Soren Kierkegaard - Existentialism, Nominalism, and the Three Spheres of Existence

The dawning years of the nineteenth century were indeed years of great historic change. The Age of Reason was slowly disappearing over the horizon and the Romantic era was gradually rising to the fore. Moreover, it was a time of momentous social change and industrial progress, an age of revolution and powerful human expression. While Rousseau and Jefferson assailed the divine right of kings and proceeded to carve out their respective revolutionary ideals, great artists such as Beethoven, Goethe, and Goya were offering to the world their timeless creations. Meanwhile, the engines of the industrial machine were set in motion by the inventive genius of the age, creating a momentous force which has not ceased to this day. Thus the dawn of the nineteenth century was pervaded by the spirit of optimism and human ascent, and it was posited for the first time that the "theoretical possibility of uninterrupted human progress might be concretely realized."1 But as contemporary historians have observed, the Romanticist "escape from reason" was nothing more than a "fallacy of hope,"2 an imaginary dream of utopian ideals from which the European man would awake in horror.

Perhaps this shattered dream is best represented by the story of Beethoven and Napoleon, a story which seems to encapsulate the death of political idealism in nineteenth century Europe. As the story goes, Beethoven, though not a political man, but a grand admirer of Napoleon as an apostle of revolutionary ideals, dedicated his Third Symphony (Sinfonia Eroica) to the French general, inscibing "Buonaparte" at the very top of the manuscript's title page. However, in 1804 when the orchestral master heard that Napoleon crowned himself Emperor in the cathedral of Notre Dame, Beethoven flew into a rage and said, "Now too he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge in his own ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men and become a tyrant!"3 Infuriated, the master stormed to the table upon which his work of art lay, and tore the title page into shreds, the name of "Buonaparte" being committed to the hearth and flame. The resulting imperialism of Napoleon, then, would cause much dismay and disillusionment in the hearts of the European people; the intellectual edifice of Romanticism was doomed to collapse and a new context was being formed in which a new philosophy might emerge -- indeed, the philosophy of existentialism.

Perhaps more than any other system of thought, the existential worldview is dependent on the socio-cultural context of the age. Unlike any form of transcendental idealism, existentialism envelops and engages troubled civilization, responding to the predicament of the existing individual. Thus, we can say that existentialism is a philosophy which is attentive to the anguish, aspirations, and needs of the people, a philosophy which moves the existent to realize his "ultimate concern,"4 and thus attain an authentic existence. So, when we reflect upon the societal conditions which prevailed in post-Napoleonic Europe, and then take into consideration the fact that rationalism and higher criticism had already contributed greatly to the erosion of biblical authority, it is not difficult to see how the philosophy of existentialism could have taken root, even though it would not flourish until the twentieth century.

In truth, a concrete definition of existentialism is elusive, indeed a difficult assignment. For, it is not a philosophical system or school of thought per se, nor can it be reduced to a series of propositional truths or tenets. Furthermore, the philosophers which are identified as existentialists are thinkers who differ on the essentials; thus, existential thinkers should not be viewed categorically, but rather on a continuum which spans a wide range of thought. For this reason, then, we find within existentialism such Christian thinkers as Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard on one end of the spectrum, and such atheists as Nietzsche and Sartre on the other end.5 But what is common among existential thinkers is an attitude of revolt against traditional paradigms of thought, especially the epistemological and ontological structures offered in institutionalized Christianity and systematic philosophical idealism (e.g. Platonism or Hegelianism). Rather than viewing reality and existence from an objective rationalistic perspective, existentialism makes precedent the individual's subjective presence and participation in the changing world order.6 Truth is never realized by an a priori assent to a systematic worldview, but by the existent's dialectical interaction with the dynamics of the life situation. The meditative individual contemplates his finitude in the seeming void of the infinite, and endeavors to understand his relation to the world in order that he might attain some form of "authentic existence." Thus, through his own freedom and volition, the individual shapes his own existence, an existence which is part of abstract reality, but not necessarily dependent on it. Thus, authentic existence means that one must become more and more an individual and less and less a member of the "herd," or common humanity. Essentially, then, this is what is meant by the common existential refrain, "existence precedes essence." In sum, this is existentialism.

