Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions

Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions

First edition, title page.
Author Søren Kierkegaard
Original title Tre Taler ved tænkte Leiligheder
Working title Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions
Translators David F. Swenson and Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong
Cover artist Frank Mahood
Country Denmark
Language Danish
Subject Christianity
Published April 29, 1845
Media type Hardback
Pages 114
ISBN 9780691140742
Preceded by Four Upbuilding Discourses, 1844
Followed by Stages on Life's Way

Søren Kierkegaard published Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses between the years 1843 and 1844 as well as a number of pseudonymous books. His category from Either/Or is to choose and his category from his discourses is the "single individual". He has let the reader know that he or she should pay attention to the prefaces in his works and has one in this book which speaks about "meaning" and the "appropriation" of meaning and has repeatedly said that he didn't have the "authority to preach or to teach." Here, in his Preface, he wrote: "This little book, which might be called a book of occasional addresses, although it has neither the occasion which creates the speaker and gives him authority, nor the occasion that creates the hearer and makes him a learner, is lacking in the legitimation of a call, and is thus in its shortcomings without excuse. It is without assistance from external circumstances, and thus quite helpless in its elaboration."[1]

He wrote of an apostle who didn't have the easiest time being a Christian. "Now Paul! Did he live in the favor of the mighty so that it could commend his teaching? No, he was a prisoner! Did the wise hail his teaching so that their reputation could guarantee its truth? No, to them it was foolishness. Was his teaching capable of quickly supplying the individual with a supranatural power, did it offer itself for sale to people through legerdemain? No, it had to be acquired slowly, appropriated in the ordeal that began with the renunciation of everything."[2] Would Paul have become a Christian if he knew what was in store for him? Each single individual has a future and there comes a time when a decision is made that can have long-lasting effects. Paul wrote about his own experiences in his epistles and Kierkegaard thought this was a legitimate way to preach about Christianity. But he stressed indirect communication.

The law of delicacy by which an author is permitted to use what he has himself experienced is that he never says the truth but keeps the truth for himself and only lets it emerge in different ways. Søren Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers IV A 161[3]

In these final three discourses of his first authorship he chooses to write about Confession before God about guilt, sin, forgiveness, marriage and death and the answers that seem to come or don't seem to come to the inquiring individual.

He who knocks-to him, shall it be opened.[4] And even if God does not immediately open, be comforted. Imagine an older person who sat in his room making some preparations to please a child who is to visit him at a certain time. But the child came too early. He knocked, but it was not opened to him. The child could see that there was somebody in the room, because there was a light. The child's knocking therefore was certainly heard; and yet the door was not opened. So the child became disconsolate. Ah, but why was not the door opened? Because the preparations for the child's happiness were not yet quite finished. Meditations from Kierkegaard, by Thomas Henry Croxall 1955 p. 99 Journals VIII 586


Soren Aaby Kierkegaard had Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions published April 29, 1845 and Stages on Life's Way April 30, 1845. Both books were divided into three sections: confession, marriage, and death; three crucial occasions in the life of each single individual. David F. Swenson translated the book as Thoughts on Crucial Situations in Human Life (subtitle: Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions) 1941 and Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong did so in 1993 under the title, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions.

(Swenson's translation has both titles while Hong's has only the latter, both Swenson and Hong translated Kierkegaard's Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses also)

Each of these imagined discourses involve the anxiety of making a decision. Kierkegaard wrote much on that subject earlier as well as in his later works.

