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Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard [Paperback]

Soren Kierkegaard , Charles Moore
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 1999
Provocations contains a little of everything from Kierkegaard's prodigious output: his famously cantankerous (yet wryly humorous) attacks on what he calls the ''mediocre shell'' of conventional Christianity, his brilliantly pithy parables, his wise (and witty) sayings. Most significantly, it brings to a new generation a man whose writings pare away the fluff of modern spirituality to reveal the basics of the Christ-centered life: decisiveness, obedience, and recognition of the truth.

Product details

  • Paperback: 430 pages
  • Publisher: Plough Publishing House (1 July 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874869811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874869811
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 14.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,528,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Philip Yancey Kierkegaard has taught me, moved me, perplexed me, and always provoked my thinking in new directions. I'm delighted to see his work in such an accessible form. Eugene Peterson, author, Subversive Spirituality In a culture awash in religious silliness, Kierkegaard's bracing metaphors expose our mediocrities and en- ergize us with a clarified sense of what it means to follow Jesus. Christianity Today Readable and spiritually vibrant. ACT Digest Provocations is more of a health farm than a holiday. At the very least it shows that we are not the first generation to find the Church disappointing, the mind and spirit in tension, and God wonderfully paradoxical.

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Can there be something in life that has power over us which little by little causes us to forget all that is good? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful, inspirational stuff! 24 May 2011
By J. Scott TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've always heard that Kierkegaard is an almost impossible-to-understand writer - for most ordinary folks anyway. If that's true, then this book is a spectacularly successful attempt to create a 'Kierkegaard for Dummies', because even *I* could understand it.

It's a long time since I read a book that had me so continually muttering, 'yes... YES!' and that made me want to bang my fist on the arm of the chair and then jump up and down shouting 'Exactly!!! RIGHT!!!' (er, I didn't do any of this - it tends to attract odd looks from other passengers in the bus... But I wanted to)

In a nutshell, Kierkegaard's big 'thing' is that religion must be personal - in the sense that it engages the whole person, not just the intellect. It's something you DO, not just a statement of belief to be intellectually accepted. Reading the New Testament isn't an intellectual exercise, it's a terrifying risk, because you don't know where it might lead you.

The New Testament, he says, 'is a handbook for those who are to be sacrificed.'

'If God's word is merely a doctrine, then it is no mirror... While reading God's word you must incessantly say to yourself: It is *I* to whom it is speaking; it is *I* about whom it is speaking.'

'When Christianity entered the world, people were not Christians, and the difficulty was to become a Christian. Nowadays the difficulty in becoming a Christian is that one must cease to be a 'Christian''

And so on. If any of the above quotes strike a chord with you, you might like to check this book out. It's demanding stuff, not in the intellectual sense, but in the demanding challenges it throws out about how we live our lives (and live our faith).

And yet at times it's also laugh-out-loud funny - in the way that some comedians make us laugh by describing everyday life and making us see it for the first time.

Definitely recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good introduction to Kierkegaard 9 Feb 2012
I am a great lover of Kierkegaard, and have tried to introduce him to my father and brother before now, but they always find him dense and off-putting. One approach is books about Kierkegaard by others, but these I have found to be as dull as they are clear.

'Provocations' is the answer. It is a collection of extracts from Kierkegaards own writing, but carefully edited and picked to be him at his clearest. Both my brother and father enjoyed it, and found it clear. I myself felt that it gave a pretty good idea where he's coming from. The book clearly sets out where all the extracts are taken from, so it makes a great jumping off point to his books.
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Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book will take me many re-readings. It is profoundly challenging in the sense that it makes the reader think deeply about what Kierkegaard saw as being spiritual corruption. It has allowed me to put into my own words my personal belief in the sanctity of life, and the profound suffering involved in being an individual in the true sense of the word. To stand alone, to stand up for what you believe, to see through all the greed, group minds and manipulations that exist in the way we conceive of "the sacred". To be militant and strong and non-violent and ruthless and determined to live a life based on love, tenderness, joy, inner peace and gratitude for the chance to be here at all. Read it - it will free you from delusion and madness.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Anthology 19 Jan 2000
By John Parsons - Published on Amazon.com
Where to begin studying Kierkegaard? Start with "Works of Love"! But for a generalist overview of his work, to gain a sense of the scope of Kierkegaard's vastly prodigious work as an author, to be introduced in a more thematic way to the thoughts of this thinker, start with "Provocations" (which I prefer to the Brentall anthology because it tends to weave a sense of the main burdens of SK into the fabric of the selections).
I am also happy to say that this work reads more easily than some of the earlier renditions of SK, especially for U.S. readers of the new century.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars when philosophy aims a Hubble telescope at God 20 Oct 2000
By Jonathan Stone - Published on Amazon.com
This is a book that will wrestle with your soul at the deepest level, yet it is written in language that will deal with your mind in the most simple terms, without demanding you to take a leap of arcane philosophical knowledge. Here is Kierkegaard for all of us: the philosopher who holds a mirror to one's innermost being and at the same time aims a Hubble telescope right at God. One way or another, this book is bound to change your life.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "By acting your life will come into collision with existence... 8 Oct 2005
By Stanford Gibson - Published on Amazon.com
...and then you will know the reality of grace." p 254

Kierkegaard is too good to miss. Unfortunately his writings were so copious and obscured under the cloak of pseudonyms that many people give up before they begin to mine the riches of his work. Moore has finally provided an accessible distillation of his work in this topical compilation. There are 98 topics (e.g. doubt, love, faith/reason, despair, risk, passion...) which either contain single, important passages or a series of quotes from various works. I often found myself laughing out loud.

Unlike many Kierkegaard scholars who insist on anachronistically viewing him through his twentieth century French interpreters, Moore has a sense for passions, wit and contributions of the Danish philosopher. A caution: SK out of context can often be misinterpreted since he usually speaks in a voice not his own, intended to incite passionate response. However, I would still highly recommend it to anyone who has either a deep interest or a passing curiosity in Kierkegaard or a passionate, authentic life of action in general.

(Note: the text of this is also available in a free, searchable pdf on-line).
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A correction to a one-star review 15 April 2010
By Luke Albao - Published on Amazon.com
I have nothing to add regarding the "dumbing down" of SK. Sure, it's better to read him in full, but a reader would have to be very dumb indeed to think that this highly edited collection is pure Kierkegaard. It is an excellent introduction to his religious works -- if you accept introductions like this in the first place.

My main complaint and correction is to the reviewer who claims that this book is unsourced. Every single selection is sourced with the page number(s), edition, and translator(s) of the original work whence the selection is pulled. The sources are well-indexed, easily found in the back of the book. In addition, the Hong & Hong translations the reviewer calls authoritative (and which, he claims, are not used in this book) are in wide use throughout Provocations! If this book was truly unsourced, it would be a huge problem; only, that's not the case.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Gem 20 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Soren Kirkegaard can be difficult to understand. This book presents Kirkegaard's writings in their essense in a way that is easy to read and comprehend. This book can be used as a devotional due to the format.
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