Welcome to “Piety on Kierkegaard.” I’m the Kierkegaard scholar M.G. Piety. I’m a professor of philosophy at Drexel University in Philadelphia. I’m the translator of Kierkegaard’s Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs (Oxford, 2009) and the author of Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard’s Pluralistic Epistemology (Baylor, 2010). I moved to Denmark in the fall of 1990 on a Fulbright fellowship to work on Kierkegaard’s epistemology at the University of Copenhagen and remained there until the fall of 1998. That was an enormously valuable period for me as a scholar. My teaching duties were light and my access to sources was almost unlimited.
I made many important contacts when I lived in Copenhagen. I’m fortunate in that these contacts keep me up to date with what’s going on in Kierkegaard scholarship in Denmark. I’m starting this blog, in part, to allow people outside Denmark to keep up with these goings on as well. I’m not going to write exclusively about Denmark though, I’m also going to post information about my books on Kierkegaard and other books that I think would be of interest to Kierkegaard scholars and people in related fields such as the philosophy of religion and European history. I plan to post new entries about once a month, but not always on the same day of the month, so if you want to make sure that you don’t miss any entries, just subscribe to the blog. If you subscribe, you will get an email every time there is a new entry. Thanks for reading!
Thanks for putting this together, Marilyn! I look forward to following your blog.
I’m just a dabbler who likes to read philosophy when I get a chance as a hobby. I wanted to thank you for the inexpensive OWC translation of Repetition and Philosophical Crumbs/Fragments. Kierkegaard’s less well known works are hard to find in anything but the uber-expensive Princeton translations. Thus he’s one of the harder philosophers to get into without spending big bucks. Fortunately the Vintage Spiritual Classics came out with Christian Teaching/Doctrine not too long ago, and now this translation. Helps round out a library dominated by Fear and Trembling and Sickness Unto Death to have these less expensive translations available. (I also broke down and purchased the gold-plated Anthology.)
Thanks! Yes, the Princeton translations are too expensive (plus, they’re often not very good, awkward, stilted and sometimes misleading). Many of the older translations (i.e., older Princeton translations) are actually very good, so a nice way to round out your Kierkegaard collection would be to scour used book stores. Also, try abebooks.com, that’s an online used book clearing house that is absolutely fantastic. Just type in a title and check out what you can get for next to nothing. Thanks again!
I love your site as a SK resource! Thank you.
Last year I had written a Valedictory for Kierkegaard and one story appears here:
I will be stopping by your site again–endless good reading.
Hello Professor Piety. I am a mexican graduate student interested in Kierkegaard scholarship and I would like to know where could I download your PhD thesis (if that is possible). Thank you.
Alejandro, Thanks so much for your interest in my work. You can get a copy of my Ph.D. thesis from University Microfilms. My book, Ways of Knowing: Kierkegaard’s Pluralistic Epistemology is a better account of Kierkegaard’s epistemology though, than you will find in my thesis. The book is available from Baylor University Press and also from Amazon. You are very welcome to send me any questions you might have as you read through it. Sincerely, Marilyn
My philosophy teacher in 1972 recommended a lecture on Kierkegaard albeit he did not know whether the speaker at the philosophical society in Helsinki was one of the theologians or one of the philosophers. He himself is a Wittgensteinian, a philosopher but somewhat a wittgenstheologian. The pages look so fresh and full of a strange kind of humor that I write, visiting Berlin, my doctorate in social anthropology, and when friends asked what will you do there I told that I shall try to set straight the record oh Hegel, Kierkegaard, and Andersen. In 1845 Jacob Grimm gave a lecture on national epics and hoped that the Finnish one would provide the world with a primitive one, and Lönnrot expanded his work with laments and curses like he used a hypodermic needle for the new version of Kalevala in 1849. While Kierkegaard continued with his kind of precision work, where no needle is needed, onky very sharp scissors. email@example.com
I just wrote a Søren Kierkegaard book being published the 2nd of dec. 2013. Title (translated) “The demonic and its recovery, Søren Kierkegaard and contemporary psykiatry”. I need a publisher in the USA. Please help…..?