What It Means to Seek God

Many times an individual has a physical sickness and goes to the physician for help. But is that the only kind of sickness there is? Kierkegaard was interested in spiritual sickness called sin and the expectancy of forgiveness which are both Christian categories.[5] We "must want to understand the forgiveness of sins-and then despair of understanding it."[6] Later, in The Sickness Unto Death Kierkegaard writes of the sin of despairing over one's sin and the sin of despairing of the forgiveness of sins.[7] Robert L. Perkins from Mercer University published a group of essays about these three discourses in 2006. Kierkegaard has moved forward from fear and trembling to fear and wonder within the two years of his published works. Wonder is more positive than fear.[8]

He suspected his father, Michael, suffered from this "sickness of the spirit" because of something he had done as a young man or while grieving the loss of his first wife. Lee M. Hollander thought he was afraid he had committed the Eternal sin, one that can never be forgiven. Kierkegaard called his gaining knowledge of his father's sin the "great earthquake". Maybe he heard someone say that cursing God was the unforgivable sin or that fornication was the unforgivable sin. Kierkegaard wrote out of concern for his father's anxiety and others like him who believe that God shuts his door against them.[9] He asks, “How does a person get to know that he is the greatest sinner?”[10] Kierkegaard started in Either/Or with two characters known only as A and B, both were in search of a self, and he worked himself up to The Concept of Anxiety where he remarked; "If a person does not first make clear to himself the meaning of “self,” it is of no use to say of sin that it is selfishness."[11] His father was only twelve when he cursed God and didn't have faith that God would forgive him. Goethe had the same problem because he had many experiences while he was still young.[12][13][14]

Many speculative individuals want to express their opinion about the mysteries of the Christian religion and the nature of sin and guilt. Kierkegaard warns against doing this, because "the most dangerous condition is that of the one who is deceived by much knowledge,"[15] knowing is one thing, doing another. "If anyone has the task of preaching or teaching others about their guilt, of teaching-something that this discourse, which is without authority, does not do-he does have the consolation that the purest heart is precisely the one most willing to comprehend his own guilt most deeply."[16] Kierkegaard asked every single individual these questions in his 1847 book, Works of Love in an effort to show how useless it is to compare sin for sin and guilt for guilt.

Tell me if it is possible to speak about this verse that says love is the fulfilling of the Law without judging against one’s will, even if it is one’s will only to judge oneself! Is there any more accurate expression for how infinitely far a person is from fulfilling the requirement than this, that the distance is so great that he actually cannot begin to calculate it, cannot total up the account! Not only is so much neglected every day, to say nothing of what guilt is incurred, but when some time has passed, one is not even able to state accurately the guilt as it once appeared to oneself, because time changes and mitigates one’s judgment of the past-but, alas, no amount of time changes the requirement, eternity’s requirement-that love is the fulfilling of the Law. (Romans 10.4), (Romans 13.10), (1 Timothy 1.5) Soren Kierkegaard, Works of Love 1847, Hong 1995 p. 134
Kierkegaard's world of the Spirit[17]

Kierkegaard was interested in "how" one comes to acquire knowledge. Adolph Peter Adlers experience may have influenced him. He identified his audience as the "reader" and the "listener"[18] but now he speaks of the "seeker". He says, "no man can see God without purity and that no man can know God without becoming a sinner. Dostoevsky tried to reproduce this concept in his art.[19] In Stages on Life's Way, published the next day, he used David and Solomon as examples of those prototypes who did become pure in God's sight by becoming sinners. "While David lay upon the ground with crushed and contrite heart, Solomon arose from his couch, but his understanding was crushed. Horror seized him when he thought of what it was to be God’s elect. He surmised that holy intimacy with God, the sincerity of the pure man before the Lord, was not the explanation, but that a private guilt was the secret which explained everything."[20]

He speaks of finding God in the "darkness" and the "stillness"[21] and "of this stillness and its power and the infinite nothing into which it plunges all dissimilarities, even those of wrongs and forgiveness, and of the abyss into which the solitary one sinks in stillness."[22] And asks, "Is it so easy to become still?"[23] This, then, is his imaginative creation of the world of the spirit and he lets the reader know that it's imaginative in his title.

