Søren Kierkegaard

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Søren Kierkegaard around 1840 Kierkegaard sig.png

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard ( pronunciation ? / I [ˈsœːɔn ˈkʰiɔ̯g̊əˌg̊ɔːˀ] , born May 5, 1813 in Copenhagen , † November 11, 1855 ibid) was a Danish philosopher , essayist , theologian and religious writer . Audio file / audio sample

In his writings, mostly published under pseudonyms , he showed himself to be a committed advocate of the idea of Christianity against the reality of Christianity. About a third of his printed work also consists of sermons and religious speeches published under his own name . Kierkegaard is also often seen as a pioneer of existential philosophy or even as its first representative.

Kierkegaard is considered the leading Danish philosopher and also an important prose stylist. He is one of the most important representatives of Denmark's Golden Age .


Kierkegaard's life is poor in external events, but rich in internal conflicts. His life as well as his intellectual work took place almost exclusively in the microcosm of the capital Copenhagen, which at that time had hardly more than 100,000 inhabitants who lived tightly packed within the city walls. Throughout his life, Kierkegaard was a deeply religious person, seeing himself in the footsteps of Christ, always introspective, internally torn by spiritual conflicts that were reflected in his extensive diary entries. Overall, the image of a melancholy, deeply melancholy person emerges. Kierkegaard broke off his engagement to Regine Olsen for religious reasons and never married. He hardly noticed the Schleswig-Holstein war . Kierkegaard was a great lover of opera and a frequent visitor to the famous Royal Theater , but otherwise appears to have had little interest in art. He enjoyed a comprehensive humanistic education and was familiar with the works of Greco-Roman antiquity, but also with modern European writers and European - especially German - philosophy.

Early years

Søren Kierkegaard was the son of the merchant Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard (1756-1838). His father - coming from the poorest Jutian peasant families - had become wealthy in Copenhagen through the wool trade. His mother, Ane Sørensdatter Lund Kierkegaard (1768–1834), was Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard's second wife and served as a maid in the father's household before the marriage. Kierkegaard was the last of seven children; the father was 57 years old at the time of his birth. Kierkegaard's older brother was the theologian, Bishop of Aalborg and politician Peter Christian Kierkegaard (1805-1888).

Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard's father was an intelligent, educated and strictly religious person who is described as withdrawn, brooding and also melancholy. While the father exerted a great influence on the mental and spiritual development of Kierkegaard, the role of Ane Lund Kierkegaard, who had no higher education, was limited to that of the caring mother. Many well-known Copenhagen personalities frequented the Kierkegaards' house, which was in a prime location on Nytorv, one of Copenhagen's central squares, including the Bishop of Zealand, Jacob Peter Mynster .

Of the seven children of the Kierkegaard couple, all three daughters and two sons died by 1835, so that only Søren and Peter Christian survived their father. In 1834, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard's wife, twelve years his junior, also died. These blows of fate solidified the belief in Kierkegaard's father that God would punish him for past sins. Since none of the deceased children were older than 33, the father believed that the two sons still alive would also die early and that he would survive them (which did not happen). The title of Kierkegaard's first paper Papiere eines survivors (Af en endnu Levendes Papirer) , published in 1838, the year his father died, can only be understood against this background. The death of the siblings as well as the father's religious conviction that all his children would survive left a lasting mark on Kierkegaard. In his notes, Kierkegaard describes the death of his father - the most important person in his life alongside Regine Olsen - as a "great earthquake" and a "terrible upheaval". Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard left his son an inheritance of 30,000 Reichstalers. It secured Kierkegaard's economic existence and relieved him of the need to make a living himself until the end of his life. Kierkegaard left his father's house on Nytorv, where he had lived with short interruptions until his father's death, and went to live in his own apartment in Copenhagen, where he lived alone with his servant Anders, assisted in his work by a secretary.

Kierkegaard graduated from the Borgerdydskole (today: Østre Borgerdyd Gymnasium). In 1830 he started at the University of Copenhagen to study philosophy u. a. with Poul Martin Møller and Protestant theology . For a long time Kierkegaard did not take his studies very seriously and preferred to indulge in amusements.

