The Kierkegaard Seminar: Reading Works of Love

Course content

This course will provide an opportunity for students to look closely at some of the influential themes in Kierkegaard’s authorship by reading one of his central works, Works of Love. This work is considered to be the most carefully developed expression of Kierkegaard’s ethical thought. But as with most of Kierkegaard’s works, it is also a tumultuously poetic and deeply religious book. The course aims to provide students with a nuanced understanding of fundamental aspects of Kierkegaard’s thought (e.g. anxiety, despair, faith, selfhood, and love) through a close reading of this book. The systematic focus will be on ethics, and in particular on how to make sense of Kierkegaard’s Christian ethics in a contemporary secular context.


Learning outcome

The close reading of this central work will provide the student with a solid introduction to Kierkegaard’s philosophy, and to his peculiar existential way of doing philosophy. The student will also be engaged with central questions in moral philosophy that have informed and shaped the way we discuss ethics today. Moreover, since Kierkegaard’s thought is firmly rooted in a Christian foundation, the student will work with the issue of how understand and deal with religious arguments in a secular discussion. 


Teaching and learning methods

The sessions are structured as a combination of lecture and discussion with a focus on engaging the student. The students are required to prepare one question or critical comment for each session. These questions will encourage and guide the discussion in class. The student can expect a lively and systematically oriented teacher who will attempt to make the issues both interesting and relevant to a contemporary setting while maintaining a substantial theoretical level and the necessary historical perspective.


Course ECTS credits 15


Exam Written Assignment


Principal Course literature

1) Søren Kierkegaard. Works of Love, trans. Howard V. Hong and Edna Hong. Princeton, NJ:

Princeton University Press 1995 / Søren Kierkegaard. Kjerlighedens Gjerninger. København: GAD 2004 (for students capable of reading Danish).

2) Arne Grøn. The Concept of Anxiety in Kierkegaard. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press 2008.

3) M. Jamie Ferreira. Love’s Grateful Striving: A Commentary on Kierkegaard’s Works of Love.

Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001.

Type of assessment
Written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28