Paul L. Holmer (1916-2004) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota (1946-1960) and Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School (1960-1987). Among his many acomplishments, Holmer was one of the most significant American students of Kierkegaard of his generation. Although written in the 1950s and 1960s, Holmer's theological and philosophical engagement with Kierkegaard challenges much in the contemporary scholarly discussions of this important thinker. Unlike many, ...
Paul L. Holmer (1916-2004) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota (1946-1960) and Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School (1960-1987). Among his many acomplishments, Holmer was one of the most significant American students of Kierkegaard of his generation. Although written in the 1950s and 1960s, Holmer's theological and philosophical engagement with Kierkegaard challenges much in the contemporary scholarly discussions of this important thinker. Unlike many, Holmer refuses reductionist readings that tie Kierkegaard to any particular "school." He likewise criticizes biographical readings of Kierkegaard, much in vogue recently, seeing Kierkegaard rather as an indirect communicator aiming at his reader's own ethical and religious capacities. Holmer also rejects popular existentialist readings of Kierkegaard, seeing him as an analyzer of concepts, while at the same time denying that he is a "crypto-analyst." Holmer criticizes the attempt to construe Kierkegaard as a didactic religious thinker, appreciating Kierkegaard's "cool" descriptive objectivity and his ironic and stylistic virtuosity. In his important reading of Kierkegaard on "truth," Holmer pits Kierkegaard against those who see "truth" empirically, idealistically, or relativistically. Holmer's carefully textured account of Kierkegaard's conceptual grammar of "truth" in ethical and religious contexts, fifty years after it was penned, addresses immediately current discussions of truth, meaning, reference, and realism versus antirealism, relativism, and hermeneutics. It will be of great interest to all interested in Kierkegaard and his importance for contemporary theology and philosophy. This is the first volume of The Paul L. Holmer Papers, which includes also volume 2, Thinking the Faith with Passion: Selected Essays, and volume 3, Communicating the Faith Indirectly: Selected Sermons, Addresses, and Prayers.
“Paul Holmer, who died in 2004, was a major figure in Kierkegaard studies in the post-war USA. This volume has been lovingly reconstructed from his papers by David Gouwens and Lee Barrett, who have done us a service in making such a significant piece of work available.”
The Expository Times
- Simon D. Podmore
...Holmer occupies an eminent place in the transmission of Kierkegaard's thought in twentieth century America. This book breathes renewed breadth and depth into that influence. [...] As Hauerwas concludes, 'this is not just another book "about Kierkegaard"; rather, this is a book that forces us to read Kierkegaard as if our lives were at stake. In the process I think that you will find that the fear of God makes joy possible'.
Reviews in Religion and Theology
- Victoria Davies
…this too-brief summary cannot do justice to the complexities and depth of Holmer’s reflective thoughts on Kierkegaard and truth…This volume would be very helpful for anyone interested in Kierkegaard’s concept of truth, his means of communicating it, and perhaps also for those looking to bridge the ‘continental-analytic rift’.
- Iben Damgaard
On Kierkegaard and the Truth [...] gives us a carefully argued and well written inquiry of Kierkegaard as a philosopher. [...] H.'s book is still an important book to read particularly because of the fruitful and for his time very innovative way that H. uses the later Ludwig Wittgenstein in H.'s interpretation of Kierkegaard's reorientation of thinking about religious, existential and ethical matters.
David J. Gouwens is Professor of Theology at Brite Divinity School. He is the author of Kierkegaard's Dialectic of the Imagination (1989) and Kierkegaard as Religious Thinker (1996). Lee C. Barrett III is Stager Professor of Theology at Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is the author of The Heidelberg Catechism (2007), Foundations of Modern Theology: Kierkegaard (2009), and co-editor of Kierkegaard and the Bible (2010).
Foreword by Stanley Hauerwas
1 An Introduction to the Problem
2 A Glance at a Contemporary Effort in Danish Philosophy
3 A New Way of Philosophizing
4 The Bible and Christianity
5 History and the Sciences
6 Truth Is Subjectivity: Some Radical Criticisms
7 Truth Is Subjectivity: Some Logical Considerations
8 Some Epistemological Questions
9 Kierkegaard and Metaphysics
10 Kierkegaard and the Nature of Philosophy
11 Indirect Communication
12 Kierkegaard and the Sermon
13 Faith and Christianity
Afterword: Paul L. Holmer: Self-Effacing, Swaggering,Nonpareil—David Cain
Appendix—Paul L. Holmer: A Select Bibliography
Index of Names
Index of Subjects