Kierkegaard and the Loss of Truth in Christendom (Series on “Minding the Web”)

This is the fifth in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas with Robert J. Dean (Cascade).

Søren Kierkegaard has long lurked in the background of Stanley Hauerwas’s work.  In this forthcoming volume, we are finally treated to a direct engagement with the “Great Dane,” as Hauerwas consults Kierkegaard to help think through what it would mean to teach theology as theology in the modern university.  Here is the first of several quotes from this provocative essay.

“What Christendom occludes, or even more troubling what Chris­tendom loses, is Jesus. The reason it is so difficult to be a Christian in Christendom is that one cannot help but think being Christian is to iden­tify with the eighteen hundred years of the effects of Christianity rather than with this Jesus who is the Christ. But when Christianity becomes something other than faith in Jesus as the Christ it can no longer claim to be true. For Christ is the truth in a manner that makes clear that the truth cannot be abstracted from any explanation of what the truth is. Thus Ki­erkegaard’s claim that the truth, in the sense that Christ was the truth, is not a collection of sentences, nor a definition of concepts, but rather truth in its essence is the reduplication in us that his life is “the very being of truth, is a life, as the truth was in Christ, for He was the truth.” 1

  1. Stanley Hauerwas, “Kierkegaard and the Academy: A Theological Meditation,” in Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018), 84. The internal quote is from Søren Kierkegaard, Training in Christianity, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1941), 201.

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