He also wrote much about "expectancy"[24] and where it is found. Now he writes about the darkness, stillness, the "unknown" and sin. He says "sin is the common lot of the human race".[25]

There was a time in the world when humankind, weary of wonder, weary of fate, turned away from the external and discovered that there was no object of wonder, that the unknown was a nothing and wonder a deception. What once was life’s substance comes again in the repetition of the race.[26].... It is so hard to find God that one even demonstrates that he exists and finds a demonstration necessary. Let the work of the demonstrating be hard, let it in particular give trouble to the person who is to understand that it demonstrates something. For the one who is demonstrating it is an easy matter, because he has come to stand on the outside and is not dealing with God but is discussing something about God. If, however, seeking is to mean that one is oneself changed, then let the seeker look to himself. .... If a speaker had a voice like the thunder of the heavens, a countenance that struck terror, if he knew how to aim with his eyes, and now as you sat there, my listener, he pointed at you and said, “You, there, you are a sinner,” and even did it with such force that your eyes dropped to the ground and the blood drained from your cheeks and you perhaps did not recover from the impact for a long time, then you certainly would realize that in so behaving he was transforming the setting into a burlesque theater, where he played the buffoon, and you would deplore his having disturbed you in finding stillness. Soren Kierkegaard, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong 199, p. 21, 25, 27[27]

Love Conquers All

"Where is earnestness learned? In life." And how can earnestness be lost? How is it related to the resolution? Does "love conquer everything?"[28] Kierkegaard thinks, "a true conception of life and of oneself is required for the resolution of marriage; but this already implies the second great requirement, which is just like the first: a true conception of God. No one can have a true conception of God without having a corresponding conception of life and oneself, or a true conception of life without a corresponding conception of God, or a true conception of life without a corresponding conception of oneself. But a true conception of God is required; an understanding between God and the happy one is required, and thus a language is required in which they talk to each other. This language is the resolution, the only language in which God will involve himself with a human being."[29] He asks, "Where does a person find guidance if he himself does not work out his own soul's salvation in fear and trembling"?[30] He's writing about the wedding ceremony in this discourse just as he wrote about it in Either/Or and Repetition.[31] Here he presents his own imaginative construction of the value of the single individual making a decision about marriage in the presence of God. Even though he never married he still knows that "the adult learns only by appropriating and he essentially appropriates the essential only by doing it."[32]

Kierkegaard, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Sartre; all sinners
Aye, the world never has a lack of guides.[33] Behold, here is the man who would guide everybody, and cannot help himself. Now one is proclaimed as wise, and admiration recognizes him as such because he cannot even understand what the common man understands. Now someone has a power of eloquence and leads astray, having the powerful works of untruth. Now what we have learned from childhood has become old-fashioned, and we must learn it all over again. Now someone would tear a husband from his wife’s side, make him important through participation in great enterprises, and teach him to think slightingly about the sacred vocation of marriage. Now one would tempt the wife, and teach her to sigh under the heavy yoke of matrimony. Now one dangles before the husband and wife a community fellowship that makes the marriage relation unimportant. Now one would teach the married couple to enjoy life, taking the children and therewith the cares of life away from them, so that the parents can live for higher things. And then our expectations are tensed by something extraordinary, a new order of things to come, and we all, both married and unmarried, get a vacation, like children because the schoolmaster is moving, and are free until he gets settled. But we are no longer school children, and everyone shall give an account of himself before God, and the sacred obligation shall give every day its task[34] and its responsibility. Where then do we find guidance if we do not work out our own soul’s salvation with fear and trembling, for thus we become really earnest? (See also Works of Love, Hong 1995 p. 179)
  • Soren Kierkegaard, Thoughts on Crucial Situations in Life, (1845) Swenson translation (1941) p. 65-66

An "observer" may say that the resolution of love was lacking because the marriage didn't work out but how does the observer know that? Perhaps "it wanted a rebirth of erotic love" or of "earnestness".[35] A poet looks for the "rare individual" in order to demonstrate love's rebirth. Kierkegaard almost married Regine Olsen but changed his mind. Perhaps he wanted her to help him in his vocation as a writer just as Lillian Marvin Swenson helped her husband David and Edna H. Hong helped Howard V Hong later in life. He used that experience to build himself up rather than tear himself down. He places the responsibility on the individual listener, reader, watcher, or "doer".[36] He stated his idea of hope and courage in the face of doubt in his Journals and again in this book.