The way you get a publisher in the U.S. is you write to publishers with a brief description of your book and your professional credentials. Lots of presses publish books on Kierkegaard, including Baylor University Press (my favorite of the presses I’ve worked with). Find out who has published books that are similar to your own and then write to those presses. Good luck!
Try Harvard University Press, which 15 years ago published a general appraisal of R.D. Laing. And were not the early English translations of Kierkegaard published therabouts. Henry and William James´ father lost a lot of money in publishing on esoteric subjects, but now is a different time.
Wonderful blog you have on Kierkegaard. Thanks for all the resources. I want to ask you a question seeing that you are a Kierkegaard scholar.
I’m currently a masters student in philosophy in the states. My main passion and interest in philosophy has been Kierkegaard. But as I start exercising the idea of moving on for a PhD, I’m not sure how best to go about becoming a Kierkegaard scholar. Are there any programs or places or Kierkegaard scholars you would recommend trying to go to or work with?
Your advice is much appreciated.
Thanks so much for your kind words about my blog! I think a good place to start if you wish to do graduate work on Kierkegaard is to apply for a summer fellowship at the Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College. They have a wonderful collection and there are usually some interesting scholars there, so it would be a good way for you to meeting people and find out about what they are doing. They also normally offer courses in Danish, so you could get a head start on learning Danish. You could not do better than to go to Baylor University for your Ph.D. if you want to work on Kierkegaard. Not only does Baylor have C. Stephen Evans, one of the best Kierkegaard scholars around today, it also has Robert Roberts who has done some very good work on Kierkegaard. Boston College would also be good because Vanessa Rumble is there and she is very knowledgeable about Kierkegaard and a lovely person to book. Fordham would also be good because they have John Davenport. I am sure there are some other programs that would be good. Basically, what you need to do it start reading some secondary literature on Kierkegaard. When you find work you like, find out whether the author teaches at an institution that has a Ph.D. program in philosophy. If it does, write to the scholar in question to get more information about the program. Good luck with your search!
I am currently a masters student in philosophy with a deep interest and passion for Kierkegaard. However, I am uncertain about how to pursue these interests at the PhD level. Are there any places or universities you would recommend specifically for Kierkegaard scholarship? Are there any people in particular one should seek to work under?
I greatly appreciate any advice you have in this area.
Whoops. Sorry. Disregard my last comment. If you want to delete it, that’s fine. I had missed your reply for some reason.
Thank you so much for the advice. I will definitely start looking into the secondary literature to see what catches my eye. The summer fellowship at St. Olaf College has been on my radar, so I will definitely look into making it a reality. Again, thank you for your advice and encouraging words.
Much thanks for your wonderful webpage. Practicing litigation for several years, I found myself reading only statutes, caselaw, legal drafts and medical reports. It was wearying, and there was no space left in my life for what I loved, only deadlines, court appearances, marketing meetings and self-medication. Then I got sick. And then I left my profession. It’s taken over a year, but gradually I’ve rehabilitated some of my body and most of my spirit, and I find myself now revisiting the authors of my youth (the vagueness there is intended) with love, confusion, wonder and a reaffirmation of my humanity. Kierkegaard (with whom I share my birthday, incidentally) is one of the big ones, for me, and yours has been a pleasure of a resource.
What a lovely comment. Thanks so much!
Greetings and thank you for this wonderful and accessible blog. I became entranced by Kierkegaard back in my seminary days and dove into those older Princeton translations against the advice of several professors, who seemed to prefer to dry and dusty tomes of the orthodox. I felt an awe and exhilaration I’ve seldom experienced in reading other books. Over the years my fascination with Kierkegaard has remained strong but as time went by and I gradually replaced the old translations with the new ones my exhilaration waned. I thought it was due to an inability to understand the deeper levels of his thought. I’m sure that played a part but your comments on the new translations have me thinking that it may be more than that. Perhaps its time to seek out those old books and see if the magic returns. Thank you for that suggestion.
