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Living within the Sacred Tension: Kierkegaard's Climacean Works as a Guide for Christian Existence

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Abstract

In this paper, I offer a reading of Søren Kierkegaard's Climacean works (Fragments and Postscript) in which I focus on their specific dissimilarities, but also on the important dialectical relationship between them. My central claim is that when we consider Kierkegaard's larger project in his authorship to encourage believers to practice a Christian existence characterized by tension, we begin to see the crucial shared role these works play for Kierkegaard's purposes. To begin, I outline the theological and polemical background to Kierkegaard's account of Christian existence by focusing on one of the central existential dualities in his thought, namely that of grace and works. In order to avoid falling into one extreme or the other, Kierkegaard argues for an account of faith as restlessness, which I identify as crucial to the Christian life. With this framework, I turn to Fragments and Postscript to draw out their respective emphases on gift and task, and I follow this with a discussion of how the dialectical relation between these emphases fulfills and upholds the account of tension that we have developed.

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