There is a world of difference between proud courage which dares to fear the worst and the humble courage which dares to hope for the best. My Lord God, give me once more the courage to hope; merciful God let me hope once again, fructify my barren and infertile mind. My doubt is terrible.-Nothing can withstand it-it is a cursed hunger and I can swallow up every argument, every consolation and sedative-I rush at 10,000 miles a second through every obstacle. It is a positive starting point for philosophy when Aristotle says that philosophy begins with wonder, not as in our day with doubt. Moreover the world will learn that the thing is not to begin with the negative, and the reason why it has succeeded up to the present is that it has never really given itself over to the negative, and so has never seriously done what it said. Its doubt is mere child’s play. For the rights of understanding to be valid one must venture out into life, out on the sea and lift up one’s voice, even though God hears it not, and not stand on the shore and watch others fighting and struggling-only then does understanding acquire its official sanction, for to stand on one leg and prove God’s existence is a very different thing from going on one’s knees and thanking him. Soren Kierkegaard's Journals November 15, 1841[37]
"Even if the appointed guide in the place where you live were incompetent, well, if you so choose, be the good listener who still benefits from his mediocre discourse." Kierkegaard continues, "And if the person speaking here is perhaps too young or perhaps expresses himself unclearly or his thought is unclear-well, my listener, then put the discourse aside, or, if you choose, do the great thing, be a good reader who benefits even from an inadequate discourse. As a matter of fact, just as there is supposed to be a power of discourse that can almost work miracles, so there is also a listener’s power that can work miracles if the listener so chooses. That kind of listener is the earnest listener. He says, “I want to be built up,” and so he is built up.[38] But the earnestness lies in the resolution." Three Discourses on Imaged Occasions, On the Occasion of a Wedding, Soren Kierkegaard, June 17, 1844, Hong 1993 p. 62

His book Either/Or discussed whether or not love can be deceived. Is it a good thing to find out you have been deceived or is it something that makes you angry? Kierkegaard had already discussed anger in his Two Upbuilding Discourses, 1843 where he quoted The Epistle of James, Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, because man’s anger does not work what is righteous before God. (James 1:17-22)[39] Earlier in the same discourse he had discussed equality. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.[40] He asks pointed questions, "Did the woman who was a sinner[41] feel her guilt more deeply when the scribes were accusing her than when there was no accuser anymore and she stood alone before the Lord! But you also realize that the most dangerously deceived person is the one who is self-deceived, that the most dangerous condition is that of the one who is deceived by much knowledge, and, furthermore, that it is a lamentable weakness to have one’s consolation in another’s light-mindedness, but it is also a lamentable weakness to have one’s terror from another’s heavy-mindedness. Leave it solely to God-after all, he knows best how to take care of everything for one who becomes alone by seeking him."[42]

The Decisiveness of Death

Kierkegaard has been writing about the confession of sin before God, confession of love for another before God and how an individual learns to make a resolution. Now he's writing about "death's decision" and the "earnestness"[43] that death brings into the world. Death says, “I exist; if anyone wants to learn from me, then let him come to me.”[44]

Many individuals want to be teachers of mankind but Kierkegaard has emphasized the teachers that accompany man from one generation to another. He wrote of Abraham, Job, The Apostle Paul, and Anna and Simeon as teachers of mankind in his Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses and Johann Goethe and Friedrich Hegel as teachers of aesthetics and ethics. But he's writing about the earnest confession before God, marriage, and death as teachers of another kind that accompanies mankind from generation to generation. Later he uses the "lily of the field and the bird of the air"[45] to teach what it means to be a human being where he calls them the "divinely appointed teachers".[46]

Kierkegaard says, "Just as death’s decision is not definable by equality, so it is likewise not definable by inequality."[47] Death is not the way all become equal but being able to go before God as a single individual is what creates equality for all since God shows no partiality and God has created death as the inexplicable.[48][49]

