The subject of this two-part article is the bearing of Søren Kierkegaard’s writings, and of their reception, upon the development of Religionswissenschaft or the comparative study of religion. This first part opens by taking account of Kierkegaard’s own awareness of, and relationship to, “non-Christian” religions, including his late reading of Schopenhauer; then considers Kierkegaard in juxtaposition with his contemporary F. Max Müller, the Sanskritist and foundational pioneer of comparative religion, and the two men’s contrasting relations to F.W.J. Schelling; and finally (...) examines the interest taken in Kierkegaard by William James, Max Weber, and Gerardus van der Leeuw as early twentieth-century contributors through three different disciplines to the study of comparative religion. (shrink)
From Clouds to Corsair: Kierkegaard, Aristophanes, and Socrates -- The pure fool and the knight of faith: Wolfram's Parzival and the stages of existence -- From romantic aesthete to Christian analogue: Don Quixote's sallies in Kierkegaard's authorship -- Saying not quite "everything just as it is": Shakespeare on life's way -- "Sorrow's changeling": irony, humor, and laughter in Kierkegaard and Carlyle.
This second part of a two-part article (the first part of which appeared in the Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook 2022) surveys the varying uses made of Kierkegaard’s writings by four twentieth- and, in two of their cases, also twenty-first-century contributors to Religionswissenschaft: Joachim Wach, Mircea Eliade, Wendy Doniger, and Bruce Lincoln, all four of whom happen to have taught at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Far from being irrelevant or being regarded as a theologically-inclined persona non grata by comparatists of (...) religion, Kierkegaard was embraced in three main capacities by these influential contributors to the field: as a datum (mostly in the history of theology and/or philosophy), as a theorist, and, in one case, as an existential soulmate. In Lincoln’s case, the reduction to memes—the memeification—of certain ideas ascribed to Kierkegaard comes under consideration. (shrink)