Christian cure to the sin-sick soul in Practice in Christianity. Yet the chapter shows how this unbounded love of God through Christ introduces a more devastating possibility of sin—the possibility of taking offense. The chapter analyzes this negative, critical function of Practice but draws on the work of Emmanuel Levinas to argue that such negative witness is rooted in the excessiveness of Christ and redemption, similar in function to the earliest utterance of felix culpa.

Keywords: Kierkegaard; Levinas; Anti-Climacus; offense; Practice in Christianity; liturgy; Christ; salvation; scandal of particularity; kenosis

Chapter.  17971 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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