Following the Cultured Public's Chosen One

Why Martensen Mattered to Kierkegaard

Curtis L. Thompson

Following the Cultured Public's Chosen One
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Curtis L. Thompson

Distributed for Museum Tusculanum Press

216 pages | 6 x 9 1/4 | © 2008
Cloth $43.00 ISBN: 9788763510974 Published December 2008 Not for sale in the United Kingdom or Europe
Søren Kierkegaard never shared the cultured public?s enthusiasm for Hans Lassen Martensen, whom it identified as its chosen one. This volume examines the Kierkegaard-Martensen relationship, establishing ways in which the speculative theologian Martensen was a source for Kierkegaard?s thought. Kierkegaard?s relationship with Martensen was multidimensional and volatile. He functioned as Kierkegaard?s personal acquaintance and occasional conversation partner, tutor, teacher, dissertation committee evaluator, representative of Golden Age Danish culture, book writing and selling competitor, fellow Lutheran and bishop. While the two never saw things eye-to-eye, and Kierkegaard?s dislike for Martensen received expression in his writings, this spiteful ridicule and derision was directed toward one upon whom Kierkegaard was significantly dependent. Kierkegaard?s intellectual life and work underwent extensive development during the two decades of his literary output from 1834 to his death in 1855. These developments can be better grasped by investigating developments that Martensen himself was going through. Martensen?s career progressed from an early concern with philosophy of religion addressed to the public of the academy, to dogmatic theology addressed to the public of the church, to practical theology addressed to the public of society. The questions and issues preoccupying Martensen changed with these progressions, and these changes did not go unnoticed by Kierkegaard. The case is here argued that Kierkegaard followed Martensen?s intellectual development very closely and that Martensen?s shifting theological agenda in fact notably shaped the evolving agenda of Kierkegaard?s own developing religious thought.
Contents
Abbreviations
Preface

1. A General Introduction of Martensen and His Literary Production
    I. Philosophy of Religion within the Academy: 1833–1841
    II. Dogmatic Theology in Relation to the Church: 1842–1850
    III. Practical Theology Directed to Society: 1851–1884
2. Martensen in Kierkegaard’s Writings
    I. The Early University Years: 1834–1841
    II. Establishing the Authorship: 1842–1846
    III. Criticizing the Established Order: 1847–1855
3. A General Interpretation of Kierkegaard’s Use of Martensen
    I. The Tradition of Interpreting Kierkegaard’s Use of Martensen
    II. Contributing to the Thought-World of Kierkegaard’s Reflections
    III. Empowering Nihilism and the Possibilities of a Dipolar God

Postlude
Bibliography
Index
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