In the text of this paper, we will explore the ideas of one of the pioneers of existential thought, the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55). Although we will allude to various aspects of his existential philosophy, our primary focus will be concerned with his distinct approach to Christianity against the backdrop of nineteenth century nominalism which prevailed in the Danish State Church as well as in Protestant Christianity in general. Soren Kierkegaard was a passionate thinker, sometimes eccentric, and sometimes cynical, who vigorously opposed "Christendom" in its nominal form. In doing so, he served as the prototypical thinker for future existentialists in their polemic against any form of institutionalized nominalism, whether religious, academic, social, or otherwise. Yet although Kierkegaard has been deemed the "father of existentialism" by many contemporary thinkers, it is doubtful that he would have recognized his own ideas in many of the twentieth century existential writings.

At any rate, Kierkegaard's purpose was to awaken the masses from their passive spiritual slumber; and, in his mind, he even sacrificed his marital commitment to Regina Olsen in order to serve God for the sake of this higher principle. He truly believed that Christianity could address the individual existential concerns of the people; but true Christianity, for Kierkegaard, would come with a price. According to his way of thinking, in the early centuries of Christianity, becoming a Christian meant sacrifice and separation from the world, indeed renouncing the ways of the kosmos and following Christ in a continual state of self-surrender, even in the face of scorn and ridicule. In Kierkegaard's day, however, as well as in any era of nominalism, becoming a Christian meant conformity to social principles which were thought to have been derived from Christianity. Thus, in the Danish-Lutheran society, everyone was a Christian. And as Kierkegaard argued in his Attack Upon Christendom, "If all men are Christians, then Christianity eo ipso does not exist."7 Thus, according to Kierkegaard, Christianity had been reduced to a meaningless and irrelevant system which was wholly foreign to its true original form as preserved in the New Testament. Rather than propagating Christian truth (as was supposed), the church was simply contributing to the abolition of authentic Christianity.

As one would expect, because of his countercultural views, Soren Kierkegaard was made the object of scorn and ridicule in the Danish state press. Thus, he was relatively unknown in his own day, unrewarded and unappreciated as a philosophical thinker. Like many of the great minds in history, he simply transcended the age in which he lived. Yet in retrospect, we can see that his philosophical and psychological penetration of the human spirit was so profound that the twentieth century zeitgeist would altogether be different without his important literary contributions.

"The stone which was rolled before Christ's tomb might
appropriately be called 'the philosopher's stone' because its
removal gave not only the Pharisees but, now for 1800 years,
the philosophers so much to think about."

Soren Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1813, and it seemed that tragedy would grip his family all the days of his life. By the time he was twenty-one, two of his sisters, a brother, and his mother had all died, and Soren himself would only life to the age of forty-one. Whether one would attribute such tragedy to his father, who as a young boy cursed God for seemingly condemning him to a life of obscurity on the shepherd plains of the Jutland Heath,9 or whether one would attribute such sickliness and frailty to a genetic abnormality which infected the Kierkegaard family, the fact remains that though Soren lived a short life, his proficient mind and prolific pen produced an abundance of ideas, which have earned their place in the bibliotheca of human thought.

In the mind of Kierkegaard, the rationalism which resulted from Enlightenment thinking was nothing short of repugnant. Most of all, he abhorred the philosophy of Hegel, a philosophy which could be regarded as one of the most ambitious systematic philosophies ever devised by the mind of one man.10 Not that Kierkegaard was irreverent toward the great idealistic thinker; indeed, by no means. Kierkegaard recognized the immensity and magnitude of the Hegelian achievement. But as Frederick Copleston has indicated, this was precisely the problem with the Hegelian system according to Kierkegaard. "Kierkegaard regarded Hegel as the greatest of all speculative philosophers and as a thinker who achieved a stupendous intellectual 'tour de force.'"11 Problematic for Kierkegaard, however, was that Hegelian philosophy was a "gigantic 'tour de force' and nothing more."12 It pretended to be a transcendent philosophy which could objectively discern and define all of reality -- indeed, an effort of Promethean fortitude -- but for Kierkegaard, though the Hegelian system sought to encapsulate all of reality within an objective, abstract system, Hegel neglected one very important fact, namely, the "individual existent" and his dynamic interaction within the all-comprehensive reality. Thus, with some cynicism, Kierkegaard wrote, "If Hegel had written his whole 'Logic' and in the Preface had disclosed the fact that it was merely a thought-experiment, he would have been the greatest thinker that has ever lived. Now he is a comic."13

Most importantly, however, what aggravated Kierkegaard the most was that the Hegelian ethos had been superimposed upon the Danish State Church (and Protestantism in general), and had thus reinforced the spirit of nominalism within the church. Of course, Hegel's primary effort was directed at resolving the Kantian distinction between the phenomenal and the noumenal realms,14 the solution being a progressive dialectic between the two which would result in a synthesis of theological and philosophical postulates -- or as some contemporary scholars have asserted, a transformation of the Christian mythos into a philosophical/contemporary understanding.15 Practically, however, Christianity became equated with Christendom (or institutionalized nominalism), the criterion of faith being an assent to the ethical principles of the universal Christian system.