The student often went to the fishing village of Gilleleje on the north coast of Zealand to relax . His brother Peter Christian hoped that Søren would devote himself to his studies in the remote place. Although he spent most of his time there on excursions, on August 1, 1835, the 22-year-old Kierkegaard wrote one of his diary entries most frequently cited by posterity in Gilleleje: “It is important to understand my destiny, to see what God really wants me to do it; a truth has to be found, the truth for me is to find the idea for which I want to live and die. ” Many consider Gilleleje's diary entry to be the beginning of existential philosophy, since from the moment of Gilleleje's knowledge“ the writer Sören Kierkegaard should emerge, who in the exclusive interest of this available self left behind a grandiose production of writings in which he deepened all the detours of his life with texts. "

But it was not until his father's constant admonitions and finally his death that Kierkegaard seriously continued his studies at the end of the 1830s. He completed his studies in 1840 with the theological state examination as a candidate in theology. In 1841 he obtained his master's degree with a dissertation on the concept of irony with a constant focus on Socrates (Om Begrebet Ironi med stadigt Hensyn til Socrates) .

After Kierkegaard had left the university as a master's degree, he went on a kind of pilgrimage to Jutland near Ringkøbing , where his father had spent his childhood, in 1841 . This place played an important role for the Kierkegaard family. According to his father's reports, as a child he had once cursed God for his own poverty, hunger and other hardships while looking after sheep. For the deeply religious father this was a mistake that he could not let go of and that he may have blamed in part for the strokes of fate suffered in old age.

Regine Olsen

Regine Olsen 1840

In the spring of 1837, Kierkegaard first met the then 14-year-old Regine Olsen (1822–1904). Despite the ten-year age difference, both felt strongly drawn to each other. In the following years Kierkegaard was a frequent guest in the house of the Olsen family, whereby both developed an ever closer relationship. In September 1840 Kierkegaard became engaged to Regine. But just a few days after the engagement, Kierkegaard began to have doubts about his ability to make Regine happy. Over time, these grew into despair and inner turmoil. Years later, Kierkegaard wrote that he had "suffered indescribably" during that time. In August 1841, Kierkegaard ended the engagement with a letter to Regine, with which he enclosed the engagement ring. In his notes, Kierkegaard names his melancholy and his past life (vita ante acta) as reasons for breaking the engagement. The second reason can only be understood in the context of Kierkegaard's deep introspective religiosity and his own deep sinfulness assumed by him. Furthermore, Kierkegaard appears to have viewed a marriage as conflicting with its religious purpose.

After breaking up with Regine, Kierkegaard apparently never tried to approach a woman again. When Regine married the lawyer, high official and later governor of the Danish West Indies , Johan Frederik Schlegel, in 1843, two years after the end of the engagement to Kierkegaard, it was a heavy blow for Kierkegaard, since he had probably assumed Regine neither will he enter into a relationship again.

Regine Olsen's importance for Kierkegaard's work can hardly be overestimated. It is possible that many of his writings would not have been created or not in this form without this formative episode. This applies in particular to the work Stadien auf dem Lebensweg ( Danish Stadier på livets vej ), published in 1845 , in which he used his relationship with Regine and her later “unfaithfulness”, as which he viewed the marriage to Schlegel, as a literary model. Regine Olsen, who only died in 1904, was well aware of her own importance for Kierkegaard's work. She followed Kierkegaard's fame and reception in Denmark, Germany and other countries with great interest and later also worked willingly with biographers.

Berlin and the repetition

In October 1841, about two months after the break with Regine, Kierkegaard traveled to Berlin , where he took up quarters near the Gendarmenmarkt . He mainly attended lectures at Schelling and was already working on his first work Enten - Eller , which was published in Germany under the title Entweder - Oder . Disappointed by Schelling, he returned to the Danish capital at the beginning of March 1842. In 1843 he went to Berlin again for a few months, where he moved into the same quarters on Gendarmenmarkt whose landlord was fondly remembered. The journey and the old quarters represented a repetition for Kierkegaard. Exactly this, Die repetition , is also the title of a book on which he was working at this time and in which this second trip to Berlin is also used literarily, albeit the real repetition According to Kierkegaard, it cannot take place in reality, but only through the power of faith, which makes everything possible (such as getting Regine back).

Kierkegaard as a poet, philosopher and churchman



Kierkegaard's works, with the exception of the papers of a survivor , his dissertation and posthumously published writings, all appeared in the years 1843 to 1855. In addition to long walks, regular visits to church services and visits to the Royal Theater at Kongens Nytorv , Kierkegaard is likely to be in this creative period that lasts until End of life, who spent most of his time working on his works for the public as well as writing diary entries. Kierkegaard spent these years in extensive isolation, both socially and intellectually. Kierkegaard had all of his works printed at his own expense, so that he was completely independent of publishers.