Therefore, God doesn't deal with the crowd but with the single individual as the one having anxiety and worry. The king and the beggar are equal before God and the beggar is no more to pray against the king than the king is to pray against the beggar. The same goes for the man and the woman.[50] The highest His Imperial Highness is able to do, however, is to make the decision before God. The lowliest human being can also make his decision before God.[51]

With regard to well-spent time in relation to the interruption of death, it is not essential whether the time was long or short; and with regard to the essential work in relation to the interruption of death, it is not essential whether the work was finished or only begun. With regard to the accidental, the length of time is the essential factor, as with happiness, for example-the end alone decides whether one has been happy. With incidental work, which is in the external, it is essential that the work be finished. But the essential work is not defined essentially by time and the external, insofar as death is the interruption. Earnestness, therefore, becomes the living of each day as if it were the last and also the first in a long life, and the choosing of work that does not depend on whether one is granted a lifetime to complete it well or only a brief time to have begun it well.
  • Soren Kierkegaard, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 96


Kierkegaard published these discourses by himself in the usual edition of 525 copies with only 175 sold by 1847. A second edition was published in 1875. He had already finished his Concluding Postscript and delivered it to Luno, his printer, by December 1845.[52] The Corsair Affair occupied some of his time and caused him some anxiety after 1845. Later, February 7, 1846, he wrote in his diary "it is now my intention to qualify as a pastor. For several months I have been praying to God to help me ..."[53] He didn't want to preach in a huge church but rather in a small church where he could speak to the single individual. He had already preached one sermon at Trinitatis Church in Copenhagen on February 24, 1844[54][55] so he has some experience but is still full of imaginative constructions.[56]

I have often imagined myself in a pastor’s place. If the crowds storm to hear him, if the great arch of the church cannot contain the great throngs and people even stand outside listening to him-well, honor and praise to one so gifted that his feelings are gripped, that he can talk as one inspired, inspired by the sight of the crowds, because where the crowd is there must be truth, inspired by the thought that there has to be a little for some, because there are a lot of people, and a lot of people with a little truth is surely truth-to me this would be impossible! But suppose it was a Sunday afternoon, the weather was gloomy and miserable, the winter storm emptied the streets, everyone who had a warm apartment let God wait in the church for better weather-if there were sitting in the empty church a couple of poor women who had no heat in the apartment and could just as well freeze in the church, indeed, I could talk both them and myself warm!

I have often imagined myself beside a grave. If all the people of honor and distinction were assembled there, if solemnity pervaded the whole great throng-well, honor and praise to one so gifted that he could add to the solemnity by being prompted to be the interpreter of the throng, to be the expression for the truth of sorrow-I could not do it! But if it was a poor hearse and it was accompanied by no one but a poor old woman, the widow of the dead man, who had never before experienced having her husband go away without taking her along-if she were to ask me, on my honor I would give a funeral oration as well as anyone. Soren Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers V 5948 (Pap. VII A 176) 1846 p. 367-368 Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, 1847, Hong

David F. Swenson translated many of Kierkegaard's works into English and helped introduce him to the English reading public as early as 1916. His translation was published in 1941. He wrote a short introduction stating that "God is a person; His will is the everlasting distinction between righteousness and unrighteousness, good and evil; it is goodness and love. Love and righteousness do not attach to impersonal things or essences; the idea of good is not good."[57] Swenson discussed this same book again when he translated Kierkegaard's Edifying Discourses in 1945. He said, "Only in this final group of discourses, which, while outside the eighteen, essentially belong with them (Thoughts on Crucial Situations in Human Life), which appeared in 1845 and was written to accompany the Postscript has God become a person, and the Christian faith is a concrete personal attitude."[58]

Walter Lowrie reminds the reader that Kierkegaard has said, 'With my right hand I held out the Edifying Discourses, with my left the aesthetic works-and all grasped with the right hand what I held in my left.’ This would pair right and left as Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions and Stages on Life’s Way, then Three Discourses in Various Spirits with A Literary Review; and The Lilies of the Field and the Birds of the Air with Either/Or, 2nd edition.[59] He indicates a plan to Kierkegaard's writing.