For Kierkegaard, however, this gross nominalism presented a critical problem which had to be overcome if authentic Christianity was to have any practical realism. Within the Hegelian paradigm, there was no place for an individual dynamic faith, i.e. a subjective faith that was elementary to the authentic Christian life.16 Christendom was simply a "prodigious illusion" which distorted and masked the true essence of the Christian kerygma. As Kierkegaard himself noted in his Point of View:

"What does it mean that all these thousands and thousands call themselves Christians as a matter of course? These many, men, of whom the greater part, so far as one can judge, live in categories quite foreign to Christianity! People who never think about God, never mention his name except in oaths . . . Yet all these people are all called Christians, call themselves Christians, are recognized as Christians by the State, are buried as Christians by the Church, are certified as Christians for eternity!"17

Thus, according to Kierkegaard, most of the people within Christendom were not really true Christians, i.e. disciples of Jesus Christ. Indeed, as Kierkegaard argued in his Training in Christianity, if these people (whether minister, philosopher, or statesman) had lived contemporaneous with Christ, they certainly would not have comprised his following, but rather, his opposition. In reality, they were simply the heirs of 1,800 years of Christian civilization (i.e. "the upshot"),18 and "they live(d) in aesthetic, or at most, in aesthetic-ethical categories" (a subject to which we will allude in later discussion).19 For Kierkegaard, then, the great sea of nominalism in which the Church was immersed in his day resulted not in the propagation of Christian truth (as was commonly believed), but rather, in the abolition of authentic Christianity. The "faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3) had been reduced to a superficial triviality; it had been diffused among the passive recipients of mediocrity, and had thus come "dangerously close to sanctioning the Christian faith with the spirit of worldliness."20

In sum, then, the key question for the Danish thinker was, "How can one become a Christian if everybody is already a Christian?" Spoken another way, "How can one preach Christianity to those who presume to be Christians?" Kierkegaard was no fool, however. He recognized the near impossibility of resolving such a socio-spiritual problem. As he wrote in 1848, "Once in a while there appears a religious enthusiast: he storms against Christendom, he vociferates and makes a loud noise, denouncing almost all as not being Christians, yet he accomplishes nothing . . . and illusion is not an easy thing to dispel."21

Despite this, however, Kierkegaard viewed himself as the one who would "storm against Christendom" and expose the institutionalized nominalism which prevailed within the Danish State Church. In articulating authentic Christianity, he would build his system upon three pillars, namely, (1) the idea of the Three Spheres of Existence(i.e. the aesthetic, ethical, and religious) as set forth in his Stages on Life's Way, (2) his doctrine of Christ's invitation to the individual in Training in Christianity with the inherent "paradox" and "offense" associated with true faith in Christ -- the paradox and offense being the concept of "theanthropos," and finally (3) the so-called "leap of faith" which begins precisely where logical, systematic thinking leaves off. Essentially, then these are the three pillars upon which the Kierkegaardian "system" is built. Thus, it is within this core of his philosophy in which his developed ideas are contextualized and properly understood.

Because of the brevity of this essay, in the following pages we will focus primarily on the first pillar, i.e. the Three Spheres of Existence, or "Stages on Life's Way."

The Three Spheres of Existence

In the spring of 1845, Kierkegaard wrote his Stages on Life's Way, a work which ponders the question, "How should a human being exist?" Reminiscent of Plato's Symposium, the question is addressed from different perspectives by various fictional characters who have been invited to a banquet. (In the Symposium the issue of discussion was the "meaning of love"). In this work, though, Kierkegaard (through his fictional characters) delineates three spheres of existence or realms, namely the "aesthetic, ethical, and the religious."22 Contrary to Hegel's triadic logical progression (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) which leads to the individual's greater metaphysical understanding,23 Kierkegaard's concern is the psycho-spiritual growth of the individual personality through a series of triadic stages.

