Works of Love

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Paperback, 378 pages
Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1964
First Haper Torchbooks Edition, Twelvth Printing

The various kinds and conditions of love are a common theme for Kierkegaard, beginning with his early Either/Or, through "The Diary of the Seducer" and Judge William's eulogy on married love, to his last work, on the changelessness of God's love. Works of Love, the midpoint in the series, is also the monumental high point, because of its penetrating, illuminating analysis of the forms and sources of love. Love as feeling and mood is distinguished from works of love, love of the lovable from love of the unlovely, preferential love from love as the royal law, love as mutual egotism from triangular love, and erotic love from self-giving love.

This work is marked by Kierkegaard's Socratic awareness of the reader, both as the center of awakened understanding and as the initiator of action. Written to be read aloud, the book conveys a keenness of thought and an insightful, poetic imagination that make such an attentive approach richly rewarding. Works of Love not only serves as an excellent place to begin exploring the writings of Kierkegaard, but also rewards many rereadings.

Preface by Ronald Gregor Smith

Translated by Howard and Edna Hong

Editorial Reviews

"Certainly the most searching production to come from Kierkegaard.  In this work we are conducted into the inmost secrets of Christian love." --Ronald Gregor Smith
"His most important religious work." --Alexander Dru
"His single greatest work on Christian ethics." --Douglas V. Steere

"The two parts of Works of Love deal respectively with the great commandment: 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God...' (and it's second: '...and thy neighbor as thyself') and with First Corinthians 13, the so-called love chapter. A few added textual treatments round out the whole....Socratic Christian or Christian Socrates, Kierkegaard has in this work come closer than anywhere else to an authentic non-pseudonymous picture of his faith--and of himself in his inmost soul.  Read Works of Love first; read all his other writings; finally, read Works of Love." --Donald H. Rhoades, Interpretation

About the Author

Danish-born Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55), the author of more than twenty books, wrote on a wide variety of themes, including religion, psychology, and literature. He is remembered for his philosophy, which was influential in the development of 20th century existentialism and modern psychology.