A thought-provoking comparative take on two seminal thinkers in Christian history
In this book -- the first volume in the Kierkegaard as a Christian Thinker series -- Lee Barrett offers a novel comparative interpretation of early church father Augustine and nineteenth-century philosopher-theologian Soren Kierkegaard.
Though these two intellectual giants have been paired by historians of Western culture, the exact nature of their similarities and differences has never before been probed in detail. Barrett demonstrates that on many essential theological levels Augustine and Kierkegaard were more convergent than divergent. Most significantly, their parallels point to a distinctive understanding of the Christian life as a passion for self-giving love.
Approaching Kierkegaard through the lens of Augustine, Barrett argues, enables the theme of desire for fulfillment in God to be seen as much more central to Kierkegaard's thought than previously imagined.
Lee C. Barrett is the Mary B. and Henry P. Stager Professorof Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is alsothe author of the Abingdon Pillars of Theology volume onKierkegaard and coeditor of the two-volume workKierkegaard and the Bible.
David J. Gouwens -- Brite Divinity School "What has Hippo to do with Copenhagen? In this superb study Lee Barrett displays how, for all of their differences, Augustine and Kierkegaard unexpectedly share a vision of the Christian life as a journey circling around two central themes: the heart's restless desire-filled journey to God and God's self-emptying journey to the individual. . . . Barrett's command of each thinker's writings, historical context, and reception is complete. . . . Best of all, he shows how reading both Augustine and Kierkegaard as rhetorical and dialectical thinkers challenges us to rethink traditional Catholic and Protestant binary oppositions. The result is an important contribution not only to studies of Augustine and Kierkegaard but also to constructive Christian theological reflection."
Sylvia Walsh -- Stetson University "One could hardly ask for a finer or more highly nuanced treatment of the convergences and divergences, both direct and indirect, between Augustine and Kierkegaard than Barrett has given us in this rich comparative study of these two great theologians of love."
Murray Rae -- University of Otago "Lee Barrett has done a great service to the scholarly community in providing this study of the relationship between Augustine and Kierkegaard. His attention to the pastoral purpose of their respective writings has yielded a theologically astute and wonderfully insightful account of the commonalities and divergences between these two great thinkers. Readers of Augustine and of Kierkegaard will surely benefit from Barrett?s study, but so too will anyone interested in what the Christian journey of faith involves."
David R. Law -- University of Manchester "In this erudite and thought-provoking book Lee Barrett provides a penetrating study of Augustine and Kierkegaard, adroitly demonstrating the interactions between the theological concerns of these two seminal thinkers. By organizing his study around the themes of eros and kenosis, journey and desire, Barrett skillfully articulates an Augustinian-Kierkegaardian vision of the Christian life that speaks powerfully today. Essential reading for anyone interested in the theological Kierkegaard."
Andrew J. Burgess -- University of New Mexico "Kierkegaard scholarship has long needed a definitive study of the Augustine-Kierkegaard relationship; and this is it. . . . This book will be valuable not just for students of Augustine, at the dawn of state-sponsored Christendom, or of Kierkegaard, at its twilight, but also for anyone who wants to understand the whole of Western Christianity at its heart."
Reviews in Religion & Theology “Lee Barrett offers an extremely helpful and exciting comparative study between St Augustine of Hippo and Kierkegaard. . . . There is much to be grateful for here in Barrett’s fabulous book, as he elevates the discussion above tired stereotypes and helps readers of Kierkegaard to see more significant pathways for future research.”
Review of Metaphysics “The comprehensive vision that Barrett sketches in Eros and Self-Emptying lays much of the invaluable historical and thematic groundwork that all further supplemental and critical engagements will be built upon. For that and much more, we are in Barrett’s debt for many years to come.”
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