On another matter, it was just a few years ago that Graff’s new and exciting biography found its way into my hands. I absolutely loved it. I read it once then turned around and immediately read it again. It opened up the actual life, the personality, the agony and ecstasy of being Soren Kierkegaard. You have been very critical of this book and it appears for good reason. However, whatever its faults may be, I will probably be grateful for the spark it provided me as the wonder of Kierkegaard comes through loud and clear in that book. I know that doesn’t excuse any wrongdoing on the author’s part and I certainly don’t think that should be ignored or glossed over. It is just an existential fact that happened to me. In the book there are several scenes that are presented with such drama and power that they remain fixed in my mind. These scenes have become key to my concept of SK’s life and now I’m seeing that some questions may surround these scenes. I wonder if I ran a few by you, could you reflect on just how accurate or likely these events are in truth? I realize these things may not be of vital interest to you because they do not really concern interpretations or insights into his thought but more experiences, relationships, and actions of his life so I’ll not be the least insulted if you prefer not to take the time or can recommend to me another biography. I’ve read Hanney’s book and I guess I would conclude that he writes like a scholar while Graff writes like a dramatist.
Thanks for reading this. I look forward to any responses you may have.
Thanks for your kind words about my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed Garff’s biography of Kierkegaard. Parts of it are indeed very lively. The thing is, in a least some important respects that I have gone into in other posts, it is not a reliable portrait of Kierkegaard. You are more than welcome to run by me the scenes you mention. I can’t guarantee, however, that I will be able to tell you how accurate they are. The person who is likely the best source of that kind of information is Peter Tudvad. Unfortunately, there is no extensive biography of Kierkegaard other than Garff’s. Hannay’s is more an intellectual biography than a general biography. I had hoped Tudvad would come out with a biography, but he came out instead with a fictionalized account of Kierkegaard’s life called The Curse.
Hello M.G. Reading Carlisle’s Philosopher of the Heart I was struck by her suggestion that S.K.’s reading during his last few years focused largely on the pietistic devotional literature of Arndt and Tersteegen, on the sermons of Luther, and on certain medieval spiritual classics. This makes sense to me given what he was writing during that time, but I’ve never seen it actually connected as a major contributor to his thought. Do you have thoughts about this aspect of his life? Neither Garff nor Hannay seem to place much emphasis on this line of influence. Thank you, as always, for your wonderful and informative blog and for your incisive thoughts.
Thanks for your kind words about my blog. Neither Garff nor Hannay give sufficient attention, I think, to the depth of Kierkegaard’s commitment to Christianity. Neither, sadly, does Carlisle, given that she claims, erroneously, that Kierkegaard was ambivalent about Christianity. I have not made a systematic study of what Kierkegaard read when. It makes sense, however, that Kierkegaard would have been reading Luther during his last few years because Kierkegaard’s thought took a decided anti-Semitic turn toward the end of his life and Luther was a virulent anti-Semite.
As I said, I haven’t made a systematic study of what Kierkegaard read when. I can tell you, however, that Kierkegaard was raised in the Pietistic tradition of the Moravian Brethren and that the influence of this tradition on his thought is clear from the very beginning of his authorship.
Thanks again for your kind words about the blog!
A very charming blog that I stumbled across accidentally upon entering a series of Hubert Dreyfus/Kierkegaard internet rabbit holes. I was particularly amused by your account of having dinner with Dreyfus in Denmark. I am actually doing some work on Heidegger at the moment and was wondering what you make of his utilisation of Kierkegaard? It seems to coincide with Heidegger’s “Protestant phase,” where he was dubbed an expert on Luther. As a Lutheran myself, I am also interested in knowing what Kierkegaard had actually read in Luther? Many thanks in advance 🙂
Thanks for this comment. I’ll confess to a pronounced antipathy for Heidegger. It isn’t just his Nazism. It’s also his penchant for neologisms. I’m with Wittgenstein on the impossibility of private languages.
As far as what Kierkegaard read of Luther, you should contact Peter Tudvad. Tudvad is an expert, not just on what Kierkegaard read but also on things such as what would have been required reading for Kierkegaard’s Magister degree. If you write to me via my Drexel email, I’ll send you Tudvad’s contact info.
Thanks again for your kind words about the blog.