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Kierkegaard's Writings, XVI: Works of Love: v. 16 Hardcover – 4 Jun 1995


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"The definitive edition of the Writings. The first volume . . . indicates the scholarly value of the entire series: an introduction setting the work in the context of Kierkegaard's development; a remarkably clear translation; and concluding sections of intelligent notes."--Library Journal


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If it were true-as conceited shrewdness, proud of not being deceived, thinks-that one should believe nothing which he cannot see by means of his physical eyes, then first and foremost one ought to give up believing in love. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9c896bac) out of 5 stars 21 reviews
109 of 118 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cad6228) out of 5 stars One of his best works 17 Feb. 2003
By Ross James Browne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
_Works of Love_ by Kierkegaard is the most uplifting, encouraging, and hope-restoring book I have ever read. Kierkegaard's statement that "the greatest act of love anyone can ever achieve is to mourn for someone who is dead" is a statement I have used to guide myself through innumerable existential crises and has given me hope in my darkest hours. The wisdom contained in this book is an essential tool in dealing with the premature and untimely death of a loved one, and restoring your hope and faith in God even in the face of tragedy. Kierkegaard's sense of empathy and morality is unsurpassed by any other philosopher living or dead, and I will also go so far as to call him a saint.
This book is also extremely well-written, well-translated, and readable. _Works of Love_ is living proof of the theory that inherently complicated and profound subject matter does not necessarily have to be extremely difficult to read. Kierkegaard's use of anecdotal situations and clear real-life examples to illustrate his theories make the book more readily understandable, and his writing style naturally lends itself to clear and accurate translation. Unlike many German philosophers of the same time period, Kierkegaard (from Denmark) does not lapse into highly personal, abstract, and inaccessable concepts, but instead focuses on more realistic and timeless problems that have plagued humanity since the dawn of sentience. While authors like Hegel and Schopenhauer are intellectually stimulating and mildly interesting, reading their works does not exactly make you happier, more hopeful, and more empathetically caring. You are often left with nothing but pie-in-the-sky theories regarding esoteric philosophical questions that are only marginally relevant to the everyday realities we experience. Kierkegaard, on the other hand, can greatly improve the quality of your life, and help you achieve a positive and non-hateful outlook.
Also keep in mind that this is easily Kierkegaard's most personal book, revealing the inner nature of his own spiritual beliefs. Unlike an author like Heidegger, who will ramble for 400 pages and never even bother to tell you if he believes in God or not, Kierkegaard is up front and honest with the reader, speaking directly to us. A true expert on Kierkegaard knows that he often wrote under pseudonyms, and playfully stepped into another character or alter-ego, lending an almost ficticious aspect to some of his philosophical works. In reading some of these pseudonymous books, a careful reader will observe that Kierkegaard often contradicts his real persona in subtle ways. It is easy to overlook his purposeful self-contradictions and alter-ego characterizations unless you compare these works with his more personal and truthful works, _Works of Love_ being the prime example.
Should you buy this book? YES!! I unconditionally recommend this book to anyone, anywhere. It is the perfect introduction to Kierkegaard; the one you should read first. It is also a recapitulation and summary of all of his most important concepts, so it could also be read last. But at some point you must read this book. The only type of person who would not appreciate this book is someone who has thoroughly convinced himself of the hopelessness, meaninglessness, and absurdity of existence; someone who has become completely disillusioned with God in response to tragedy, and believes knowledge can only beget sorrow. Most people with this kind of negative outlook are often anti-intellectuals anyway, and seldom read legitimate philosophical books anymore. But even if you are disillusioned with God and unable to comprehend tragedy, you still might want to read this book because it may provide the only way out of your depressing predicament. _Works of Love_ is a shining beacon of hope in an often violent, tragic, and chaotic universe, and is one of the few books ever written that is sophisticated and credible enough to pull even the most die-hard sceptic out of the despair of hopelessness.
46 of 49 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cba9414) out of 5 stars Kierkegaard's Phaedrus 28 Feb. 2000
By J. C. Woods - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If I have to compare this book to any other, I would compare it to Plato's Phaedrus. In Phaedrus, Socrates talks to Phaedrus of how to speak of love authentically, i.e. to speak of love in such a way that the speaking itself is an act of love. The problem is that we are never brought into connection with Socrates' speech. It is always about Phaedrus and we are eavesdroppers and therefore similtaneously included and excluded from what is said. As Plato put it, the written word is a pharmakon (drug, medicine, poison), it cannot speak authentically of love. This is the philosophical point of Works of Love. In it, Kierkegaard attempts to speak authentically of love. This is why the book is published on his own name and there are no pseudonyms. He is writing directly to the reader who is his beloved. He, however, must redefine the terms of the discourse. Since Eros is a love of beauty and he cannot see the reader's beauty, he speaks instead of Agape (in danish Kjerlighed, i.e. Christian love), or love of neighbor. In this way whoever reads the book becomes his beloved, to whom the discourse is aimed. In this way he attempts to get past Plato's empasse. I think he suceeds.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cad881c) out of 5 stars The Core Work of Kierkegaard - Must Read 19 May 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Whatever you may think about Soren's views, this book is the pinnacle of his work. The first part of the book clarifies the meaning of true Godly love, to love your neighbor. Each page is riveting and triggers new understanding about truly loving another not romantically or out of worldiness, but out of Godliness.
A must read for Christians and for others interested in understanding Kierkegaardian philosphy.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cbea51c) out of 5 stars Prophetic and inspired! Kierkegaard at his best! 19 Jan. 2000
By John Parsons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Soren Kierkegaard at his best! Works of Love is perhaps his consummate work regarding the centrality of an "ethics of love," and provides the best introduction to the thought and passion of this writer.
The book is organized around the theme of becoming a true lover. SK normally cites a particular Biblical passage regarding love (i.e., "Love hides a multitude of sins") and then profoundly explores the implications of the passage for the reader's life. Often the contrast with "erotic" and "platonic" love (i.e. the poetic) is made to demonstrate how radical the call of Christian love really is.
Hauntingly powerful and soul-stopping: if you decide to read only one book by Kierkegaard, this is the one I'd recommend.
The Hong's translation is excellent, and scholarly end notes are provided.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9cdb566c) out of 5 stars How to be a Christian in more than name only 9 July 2008
By Gerad W. Arcuri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here it is. How to apply the love of God, as taught to us by Jesus, in the reality of daily life. No fancy formulas here, no clever platitudes, just the truth. A tremendous reconcilitation of the supposed contradiction between works and faith as the basis of salvation, Kierkegaard shows that in fact the letter to the Galatians explains that the essence of Christianity's message is faith, working through love. Hence, "Works of Love". This is Kierkegaards' magnum opus. Not for the faint of heart nor anyone looking for an easy answer, yet amazingly simple and honest. Completely vindicates Soren Kierkegaard from the charge by narrow traditionalists ( most of whom have never read anything he wrote ) that he was not a genuine Christian, perhaps not even a Christian at all. If you wish to follow Christ, follow Kierkegaard. He is a trustworthy guide.
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