The Task of Hope in Kierkegaard

The Task of Hope in Kierkegaard

by Mark Bernier


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Scholars have largely ignored hope in Kierkegaard's thought, typically passing over it as a mere description of faith, rather than a theme in its own right. However, Mark Bernier argues that for Kierkegaard hope is one of the most valuable qualities of the religious life, and it is an essential thread connecting despair, faith, and the self.

In The Task of Hope in Kierkegaard, he reconstructs Kierkegaard's theory of hope, which involves the distinction between mundane and authentic hope, and makes three principal claims. First, while despair involves the absence of hope, a rejection of oneself, and a turn away from one's relation to God, despair is fundamentally an unwillingness to hope. This unwillingness is directed toward authentic hope, conceived of by Kierkegaard as an expectation for the possibility of the good. Second, hope is not simply an ancillary activity of the self; rather, the task of becoming a self is essentially constituted by hope. To be in despair, and therefore, to be unwilling to hope, is in fact to reject the task of becoming a self. Third, faith stands in opposition to despair precisely because it is a willingness to hope. An essential role of faith is to secure the ground for hope, and in this way faith secures the ground for the self. In short, authentic hope-what Kierkegaard calls spiritual hope-is not merely a fringe element, but is essential to Kierkegaard's project of the self.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198747888
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/29/2015
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Mark Benier (Ph.D., University of California, Irvine) is a lecturer at Azusa Pacific University. His research focuses primarily on Kierkegaard, Existentialism, and Philosophy of Religion, with interests in Leibniz and the early modern period. He is currently working on an anthology of the concept and history of hope.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. Introduction
2. The Kierkegaardian Self
3. On Despair
4. Despair and Hope
5. The Concept of Hope
6. Hope and the Task of the Self
7. The First Movement of Faith: Infinite Resignation
8. Hope and the Knight of Faith

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