Kierkegaard's work can be roughly divided into poetic-philosophical and religious writings. The former were written under changing, but sometimes recurring and related pseudonyms. Their use was less to cover up the authorship - which was quickly revealed in Copenhagen - than to show a certain inner distance from the works, which did not necessarily express one's own convictions. On the other hand, such a separation between author and work could not exist for Kierkegaard as an author of religious writings and a fighter for “true Christianity”. Kierkegaard consequently published these writings under his own name. While in the first years of creation pseudonymous works predominated, which can be assigned more to the poet and philosopher Kierkegaard, in the later years Kierkegaard mainly devoted his strength to the writing of directly religious writings. In addition to books he published himself, Kierkegaard has also written numerous newspaper articles and in the last months of his life published the magazine Der Moment . Mention should also be made of his very extensive diary entries, which were published posthumously as part of his oeuvre.

Creative eruption (1843–1846)

Kierkegaard published most of his main works between 1843 and 1846. In 1843 Kierkegaard published under the pseudonym Victor Eremita Either - Or (ducks - Eller), which made him well known. In this work, Kierkegaard describes two stages: the aesthetic and the ethical, whereby the final part, which has the form of a sermon, already leads to the third religious stage, which has not yet been dealt with in the work.

Also in 1843 appeared fear and trembling ( Danish Frygt og Bæven ) and, on the same day, the repetition (Danish Gjentagelsen ) under the pseudonyms John de Silentio or Constantin Constantius. Fear and trembling, written in lyrical prose, but not without humor and irony, is at its core a meditation on the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac . In this writing, Kierkegaard affirms that man, by stepping out of the ethical sphere and into the religious sphere, stands higher than the individual than the general, i.e. the ethical, and owes obedience only to God. Abraham's intention to sacrifice Isaac on God's command is therefore expressly approved, even if Abraham thereby disregarded ethics. At the same time it is stated that by virtue of belief (i.e. by virtue of the absurd) everything is possible.

In 1844 the two writings Philosophische Brocken (Filosofiske Smuler) by Johannes Climacus and The Concept Anxiety (Begrebet Angest) by Vigilius Haufniensis were published just four days apart.

In 1845 the stages on the path of life (Stadier paa Livets Vei) appeared under the pseudonym Hilarius Buchbinder.

In 1846 the final unscientific postscript (Afsluttende uvidenskabelig Efterskrift) appeared , like the "Brocken" itself, written under the pseudonym Johannes Climacus. Contrary to what the title suggests, the "postscript" is about six times as large as the "Brocken" itself.

With the “postscript”, the first phase in Kierkegaard's work can be viewed as completed. All major philosophical works and, with a few exceptions, all pseudonymous writings were published between 1843 and 1846. Kierkegaard now considered looking for a pastor's position. At first, however, the famous feud with the satirical newspaper Corsaren caught his attention.

The Corsairs Affair

Caricature from the Corsairs , 1847

Apart from his debut work either - oder , which was received positively by the critics, Kierkegaard's works largely met with incomprehension among his contemporaries. One of his critics was PL Möller, who wrote articles for the satirical magazine Corsaren (The Corsair) published by Meïr Aron Goldschmidt . At the end of 1845, Kierkegaard sharply attacked PL Möller in a newspaper article and ironically complained that he had been spared by the Corsair - who had initially been favored by him. What followed then went down in Danish intellectual history as the Corsair affair. Goldschmidt retaliated for the attack by publishing satirical texts and caricatures in which Kierkegaard was portrayed very unfavorably. As a child he suffered a spinal injury that healed poorly and was recognizable as a hump. This was overemphasized in the drawings. Soon he was mocked on the street in Copenhagen by school boys, students and others. As his notes show, Kierkegaard was shocked by the attacks on his person and was reinforced in his already pessimistic view of man. At the same time, Kierkegaard saw himself more and more in the role of a martyr who stands alone against the world.

Second part of the authorship (1847-1851)

In 1847 the work Taten der Liebe (Kjerlighedens Gjerninger) appeared , which deals with the problem of charity and the question of how the love that Christ has revealed can find expression in every single action. In addition, in 1847 and 1848 Edifying Speeches in Different Spirit and Christian Speeches appeared .