The first stage, or aesthetical sphere of existence, is concerned with the sensual world of gratification, pleasure, and worldly pursuits. It is the realm in which man feeds his impulses and emotions, excluding from the forefront of his consciousness "fixed universal standards" and "religious faith."24 As Copleston observes, "Open to all emotional and sense experience, sampling the nectar from every flower, he hates all that would limit his field of choice and he never gives definite form to his life."25 It must be said, however, at this point, that Kierkegaard does not mean to equate aestheticism to mere hedonism, although hedonism would certainly be included in the aesthetic category. Rather, the Kierkegaardian concept of the "aesthetic level of existence" would include primarily, in the Epicurean sense, a priority of immediate self-fulfillment in apposition to some form of loyalty to a supreme universal law. Accordingly, then, the aesthete discovers no contentment in his self-absorbed pursuits (resulting in "despair") and is thus faced with a critical "choice," indeed an "Either/Or," i.e. whether to remain in the aesthetical sphere of existence (what Kierkegaard metaphorically regards as "the cellar,"26 never attaining any form of "authentic existence."

Nevertheless, some men realize the futility of living in the aesthetical sphere, and thus "choose" to proceed to a life of duty, commitment, and morality -- indeed, the second "stage on life's way," the ethical sphere of existence. Whereas the aesthetical stage is typified by the passionate Don Juan, who in European myth (e.g. Mozart's Don Giovanni) lived a life of immediate satisfaction in every situation, the ethical stage is typified by Socrates, a man who though it his duty to pursue a life of virtue in obedience to a universal principle.27 The ethical man, then, accepts universal moral principles and assents to a higher law, thus giving "form and consistency to his life."28 In Kierkegaardian thought, the idea of transition, i.e. of a man who moves from the aesthetic to the ethical level of existence, can be found in the analogy of a man who renounces mere sexual impulses and the convenience of non-commitment and instead enters into a state of marriage, thus making a lifelong covenant with his lover according to the dictates of a higher universal law.29 Accordingly, he has moved from the aesthetic into the ethical sphere of existence, and has thus progressed toward an authentic form of existence.

In the ethical life of duty and commitment, the existent pursues a life of virtue and moral assent to the universal; however, a truly earnest attempt to live such a life eventually results in the individual's awareness of his own insufficiency and shortcomings. He realizes that his autonomous internal volitional powers are unable to bring him to the level of an authentic ethical existence. Thus, the existent reaches the classic point of "despair" and is again faced with the critical "choice" of "Either/Or," i.e. whether to make the transition to the next level, i.e. the religious sphere of existence.

Interestingly, within the ethical stage Kierkegaard introduces to us the tragic hero, i.e. one who sacrifices himself for the universal moral law. In essence, the tragic hero divests himself of his own self-interests for the sake of the universal. An example of the tragic hero would be Socrates, who refused to participate in a last minute plot which would free him from prison, his purpose being that the integrity of his teaching might be jeopardized -- thus, a heroic action of self-sacrifice or martyrdom for the sake of the universal. Or King Agamemnon, who in the Iliad, could not set sail for the shores of Troy because he had offended Artemis (cf. Euripides', "Iphigenia at Aulis) a goddess who thwarted the efforts of his naval fleet and then demanded the sacrificial blood of his daughter Iphigenia for propitiation. as a royal figure who recognized that the fate of all Greece was at stake, and that he had made alliances with Menelaus, Achilles, and Odysseus to go to war against Troy, Agamemnon became a tragic hero by sacrificing his own daughter for the sake of the universal, i.e. the fate of his nation.30 And indeed, throughout history, how many hundreds of thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for the greater good (the universal) of their nation? Yet Kierkegaard, in his book Fear and Trembling, goes on to contrast this tragic hero (or "knight of resignation") with what he calls the "knight of faith" (a subject to which we will allude in our discussion of the "third stage on life's way," i.e. the religious sphere of existence).

Now, according to Kierkegaard, when the existent who has been living at the ethical stage becomes confronted with the "despair" of realization and thus "chooses" to move into the religious sphere of existence, he has essentially recognized the fact that authentic existence cannot be attained without God at the center. Controverting the Kantian "Categorical Imperative," which invokes God "practically" but not "existentially," Kierkegaard seeks to emphasize an immanence in the life of the existent, an immanence which affirms the individual's relationship to God on a deep and personal level. As Copleston notes in regard to this element of Kierkegaardian thought:

"Every man is, as it were, amixture of the finite and the infinite. Considered precisely as finite, he is separated from God, alienated from him. Considered as infinite, man is not indeed God, but he is a movement towards God, the movement of the spirit. And the man who appropriates and affirms his relationship to God 'in faith' becomes what he really is, the individual before God."31

Now the prototypical figure for Kierkegaard in illustrating the religious sphere of existence is the biblical patriarch Abraham. As Kierkegaard relates to us in his Fear and Trembling, God requires Abraham to appropriate and affirm his relationship to God "in faith" by suspending any adherence to the universal ethical law. According to the Kantian dictum, there could be no transcendence of the universal ethical law since it was precisely man's conformity to this law that measured man's perfection or lack thereof.32 So, whereas ethical univerality became a teleological end for Kant, it was the suspension of such ethical universality that provided the theme for Kierkegaard's hermeneutical investigation of the biblical Abraham.

