Kierkegaard: A Single Life

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Zondervan, Aug 9, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
3 Reviews
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An accessible, expert introduction to one of the greatest minds of nineteenth century. Whether you're completely new to him, or if you're already familiar with his work, Kierkegaard: A Single Life presents a fresh understanding of his life and thought.

Kierkegaard was a brilliant and enigmatic loner whose ideas permeated culture, shaped modern Christianity, and influenced people as diverse as Franz Kafka and Martin Luther King Jr. Though few people today have read his work, that lack of familiarity with the real Kierkegaard is changing with this biography by scholar Stephen Backhouse, who clearly presents the man's mind as well as the acute sensitivity behind Kierkegaard's books.

Drawing on biographical material that has newly come to light, Kierkegaard: A Single Life introduces his many guises—the thinker, the lover, the recluse, the writer, the controversialist—in prose as compelling and fluid as a novel and pursues clarity to long-standing questions about him:

  • What made this Danish theologian so controversial and influential?
  • Why were so many people drawn to his books, even if they didn't understand what they were reading?
  • Can his complicated relationship with the Church and religion be untangled?
  • Or, for that matter, what about his complicated—at times almost paradoxical—relationship with every sphere of life from politics to poetry?

To be considered everything from a great intellect to a dandy, from a martyr to a "false messiah" is no mean feat, and this biography sheds light on Søren Kierkegaard as he was with empathy and humor.

Included is an appendix presenting an overview of each of Kierkegaard's works, for the scholar and lay reader alike.


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Skybalon - LibraryThing

If you want a relatively light-weight biography of Kierkegaard, this is not a bad place to start. It makes some weird--probably considered artsy-- choices along the way. For example, it starts with ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - GarySeverance - LibraryThing

Kierkegaard: A Single Life is an interesting biography of the Nineteenth Century philosopher and a summary of some of his writing. The book is written for a general reader audience, and no prior ... Read full review


1 A Controversial Life
2 School Life
3 Family Life
4 Public LifePrivate Life
5 Love Life
6 Writing Life
9 A Life Concluded
10 A Life Continued
Overviews of the Works of Søren Kierkegaard

7 Pirate Life
8 An Armed and Neutral Life
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About the author (2016)

Stephen Backhouse (DPhil, Oxford) is the founder and director of Tent Theology, a venture that designs and delivers theology programmes to local churches. He is the Dean of Theology in the Local Church for Westminster Theological Centre and was formerly the Lecturer in Social and Political Theology at St Mellitus College. He is a historian of Christian thought, an expert on the work of Søren Kierkegaard and a recognised authority on the political theology of nations and nationalism. He is the author of many publications, including the award-winning popular biography Kierkegaard: A Single Life (Zondervan, 2016) and the Zondervan Essential Companion to Christian History (Zondervan, 2019). He has lived in the United States, and makes his home in Britain and Canada.

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