The revolution of 1848 was a historic turning point in Denmark too. Kierkegaard, who was generally not interested in politics or historical events, had nothing but contempt for the revolution, as he generally distrusted democratic aspirations. The revolution also had personal consequences for Kierkegaard, as the assets in which his legacy was invested fell sharply in value. Kierkegaard, who despised economic activities (and could afford to do so), had made no effort to increase his inherited fortune or at least to preserve the substance. He had always lived on a large scale and had no income of his own - not even from his books. Kierkegaard's last years were therefore increasingly marked by financial worries - a completely new experience for him.

Manuscript of The Illness to Death

In the years 1849 and 1850 his last two great writings appeared, for which he chose the pseudonym Anti-Climacus, who writes from a Christian position: The disease to death (Sygdommen. ) In contrast to the decidedly non- Christian Climacus der Philosophischen Brocken til Døden) and practicing Christianity (Indøvelse i Christendom) . In Illness to Death , Kierkegaard formulates his image of man from a Christian perspective: according to this, man is in a dialectical relationship between two conflicting sides. On the one hand there is the necessities of daily life as a mortal, flawed being, which is always in danger of the annoyance of despair and thus - according to Kierkegaard - of damnation. The other side is the possibility of eternal bliss.

In the exercise , which dogmatically ties in with illness leading to death , Kierkegaard presents his view of the true Christian faith, according to which the condition for it is to follow the example of Jesus Christ without ifs or buts. However, Kierkegaard is less interested in Jesus as a moral model than in the suffering of Christ. True Christianity can only find expression in personal suffering. Here the attack on the established, triumphant church is already indicated, which Kierkegaard contrasts with the true, fighting church, and which finally culminated in Kierkegaard's church storm.

His last book was published in 1851: For self-examination, recommended for the present . With that, Kierkegaard had essentially exhausted his ideas. His literary production, intended for the public, almost came to a standstill in the last five years of his life, but the volume of diary entries increased sharply.

Church storm

Kierkegaard's last years are characterized by increasing religious “radicalization”. The “official”, moderate, bourgeois Christianity of the Danish state church was less and less able to meet its increasing demands on “true” Christianity. Kierkegaard screwed up the conditions that a person had to meet in order to be able to call himself a Christian from his point of view, so that they finally became practically impossible to achieve and would have deprived every organized church of the foundations.

On a personal level, this radicalization is expressed in particular in a radical change in his internal relationship with Bishop Jacob Peter Mynster , who represented the Danish state church and whom he originally admired and even revered. However, as Kierkegaard's demands on a true Christian increased, his admiration for Mynster waned, who - following his example, Goethe - rejected any exaggeration and advocated a harmonious, "bourgeois" Christianity that was open to everyone. Bishop Mynster died in early 1854. The theology professor Hans Lassen Martensen - whose speculative theology Kierkegaard had long rubbed against - called the great bishop, who had determined the fate of the Danish church for so long, a " witness to the truth" (sandhedsvidne) at the funeral .

At the end of 1854 Kierkegaard published an article in the newspaper Fædrelandet , which had already served as a platform for the attack on PL Möller and Goldschmidt, with the following polemical headline: “Was Bishop Mynster a witness to the truth, one of the real witnesses of the truth - this is the truth ? ”From Kierkegaard's point of view, the answer could only be no! ring. The article, in which he broke his silence for the first time in almost four years, was the prelude to Kierkegaard's "Church Storm", his last intellectual and religious riot. In the months that followed, Kierkegaard published a large number of other articles in Fædrelandet , in which he attacked the Danish Church ever more sharply. From May 1855 he began to publish the magazine Der moment (Øjeblikket) , of which ten issues appeared.

Kierkegaard's grave in Copenhagen

The aggressiveness of the attacks against the church and its demands on the true Christian people escalated in these last writings. He accuses the official church of not representing Christianity, but of effectively preventing it. Official Christianity and its rites are a forgery, a lie, a comedy. Kierkegaard indicates that this struggle against the church should be viewed as his real work and that his earlier writings should only be viewed as preparatory tactical maneuvers, which primarily served the purpose of establishing him as a serious theologian to be listened to.