Howard V. Hong said Kierkegaard had “seeds for more than six discourses in mind; Three on Peter’s Denial of Christ, three on the Canaanite Woman, and two on suffering as guilty or innocent, as well as funeral addresses to the king’s deceased valet and for the prophetess Anna. He pared this down to the Three Imagined Discourses published here in 1845.[60]

John Gates barely mentions the Imagined Discourses in his book on the life of Kierkegaard, but he does see it as a turning point in the development of his vocation and gives an insight into his manner of writing.

On the day before the publication of Stages on Life’s Way, Kierkegaard had published a book under his own name, entitled Three Occasional Discourses. His prolific authorship in these years was due in part to the tremendous urge of his creative genius, and in part to his serious purpose to confront men with Christianity. Such productivity represented a vast amount of sheer, grinding hard work. He rose every morning, gave thanks to God, and then to work, with time off only for meals and his midday walk. Sometimes he interrupted work in the evening to appear at the theater for about ten minutes in order to maintain the fiction that he was a loafer.[61] At a set time in the evening he stopped his work, again gave thanks to God, and so to bed and to sleep. Writing had become his vocation, and he pursued it with single-minded devotion." The Life and Thought of Kierkegaard for Everyman, by John A Gates 1960 p. 91-93[62]

Gregor Malantschuk, said Kierkegaard's first eighteen discourses were about resignation. "The individual learns in everything to bend his will to God and to endure patiently his destiny. Then he published Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, the first of which treats of man's aspiration toward God and his meeting with God and gives a deep insight into the development of man's conception of God. The second discusses the gravity of the wedding vow and the responsibility to God in establishing a marriage. the last is a solemn enlightening meditation on death." Malantschuk goes on to say, "None of these discourses has yet arrived at the distinctively Christian. For this there must first be a long preparation."[63]


