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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very powerful, inspirational stuff!, 24 May 2011
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J. Scott "JS" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard (Paperback)
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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Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard
Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard by Soren Kierkegaard (Paperback - 25 July 2005)
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