On October 2, 1855, Kierkegaard suffered a stroke on the street and collapsed. He came to Frederiks Hospital in Copenhagen. There he died, refusing communion, on November 11, 1855 at around 9 p.m. at the age of 42.

Kierkegaard is buried in the assistance cemetery in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen , where Regine and Frederik Schlegel's grave is also located. On his gravestone is the text of the hymn Det er en liden tid (German: For a short time) by Hans Adolph Brorson .


It is difficult to describe Kierkegaard's thinking in sentences, because what he wanted to emphasize was precisely that truth could not be taught in sentences, but was a movement of man in time . His categories “ moment ”, “repetition” and “jump” as well as his pseudonymous, provocative and paradoxical style belong in this context . The essential thing about Christianity for him was that the truth had come in time (in Christ) and that man could only have a relationship with him by becoming him at the same time. Everything else is chatter. Kierkegaard shows himself to be a philosophical as well as theological or religious thinker who regards philosophy as a means of rethinking Christian faith, rejecting any kind of speculative philosophy in the spirit of Hegel (see also Dialectical suspension ) because it is presumptuous To adequately think, understand and thus grasp “objective” truth that lies outside of the human being. In addition to the sharp rejection of Hegel and other representatives of idealism , Kierkegaard's thinking is characterized, especially in his later years, by a strict demarcation from official Christianity.

For Kierkegaard there are three types, three states, three spheres, three stages of human existence :

Aesthetic stage

At the most original stage, the aesthetic stage, man lives entirely in the immediacy of sensual sensation, which is the motive and goal of his actions. He exists completely unreflected, without being clear about himself. Hence a latent despair, in that the person feels that he is not himself, but remains trapped in externalities. Man has not yet recognized himself as a self that not only exists purely immanently, but also transcendently, in that man consciously places himself in a relationship to the factual relationship that exists between body and mind . Man is desperate here because he is not at peace with himself.

The means that man now serves to recognize his desperate state is irony . By behaving ironically, that is, distant, to himself, he gains an elevated point of view from which he recognizes his despair and now tries to overcome it. Thereby he reaches the second stage.

Ethical stage

The ethical stage: Man recognizes himself as an immanent as well as a transcendent being, in that he is now reflecting on the relationship between body and mind and becomes aware of it. He is now behaving sensibly and recognizing his responsibility to himself and the world. In this way, however, he realizes that, as a purely immanent being, he is unable to establish the transcendent part of his being that cannot come from the world. He does not find the foundation of his being as a spiritual self that is not subject to the causality of the world in himself. Rather, he is faced with an infinite, absolute unknown, God , who is the cause of infinity and freedom of man. If man does not place himself in a relationship to his true ground, to God, but wants to exist out of himself, he again contradicts his true nature by desperately wanting to be himself, or else he denies himself as well as transcendent self, in that he desperately does not want to be himself, and both lead him back into the despair which is the basic mood of his life.

In his dissertation on the concept of irony with constant reference to Socrates , Kierkegaard writes: “Humor contains a much deeper skepticism than irony. […] His skepticism […] also contains a far deeper positivity […] he does not find peace in making people into people, but rather in making people into God-people. ”This already sounds like another function of the Humor, it creates a connection between the finite and the infinite. But humor is by no means true religion, but only the last intermediate stage before belief. It is the means of making the leap from the ethical to the religious stage.

Religious stage

The religious stage: Here now man accepts his being posited by God and his existence before God. He sees himself as a self, which only exists from God as the infinite. Therefore, the goal of the religious person is to enter into an existential relationship with God. This can only be done in faith. God as the Absolute is not subject to the causality of the world and therefore, as the unknown, eludes the human understanding, he can not be rationally known . The belief therefore urges as a condition the "Crucifixion of mind". The mind is not entirely unnecessary, but serves as a corrective to faith, in that unreasonable things cannot be believed, and it is a prerequisite for self-reflection, without which the ascent in the stages cannot be achieved. He therefore plays a major and indispensable role for Kierkegaard. But since the understanding is finite and uses purely immanent means, intellectual knowledge of God is absolutely impossible. At this point, the non-recognizability of God by the human mind, there are close parallels to negative theology , especially to Nicholas of Cues , Bonaventure of Bagnoregio and Augustine . Because it is not recognizable, every talk about God must remain negative, apophatic ; positive, descriptive statements are at best indicative, helpful, but must always be aware of their inadequacy. This is the failure of the mind that man must become aware of. Once he has recognized this, only the path into faith is open, which can emerge from this knowledge of one's own limitations. In faith man dares to take the leap away from intellect towards what is actually impossible. Faith is only possible because God made himself known in Christ . Since man is not able to arrive at God rationally, God had to reveal himself by being man and God at the same time, thus setting up the paradox that the timeless in time, the transcendent in immanence , the infinite in the finitude existed. This paradox is incompatible with humans. Up to this point, this line of thought has largely been mapped out in the tradition of Protestant theology since Martin Luther . Therefore, in contrast, there is only the leap into faith. Since the existential behavior towards God can only happen momentarily and the human being falls back again and again into his own existence, thereby again losing sight of his transcendent ground of being and thus again shifting the right order of his self, he is held to make this leap into the To believe over and over again and to "repeat" the moment of faith. Only in this moment of belief is the self in the right relationship to itself and to its reason for existence and therefore momentarily exists without despair.