Wikiquote has quotations related to: Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions
  1. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong Preface
  2. Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong p. 82-84
  3. He used this idea in Stages on Life's Way. His fist section, the confessions of the lovers of women was called In Vino Veritas
  4. Matthew 7:7–8
  5. Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong 266-267, 314-315 Philosophical Fragments, Swenson p. 27, The Concept of Anxiety, Nichol, p. 155, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong 1993 p. 11-15, Concluding Unscientific Discourse, Hong p. 488-490, "Meditations from Kierkegaard, Thomas Croxall, p. 137 (Journals of Soren Kierkegaard X2 A206), The Sickness Unto Death, Hannay, p. 132-137
  6. Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong p. 222-227
  7. Walter Lowrie, translation of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, Hong, p. 75-76, 339-340, and The Sickness Unto Death, 1941, 1974 p. 240-254
  8. See Prefaces and Writing Sampler: And, Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions in the sources below p. 169ff
  9. He stated this thought more clearly in his 1847 book: Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits.
    Who has not experienced what powers worry can give a person, how he both cunningly and powerfully knows how to defend himself against the comfort, how he is able to do what no commander is ordinarily able to do-to lead the very same defense briskly into the struggle again in the very same moment his worry’s defense is disarmed! Who has not seen how the passion in worry can provide a person with such a power of thought and expression that the comforter himself almost becomes afraid of it! Who has not experienced that scarcely anyone desiring something can speak as ingratiatingly in order to win over another as a worried person can speak fascinatingly in order to convince himself once again-and his comforter-that there is no comfort! But when this is the case, when the worried one has become stronger, at times, alas, actually the stronger because of the magnitude of his affliction, is there then nothing at all that can be done? Certainly there is. In that case one tries to prompt the worried one to enter into someone else’s suffering, and the person who is himself unwilling to accept comfort from another person is often willing to share in another’s cares, to become worried with someone else and on behalf of someone else. In this way the struggle is forgotten. While the worried one sadly suffers with another, his mind is set at ease. Hong translation p. 201-202
  10. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong 1993 p. 30, Stages on Life's Way, Hong p. 250-252
  11. The Concept of Anxiety, Nichol 77-79
  12. See Book Seven of The Autobiography of Johann Goethe, p. 218ff
  13. Kierkegaard was very interested in the way children are educated; see Practice in Christianity, Hong p. 174ff, Three Imagined Discourses, Swenson translation p. 53-58, 87ff., 94-95
  14. “Of very few authors can it be said with the same literalness as, of Kierkegaard that their life is their works: as if to furnish living proof of his untiring insistence on inwardness, his life, like that of so many other spiritual educators of the race, is notably poor in incidents; but his life of inward experiences is all the richer - witness the "literature within a literature" that came to be within a few years and that gave to Danish letters a score of immortal works. Kierkegaard's physical heredity must be pronounced unfortunate. Being the child of old parents -his father was fifty‑seven, his mother forty‑five years. At his birth (May 5, 1813), he had a weak physique and a feeble constitution. Still worse, he inherited from his father a burden of melancholy which he took a sad pride in masking under a show of sprightliness. His father, Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard, had begun life as a poor cotter's boy in West Jutland, where he was set to tend the sheep on the wild moorlands. One day, we are told, oppressed by loneliness and cold, he ascended a hill and in a passionate rage cursed God who had given him this miserable existence - the memory of which "sin against the Holy Ghost" he was not able to shake off to the end of his long life. When seventeen years old, the gifted lad was sent to his uncle in Copenhagen, who was a well‑to‑do dealer in woolens and groceries. Kierkegaard quickly established himself in the trade and amassed a considerable fortune. This enabled him to withdraw from active life when only forty, and to devote himself to philosophic studies, the leisure for which life had till then denied him. More especially he seems to have studied the works of the rationalistic philosopher Wolff. After the early death of his first wife who left him no issue, he married a former servant in his household, also of Jutish stock, who bore him seven children. Of these only two survived him, the oldest son - later bishop - Peder Christian, and the youngest son, Sören Åbye.
    • Selections from the writings of Kierkegaard, translated by L. M. Hollander, Published 1923 by University of Texas in Austin, Introduction p. 12 and See this entry from the Journals and Papers of Kierkegaard 2A805
  15. Three Discourses On Imagined Occasions, Soren Kierkegaard, June 17, 1844, Hong 1993 p. 35ff
  16. Three Imaginary Discourses, Hong p. 14-15, Stages on Life's Way, Hong p. 481-482
  17. Soren Kierkegaard, The Point of View for My Work as An Author, Lowrie translation, 1939, 1962 p. 128 Works of Love, Hong 1995 p. 202-203
  18. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 35ff
  19. There is a special appropriateness in the contention that before man can be rooted in Christ, he must first be unrooted and uprooted. Personality is to be viewed in its ultimate relationship with God. Here, once more, Dostoevsky renders in his art what Kierkegaard diagnostically posits in his Thoughts on Crucial Situation in Human Life: “No man can see God without becoming a sinner.”Dostoevsky's Spiritual Art: The Burden of Vision by George Andrew Panichas 1985, 2005, 2009 Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, New Jersey p. 133 2004041285