Thus, God calls upon Abraham to perform an abhorrent task, a task so scandalous that no ethical mind could conceive of such an abomination. Indeed, there is nothing done for the sake of the universal in this decree. For, in commanding Abraham to slay his only son Isaac simply to prove his faith, God is purposely removing Himself from any fixed universal realm and thus encountering the existent (Abraham) on an individual plane that is far beyond comprehension or objective understanding. For this reason, then, Abraham cannot speak of his trial to Sarah, or Eleazar, or Isaac, or anyone else, because as Kierkeggard notes, "Abraham is an emigrant from the sphere of the universal."33 he has moved into a realm of solitude where only he and God can convene, a realm where the "Individual can stand in absolute relation to the Absolute."34 Interestingly, Kierkegaard resembles Thomas Aquinas here; for, as James Collins points out in his work "The Mind of Kierkegaard":

"It is a Thomistic teaching that the secrets of the heart, especially those associated with the disposition of freedom, remain inviolable. These secrets are open only to God and the individual, for not even the angels can pierce this inscrutably private zone. And it is not only inviolable but also in a way ineffable: the individual cannot, if he would, communicate to another his complete attitude."35

Thus, it is within this realm of "subjectivity" that the existent Abraham communes with God. There is no conformity to an objectively defined Hegelian system, there is no conformity to the Kantian dictum, and external impositions and influences cannot penetrate this realm of "subjectivity." Abraham stands alone before God, in "fear and trembling," unconditionally accepting the call to faith which God has required. It is here, then, that Kierkegaard contrasts the tragic hero (or "knight of resignation") with the "knight of faith" who is Abraham.

As Kierkegaard observes, the tragic hero like Socrates or Agamemnon resigns himself to the fact that his self-sacrifice will result in an irreversible finality -- nevertheless, a finality which will result in the good of the universal. For instance, Socrates knows that his death is imminent, but his conscience is assured that his sacrificial action is in congruity with the universal. And Agamemnon, as well as Iphigenia, are assured that the required propitiatory sacrifice to Artemis will result in victory for the Greeks. Thus, their action is interpreted as a "sacrifice for the universal cause." In Kierkegaardian language, then, we can say that these tragic heroes are knights of resignation because they have have infinitely resigned their fates to the good of the universal.

What, then, is the difference between these tragic heroes and the biblical figure Abraham? Among the many similarities, where does one find the distinction? Well, as Kierkegaard explains, Socrates, Agamemnon, and Iphigenia had all resigned themselves to their irreversible fates for the sake of the universal. However, although Abraham, too, had passed through this very same fire of resignation (i.e. he infinitely renounced his claim to the one he loved -- Isaac), he went one step further. Though he had resigned to the fact that he would spill the blood of his only son on the heights of Mount Moriah, he nevertheless believed "on the strength of the absurd" that he would receive Isaac again, not in death, but in life.36 In Kierkegaard, the word "absurd" does not have the meaning as in Albert Camus' "Myth of Sisyphus," nor does it mean something that is "logically impossible," but rather, it implies something that is "humanly impossible." Thus, we could say that Kierkegaardian absurdity recognizes such impossibilities as "apparent," and thus commits them to the realm of faith and the divine potentiality. Thus, Abraham became a "knight of faith" because he believed "that for God all things are possible."37 As Kierkegaard himself writes:

"What did Abraham do? He believed on the strength of the absurd, and it was indeed absurd that God who demanded this of him should in the next instant withdraw the demand. He climbed the mountain, even in that moment when the knife gleamed he believed -- that God would not demand Isaac. Certainly he was surprised by the outcome, but by means of a double movement he had come back to his original position and therefore received Isaac more joyfully than the first time."38