Existential philosophy

Existential philosophy receives its special value from its precise observation of the human being in his humanity, how the human being in this world and other people presents himself, to see what philosophy has always had at the center of its endeavors: the way to truth. Whether she argues phenomenologically or, like Kierkegaard, is looking for a different approach - the focus is on the human being with his determining states such as fear, love, worry as an authentic being who does not find himself as a fixed being, but as a responsible, free and self-designing being understands.

The basic ideas of modern existential philosophy were born long before Kierkegaard, the French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) anticipated in his collection of essays Pensées (thoughts) what would later become existential philosophy. He writes of the misery and forlornness of people in life and asks the question whether there is even the possibility of becoming happy and living carefree without constantly having to live in fear of death, hardship and misery. These "thoughts" are later taken up by all the important existential philosophers and they work on them individually.

Reception history

Søren Kierkegaard sculpture by Louis Hasselriis in the courtyard of the Danish Royal Library in Copenhagen

Kierkegaard quickly gained notoriety from the beginning / middle of the 1840s, but this was essentially limited to Denmark, mostly to Copenhagen. At the time of his death, Kierkegaard was practically unknown outside of his homeland. While Kierkegaard was definitely present in the Danish church and theology in the years after his death, his reception abroad did not begin until the end of the 19th century. The Danish scholar Georg Brandes played a key role in the reception of Kierkegaard , who published in both Danish and German and made Kierkegaard known to the German public with the book Sören Kierkegaard - A literary character picture, published in Leipzig in 1879 . This created the basis for a broader reception of Kierkegaard outside of Scandinavia. Brandes also introduced Nietzsche to Kierkegaard's ideas, where he - following Nietzsche's interests - introduced Kierkegaard as an eminent psychological writer. At the beginning of the 20th century, Kierkegaard's main works and his diaries were gradually translated into German; the first academic translations into English did not follow until the 1930s. Today the collected works of Kierkegaard are available in all major languages.

From the 1920s, the reception of representatives of dialectical theology such as Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann began in Germany . Kierkegaard is mentioned a few times in Heidegger's Being and Time (1927), but his influence on Heidegger is much greater than the few explicit references suggest. Karl Jaspers' thinking is heavily influenced by Kierkegaard. His influence was also considerable on Dietrich Bonhoeffer , and he frequently quotes him as his successor .

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America commemorates Kierkegaard with a memorial day on November 11th.


Ducks - Eller , under the pseudonym Victor Eremita

(The fonts in italics were published by Kierkegaard under various pseudonyms.)

