75 years after the publication of the 1936 Stone Lectures given at Princeton Theological Seminary, the thought of Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) continues to interest and impress many. Kierkegaard has been interpreted and re-interpreted over the decades; as a Lutheran, an existentialist, a postmodern prophet. However, none of these interpretations do justice to the richness and multifaceted dimensions of his work, and ultimately they serve to misunderstand and typecast him, sometimes unfairly.
The work presented here is no exception; however, these lectures were given before the rise of Jean-Paul Sartre’s (1905-1980) Existentialism, a 20th century philosophical movement arguably responsible for typecasting Kierkegaard as an existentialist precursor, a somewhat narrow way of looking at Kierkegaard’s thought. In addition, Sartre separates Kierkegaard’s philosophy from his theology, something that Kierkegaard had tried to resist his 19th century contemporaries from doing.
In five lectures, Eduard Geismar (1871-1939), a former professor of the University of Copenhagen, introduces Kierkegaard’s life, literary method, and theology with clear language and engaging prose. David Swenson (1876-1940), a former professor of the University of Minnesota, provides an extended discussion of Kierkegaard’s philosophy and theology in his introduction.
Aside from a few typographical corrections, the text remains as it was published in 1937. The title of the original text is Lectures on the Religious Thought of Søren Kierkegaard. This edition’s title omits Kierkegaard’s first name to reflect his enormous contemporary fame and influence.