Kierkegaard and the Staging of Desire: Rhetoric and Performance in a Theology of Eros

Kierkegaard and the Staging of Desire: Rhetoric and Performance in a Theology of Eros

by Carl S. Hughes


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Theology in the modern era often assumes that the consummate form of theological discourse is objective prose—ignoring or condemning apophatic traditions and the spiritual eros that drives them. For too long, Kierkegaard has been read along these lines as a progenitor of twentieth-century neo-orthodoxy and a stern critic of the erotic in all its forms. In contrast, Hughes argues that Kierkegaard envisions faith fundamentally as a form of infinite, insatiable eros. He depicts the essential purpose of Kierkegaard’s writing as to elicit ever-greater spiritual desire, not to provide the satisfactions of doctrine or knowledge.

Hughes’s argument revolves around close readings of provocative, disparate, and (in many cases) little-known Kierkegaardian texts. The thread connecting all of these texts is that they each conjure up some sort of performative “stage setting,” which they invite readers to enter. By analyzing the theological function of these texts, the book sheds new light on the role of the aesthetic in Kierkegaard’s authorship, his surprising affinity for liturgy and sacrament, and his overarching effort to conjoin eros for God with this-worldly love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780823257256
Publisher: Fordham University Press
Publication date: 07/02/2014
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Carl S. Hughes is Assistant Professor of Theology at Texas Lutheran University.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Theology and Fairy Tales

Introduction: Staging Desire, with Constant Reference to the Concept of Irony
1. Desiring "The One"-in Vaudeville, Marriage, and Beyond
2. Vor Frue Kirke as Stage: Aesthetics and Desire in Liturgy and Sacrament
3. "The Woman Who Was a Sinner": A New Statue in Vor Frue Kirke
4. Theatrical and Eucharistic Transformations: From the Farce Theater to the Feet of Christ
5. Sacramental Living, Sacramental Writing: Eros in Existence
Epilogue: Renewing Theology-Kierkegaard beyond Barth

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