  20. Stages on Life’s Way, 1845 Lowrie, Schoken edition 1967 p. 237
  21. Soren Kierkegaard, Three Imaginary Discourses, Swenson p. 9, 13-14
  22. Soren Kierkegaard, Three Imaginary Discourses, Swenson p. 18, 38
  23. Three Imaginary Discourses, Hong p. 39
  24. "Faith is a marvel, and yet no human being is excluded from it; for that which unites all human life is passion, and faith is a passion. Fear and Trembling, Hong p. 67 With a smile or with tears, one confesses that expectancy is in the soul originally. Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong p. 220
  25. Soren Kierkegaard, Three Imaginary Discourses, Swenson p. 15, Hong 18-20
  26. Soren Kierkegaard, Point of View, Lowrie p. 89
  27. See Concluding Unscientific Postscript by Kierkegaard p. 47-49 Hong for Kierkegaard's repetition
  28. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 45-50
  29. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 63, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, Hong p. 11-12, 102, 113
  30. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 48, 50, 52, 60ff, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments, Hong p. 11-12, 102, 113
  31. Either/Or Part II, Hong p. 59ff
  32. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 37-38.
  33. See Soren Kierkegaard, 1847 Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, Hong p. 251
  34. Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong p. 133, 159-169
  35. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 55ff, 35
  36. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 59-61
  37. The Soul of Kierkegaard: Selections from His Journals, published by Courier Corporation, Jul 12, 2012 p. 67-68
  38. Psychologist Rollo May referred to this in his book, Freedom and Destiny
    Freedom is continually creating itself. As Kierkegaard puts it, freedom is expansiveness. Freedom has an infinite quality. This ever-new set of possibilities is part of the reason psychology has by and large evaded the subject, for freedom cannot be pinned down as psychologists are wont to do. In psychotherapy the closest we can get to discerning freedom in action is when a person experiences “I can” or “I will.” When a client in therapy says either of these, I always make sure he knows that I heard it from him; for “can” and “will” are statements of personal freedom, even if only in fantasy. These verbs point to some event in the future, either immediate or long term. They also imply that the person who uses them senses some power, some possibility, and is aware of ability to use this power. Freedom and Destiny By Rollo May p. 53 W. W. Norton & Company, 1999
  39. Either/Or Part II, Hong p. 170, 193-201; James 1:17-22
  40. Galatians, 3: 23
  41. Luke 7:36-50
  42. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 35-36
  43. Kierkegaard says, "Earnestness is: that we should not be overhasty in acquiring an opinion with regard to death. In all earnestness the uncertainty of death continually takes the liberty of making an inspection to see whether the opinion-holder actually does have this opinion-that is, makes an inspection to see whether his life expresses it. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 100
  44. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 76, 80, 96, 73-76
  45. Matthew 6 and Luke 12
  46. Prayer: Father in heaven! From you come only good and perfect gifts. It must also be beneficial to comply with the counsel and teaching of whomever you have appointed as a teacher of human beings, as a counselor to the worried. Grant, then, that the one who is worried may truly learn from the divinely appointed teachers: the lilies in the field and the birds of the air! Amen. Soren Kierkegaard, Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, 1847 Hong translation p. 157ff]
  47. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 90-92
  48. Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p. 19, 47, 90ff, 101-102, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong 1992 p. 165ff Kierkegaard used the Epistle of James often in his Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses. James 2:1 The Bible
  49. Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses, Hong p. 141, 280
  50. Galatians 3, Soren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments, Swenson p. 23ff, Point of View, Lowrie p. 38-39 and Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Hong p.89-92, Soren Kierkegaard, 1847 Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, Hong p. 180-181
  51. Postscript, Hong p. 496-497
  52. Hong’s Introduction to Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions, Soren Kierkegaard, The Point of View for My Work as an Author, Lowrie p. 53
  53. Journals and Papers of Soren Kierkegaard VII A 4
  54. Johannes Climacus Or, De Omnibus Dubitandum Est And A Sermon, by Soren Kierkegaard as translated by Thomas Henry Croxall in 1958. pages 157-173
  55. Here are some quotes from Wikiquote
  56. Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Hong 625-630
  57. Thoughts on Crucial Situations in Human Life, Introduction, David F. Swenson
  58. Edifying Discourses, Soren Kierkegaard, Volume III, Translated from the Danish by David F. Swenson and Lillian Marvin Swenson 1945, 1957 P. ix-x
  59. Walter Lowrie, A Short Life of Kierkegaard, 1942, 1970 P. 196-197
  60. Howard V. Hong, Historical Introduction to Three Discourses on Imagined Occasions. P. ix 1993
  61. Soren Kierkegaard, Point of View, Lowrie p. 49ff
  62. The Life and Thought of Kierkegaard for Everyman, by John A Gates 1960 p. 91-93
  63. Gregor Malantschuk, Kierkegaard's Way to the Truth, 1963 Augsburg Publishing House p. 57
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