  • About the concept of irony. With constant consideration for Socrates (Master's thesis 1841)
  • Either - Or I / II (1843) ( E-Text )
  • Diary of the Seducer (1843)
  • Two edifying speeches (1843)
  • The Repetition (1843)
  • Fear and trembling (1843)
  • Three edifying speeches (1843)
  • Four edifying speeches (1843)
  • Two edifying speeches (1844)
  • Three edifying speeches (1844)
  • Philosophical Broken (1844)
  • The term fear (1844)
  • Preamble (1844)
  • Four edifying speeches (1844)
  • Three Speeches on Occasions (1845)
  • Stages of Life (1845)
  • Final unscientific postscript to the Philosophical Brocken (1846)
  • A literary advertisement (1846)
  • Uplifting Speeches in Different Minds (1847)
  • The acts of love. Several Christian considerations in the form of speeches (1847)
  • Christian speeches (1848)
  • The crisis and a crisis in the life of an actress (1848)
  • The lily in the field and the bird under the sky. Three pious speeches (1849)
  • Two little ethical-religious treatises (1849)
  • The Sickness to Death (1849)
  • The high priest - the tax collector - the sinner. Three speeches at the altar on Friday (1849)
  • Practicing Christianity, 1. Edition (1850)
  • An edifying speech (1850)
  • About my effectiveness as a writer (1851), online
  • Two speeches at the altar on Friday (1851)
  • Committed to self-examination of the present (1851)
  • Practice in Christianity, 2nd edition. (1855)
  • The moment (1855), German edition, Nördlingen: Greno 1988, ISBN 978-3-89190-248-6 , series Die Other Bibliothek
  • God's immutability. A speech (1855)
  • Religion of Action (Ed. 1930)
  • The concept of fear. Philosophical bites. The sickness to death. Meiner, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-7873-1727-9
  • The repetition. Edited by Hans Rochol. Meiner, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-7873-1375-3


  • Theodor W. Adorno : Kierkegaard. Construction of the aesthetic. 2nd Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1986, ISBN 3-518-27674-3 .
  • Heinrich Anz, Niels Jørgen Cappelørn, Hermann Deuser, Heiko Schulz (eds.): German Søren Kierkegaard Edition. In: Collaboration with the Søren Kierkegaard Research Center, Copenhagen. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-11-016977-0 .
  • Albert Bärthold (1804-1896): Twelve speeches by Søren Kierkegaard . Hall 1886, online
  • Max Bense : Hegel and Kierkegaard. A principal investigation. Staufen, Cologne / Krefeld 1948.
  • Michael Bösch : Søren Kierkegaard: Fate - Fear - Freedom. Schöningh, Paderborn / Munich / Vienna / Zurich 1994, ISBN 3-506-70197-5 .
  • Anton Bösl: Unfreedom and self-failure. Søren Kierkegaard's existential definition of guilt and sin. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau / Basel / Vienna 1997, ISBN 3-451-26408-0 .
  • Georg Brandes : Sören Kierkegaard. A critical account. Reclam, Leipzig 1992.
  • Frithiof Brandt: Sören Kierkegaard 1813–1855. His life, his works. Det Danske Selskab, Copenhagen 1963.
  • Clare Carlisle: Philosopher of the heart: the restless life of Søren Kierkegaard. [London]: Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2019, ISBN 978-0-241-28358-5 .
  • Jan Cattepoel: Demonia and Society. Sören Kierkegaard as a social critic and communication theorist. Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau 1992.
  • Walter Dietz: Sören Kierkegaard - Existence and Freedom. Anton Hain, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-445-09248-6 .
  • Walter Dietz: Sören Kierkegaard's examination of dying and death. In: International journal for philosophy and psychosomatics. Vol. 4 (2012), no. 1 (PDF)
  • Jörg Disse : Kierkegaard's phenomenology of the experience of freedom. Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau 1991, ISBN 3-495-47715-2 .
  • Mark Dooley : The Politics of Exodus. Kierkegaard's Ethics of Responsibility. Fordham, 2001.
  • Helmut Fahrenbach : Kierkegaard's existential dialectic ethics. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1968.
  • Helmut Fahrenbach: Existential philosophy and ethics. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1970.
  • Joakim Garff: Kierkegaard. Hanser, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-446-20479-2 .
  • Wilfried Greve: Kierkegaard's maieutic ethics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1990, ISBN 3-518-58016-7 .
  • Romano Guardini : On the sense of sadness. The starting point of Sören Kierkegaard's thought movement. Matthias Grünewald Verlag, Mainz 1983, ISBN 3-7867-1073-2 .
  • Albrecht Haizmann: Indirect homiletics - Kierkegaard's preaching teaching in his speeches. EVA, Leipzig 2006.
  • Harald Høffding : Sören Kierkegaard as a philosopher . Stuttgart 1896 ( online )
  • Bruce H. Kirmmse: Encounters With Kierkegaard: A Life As Seen by His Contemporaries. 3. Edition. Princeton University Press, 1998, ISBN 0-691-05894-6 .
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Korff : The funny Kierkegaard. Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 1982.
  • Konrad Paul Liessmann : Sören Kierkegaard for an introduction. 5th edition. Junius, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-88506-625-5 .
  • Odo Marquard : The individual. Lectures on existential philosophy. (= Reclams Universal Library . No. 19086). Edited by Franz Joseph Wetz. Reclam, Stuttgart 2013.
  • Walter Nigg : Sören Kierkegaard. Poet, penitent and thinker. Diogenes, Zurich 2002, ISBN 3-257-23316-7 (first time: Zurich: Artemis, 1957).
  • Annemarie Pieper : Søren Kierkegaard. Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-41956-9 .
  • Gerd Presler: Kierkegaard and Bishop Mynster. Confrontation between two theologies, inaugural dissertation at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster 1969,
  • Walther Rehm : Kierkegaard and the seducer. Rinn, Munich 1949.
  • Peter P. Rohde: Sören Kierkegaard in personal reports and photo documents. Reclam, Reinbek 1959.
  • Walter Ruttenbeck: Sören Kierkegaard. The Christian thinker and his work. Berlin 1929; Reprint: Aalen: Scientia, 1979, ISBN 3-511-04295-X .
  • Leo Isaakowitsch Schestow : Kierkegaard et la philosophie existential. Vox clamantis in deserto. Ed. Les Amis de Léon Chestov et Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, Paris 1936, German: Kierkegaard and the existential philosophy. Graz 1949.
  • Heiko Schulz:  Kierkegaard, Soren Aabye. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 3, Bautz, Herzberg 1992, ISBN 3-88309-035-2 , Sp. 1466-1469.
  • Alfred Otto Schwede : The Kierkegaards: History of a Copenhagen knitwear dealer family, in particular a father and his later world-famous son Sören , EVA, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-374-00514-4 .
  • Michael Theunissen , Wilfried Greve (Ed.): Materials on the philosophy of Kierkegaards (= Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft. Volume 241). Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-518-07841-0 .
  • Michael Theunissen : The term "Ernst" in Sören Kierkegaard (= symposium . Volume 1). Alber, Freiburg / Munich 1958.
  • Klaus Viertbauer: God at the bottom of consciousness? Sketches of a pre-reflective interpretation of Kierkegaard's self (= ratio fidei 61). Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2017, ISBN 978-3-7917-2888-9 .
  • Sophie Wennerscheid: The desire for the wound. Religion and eroticism in Kierkegaard's writing. Matthes & Seitz, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-88221-717-9 .
  • Tilo Wesche: Kierkegaard. A philosophical introduction Reclam, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-15-018260-3 .


