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Resting transparently: Kierkegaardian conceptions of freedom, despair, suffering, and faith
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This project is an exploration and development of several key concepts in Kierkegaard's writings. The primary focus is on the concept of freedom, which, in Kierkegaard's writings, is problematic for at least two reasons. First, there is the "metaphysical" problem of freedom in Kierkegaard's works, which is the problem of understanding what, exactly, Kierkegaard's view of human freedom is and how (and whether) this view of freedom is reconcilable with Kierkegaard's view of God as absolutely sovereign. Second, there is the "existential" problem of freedom. For Kierkegaard, the highest form of human freedom is existentially expressed as faith, and thus, the existential problem centers on the difficulties of living out, on a day-to-day basis, the kind of genuine faith that Kierkegaard perceives as essential to Christian existence. Both aspects of the problem are crucial for understanding Kierkegaard's overall theological and philosophical position. In fact, the two are interconnected: his solution to the logical problem has important existential implications, but his existential views are only tenable if they rest on some sort of plausible metaphysical foundation. With regard to the logical problem, I will argue that Kierkegaard holds a view of freedom in which the human subject is truly free in every significant sense of "free," but that the subject's will does not act independently of God's will. The individual's will has its very being in God's will, and God's sovereignty is actually required to make the individual free. With regard to the existential problem, I will argue that, for Kierkegaard, genuine faith is essentially characterized by suffering, and this suffering is manifested in a variety of forms. By renouncing all things to God, by declaring His goodness in the midst of suffering, and by embracing the essential characteristics of what it is to be human (namely, that one is finite, temporal, and limited in both knowledge and power ), one is finally able to "rest transparently" in God. This act of resting transparently, which includes as an essential component a recognition of one's absolute need for God, is, for Kierkegaard, both the true act of faith and "man's highest perfection."
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 161-164).
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Manis, Robert Zachary (2002). Resting transparently: Kierkegaardian conceptions of freedom, despair, suffering, and faith. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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