The admiration that Kierkegaard (or his pseudonymous author, Johannes de Silentio) has for Abraham is astounding. In Kierkegaard, the scriptural saying that "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb 11:6) takes on a deeper meaning than is typically articulated in most commentaries which reflect on the biblical chapter of Genesis 22. Kierkegaard penetrates deep into the words of Scripture, underneath the text, if you will; thus, he probes deeply into the psycho-spiritual dimension of the man Abraham and brings forth a fresh meaning to the text. Apart from the twentieth century misinterpretations and exploitations of Kierkegaardian thought, we must not discard his thinking as it applies to the religious sphere of existence. In Kierkegaard, Christianity is a religion of personal faith, not nominalistic assent, and Abraham is the paradigm of the "man of faith" who is prepared to intercommune with God on a deep and personal level, in a realm of subjectivity which denies entry to any other. Thus, as we come to the end of this essay, I think it is appropriate to finish with the words of the great philosopher himself, Soren Aabye Kierkegaard, who in his assessment of the biblical Abraham, defined him as a man who would forever become the father of the faithful:

"No! No one shall be forgotten who was great in this world; but everyone was great in his own way, and everyone in proportion to the greatness of what he 'loved.' For he who loved himself became great in himself, and he who loved others became great through his devotion, but he who loved God became greater than all. They shall all be remembered, but everyone became greater in proportion to his 'expectancy.' One became great through expecting the possible, another by expecting the eternal; but he who expected the impossible became greater than all. They shall all be remembered, but everyone was great in proportion to the magnitude of what he 'strove with.' For he who strove with the world became great in conquering the world, and he who strove with himself became greater by conquering himself; but he who strove with God became greater than all. Thus, there was strife in the world, man against man, one against thousands, but he who strove with God was greater than all . . . greater than all was Abraham."39

Notes and References

1. George Perkins, et al., eds. The American Tradition in Literature. 7th ed.
New York: McGraw, 1990, p. 245.

2. Kenneth Clark, Civilisation: A Personal View. New York: Harper, 1969, p. 293.

3. Michael Hamburger, ed. Beethoven: Letter, Journals, and Conversations.
New York: Thames and Hudson, 1951, p. 47.

4. Robert Bretall, ed. A Kierkegaard Anthology. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1946, p. xxi. *Though the term "ultimate concern" was utilized and later developed by the theologian Paul Tillich, the idea is throughly Kierkegaardian.

5. Walter Kaufmann, ed. Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre.
New York: Meridian, 1989, p. 11.

6. Antony Flew, ed. A Dictionary of Philosophy. "Existentialism"
New York: St Martin's Press, 1984, p. 115.

7. Soren Kierkegaard, Attack Upon Christendom, in Bretall, p. 446.

8. Kierkegaard, The Journals, in Bretall, p. 2.

9. Walter Lowrie, A Short Life of Kierkegaard. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1942, pp. 16ff.

10. Frederick G. Weiss, ed. Hegel: The Essential Writings, New York: Harper,
1974, p. 2.

11. Frederick Copleston, A History of Philosophy: From the Post-Kantian Idealists to Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Vol. 7 of 9. New York: Doubleday, 1965, p. 335.

12. Ibid., p. 335.

13. Lowrie, p. 116.

14. Copleston, p. 167.

15. Thomas Altizer, The Gospel of Christian Atheism. Philadelphia: Westminster,
1966, p. 66.

16. Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling. Trans. Alastair Hannay.
London: Penguin, 1985, p. 29.

17. Kierkegaard, The Point of View, in Bretall. pp. 330-31.

18. Kierkegaard, Training in Christianity, in Bretall, p. 396.

19. Kierkegaard, The Point of View, in Bretall, p. 332.

20. James Collins, The Existentialists. Chicago: Henry Regenry Co., 1952, p. 16.

21. Kierkegaard, The Point of View, in Bretall, p. 331.

22. Collins, p. 6.

23. Ibid., p. 6.

24. Copleston, p. 342.

25. Ibid., p. 342.

26. Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death, in Bretall, p. 346.

27. Plato, Apology. Trans. Benjamin Jowett New York: Modern Library, 1928, p. 75.

28. Copleston, p. 343.

29. Ibid., p. 343.

30. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, p. 139.

31. Copleston, p. 343.

32. James Collins, The Mind of Kierkegaard. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1983, p. 92.

33. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, p. 139.

34. Copleston, p. 334.

35. Collins, The Mind of Kierkegaard, p. 96.

36. Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, p. 75.

37. Ibid., p. 75.

38. Ibid., p. 65.

39. Ibid., p. 50.