  • Kierkegaard - Dangerous thoughts. Documentary and scenic documentation, Germany, 2013, 58 min., Script and director: Wilfried Hauke, narrator: Axel Milberg , production: dmfilm, Danmarks Radio TV, arte , rbb , first broadcast: December 11, 2013 on arte, summary by 3sat.

Web links

Commons : Søren Kierkegaard  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Søren Kierkegaard  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. a b c Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p. 17.
  2. Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, pp. 37-42.
  3. ^ Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p. 44.
  4. ^ Hermann Schmid: Sören Kierkegaard. Lived writing . edition stadthaus, Volume 14, Ulm 2013, ISBN 978-3-934727-34-2 , p. 10 ff .
  5. ↑ In detail: Kirmmse, Bruce H .: Encounters With Kierkegaard: A Life As Seen by His Contemporaries, 3rd edition. Princeton University Press, 1998, pp. 33-35.
  6. Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p. 53.
  7. A formative experience may have been a visit to a brothel in 1836, which in retrospect caused horror in Kierkegaard. See Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p. 36.
  8. see also “The Repetition” - translated by Hans Rochol until 2000 ; Author Sören Kierkegaard ; ISBN 3-7873-1375-3 .
  9. Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p. 92.
  10. Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, pp. 118-120.
  11. a b Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, p. 139.
  12. Peter B. Rohde: Kierkegaard, Rowohlt 1998, pp. 1388-1390.
  13. ^ The Influence of Kierkegaard on Bonhoeffer's Concept of Discipleship. Retrieved October 10, 2017 .
  14. ^ Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Succession . 2nd Edition. Chr. Kaiser / Gütersloher Verlagshaus GmbH, Gütersloh 2005, ISBN 3-579-00455-7 , register, p. 368 : "Kirkegaard, Søren 23, 34, 35, 37, 38, 40, 47, 50, 60, 69, 73, 87, 92, 140, 147, 260, 319 "
  15. ^ Søren Kierkegaard in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints