Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Works of Love (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 16)” as Want to Read:
Works of Love (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 16)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Works of Love (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 16)

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  1,044 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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

Paperback, 576 pages
Published March 23rd 1998 by Princeton University Press (first published 1847)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Works of Love, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Works of Love

Mere Christianity by C.S. LewisInstitutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols by John CalvinFear and Trembling by Søren KierkegaardConfessions by Augustine of HippoHoly Bible by Anonymous
Top 50 Seminary Books
18th out of 102 books — 33 voters
Mere Christianity by C.S. LewisThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisInstitutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols by John CalvinOrthodoxy by G.K. ChestertonKnowing God by J.I. Packer
Top 25 Christian Thinkers
53rd out of 181 books — 83 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,920)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Xandri Fiori
Always with philosophy, it's so easy to become contracted into the box of what the individual is capable of and to ignore the social aspect. What with everybody being in deep erotic love with Nietzsche, Christianity gets a bad rap. Granted, I only read this because Kierkegaard was an existentialist. But I honestly have grown to love him more than any other philosopher because he answers the question of other people. In my experience, most other philosophers are too scared to ask this question, m ...more
David Lentz
In his genius Kierkegaard wants us to know that by “works of love” he is describing the rigor of being a loving Christian. Kierkegaard advises that God wants us to love our neighbors, which Kierkegaard considers God’s “royal law.” Kierkegaard stresses this point three times with the emphasis on three different points: YOU shall love your neighbor. You SHALL LOVE your neighbor. You shall love YOUR NEIGHBOR. But who is your neighbor? Your neighbor is anyone whom you see. Your neighbor lives next t ...more
I finished Kierkegaard's text yesterday (Valentine's Day), the forwards today . . . if you care to know.

Though only about 350 pages, Works of Love is not easy reading. Well, I suppose it's easy in a way. There aren't many difficult concepts to grasp and in that way it's certainly not like The Concept of Anxiety. But the work seems long because Kierkegaard belabours certain points, points he no doubt believes essential, such as the neighbour, the difference between Christian and pagan love, and G
I am usually an avid highlighter but the first essay from this collection had me so stunned with its relevancy to all of the things that had been knocking about in my head and heart for the past year or so*** that I didn't bother having a highlighter in my hand at any point in time that I was reading this book. Had I done so, I would have ended up with more text highlighted than not highlighted.

***I am admittedly all of these things: already a fan of Kierkegaard, already religious, and OK with
This book is certainly a long laborious read. However, I was able to push my way through it fairly quickly because all the ideas were so novel to me. I have not ventured very far into the theological realm, but this book breathes some seriously fresh and insightful life into the idea of "Loving thy neighbour as thyself." It also explores many different consequences and viewpoints of this idea.

I would recommend this book highly to anyone wishing to improve themselves and their relationships with
Christian theology at its best. It is written philosophically, so anyone who is interested in philosophy, particularly existentialism, will enjoy it. I think anyone can find inspiration in the book, including people who aren't Christians.
Works of Love, along with its companion Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, is one of Kierkegaard's best works. Although this direct discourse is linguistically a lot easier to read than his pseudonymous works, it is (with respect to content) one of his most challenging pieces. The thesis is that it is a duty to love your neighbor. Throughout the 360 page book, Kierkegaard argues that the only disinterested and selfless form of love is love of neighbor. All other forms of love (erotic, friends ...more
A book so soft and delicate and tolerant and close to my heart, that I find it difficult to externalize any sort of detail about it. A book that has confirmed and reinforced my most ardent belief, the element that I appreciate the most when it comes to human relationships/interaction: the most important and the most beautiful thing that a human being can have/give is their heart ('the highest good is to love, then that of being loved').

Kierkegaard encourages us gently ('gently' being of high imp
"...the task is not: to find the lovable object; but the task is: to find the object already given or chosen--lovable, and to be able to continue finding him lovable, no matter how he becomes changed" (158).
Works of Love is a searching exploration of the distinctive and demanding character of Christian love. It is not a "feel good" book but one that might leave you wondering whether you really have loved at all, or loved well.

Kierkegaard begins with the paradox of love's character as both hidden and yet bearing fruit in works of love. He then explores the great command to love neighbor as oneself. He plumbs the challenges of loving a neighbor in all the ways we love ourselves, and the fact that it
Erwet Sie
One of the most beautiful books I've read. This book is novel, provocative and revolutionary. It's strenuous but gentle and mild at the same time. Kierkegaard breathes a new life to many Christian teachings most notably "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39) which becomes the center piece of this book. If you think that Christian teaching has to be dogmatic, inflexible or forceful, try reading this book and you might be proven wrong. Such a beautiful book, not too hard to rea ...more
Kierkegaard expounds on the Christian idea of love, explaining exactly why love, in the Christian sense, has always been, and will remain, a grave offense to the world. Kierkegaard does not have an idea of love that is caressing or coddling; it contains "a sadness which broods over life and is tempered by the eternal." I found the chapters "Love is a Fulfilling of the Law" and "Love is a Matter of Conscience" to be especially enlightening. There was even some humor, though never snide or sarcast ...more
Jack Holden
First philosophy book that I read at age 16.
JP Martinez
Greatest Book I have ever Read.

Before anyone gets into a relationship of any kind, it would be imperative that they read this book with someone they love and talk about what it means for them to continue loving each other.
This book is phenomenal. Everyone should read it who needs to learn how to love others...and that's everyone. My favorite chapters are "Love Hopes All Things" and "Love Believes All Things". READ THIS BOOK!
The Chestertonian (Sarah G)
A series of profound meditations on Christian love. If you never in your life read anything else by Kierkegaard, you should read this book. And then read it again.
Ivan IllusionGuy
Thought this was going to be about how God loves but explained that people love each other in their own way and that some people don't know what love is really like just because they want to be an extremist Melkor guy just to put people to the test.

Everybody knows that this book along with Divine Love and Wisdom by Swedenborg should be something that the government tells everybody to force down their throats. Just to explain what love is really like in a kind of just explain it in simple terms
Robert Foege

Below you will find a person of limited intelligence commenting on the writings of a burning genius. Consider yourself warned.

Kierkegaard is considered the father of existentialism. In a word, if I understand it correctly (and who really does understand existentialism?), this means that he was the first philosopher to incorporate into his philosophy the idea that life is happening right now, and cannot be treated like a static thing. Kierkegaard is a meticulous thinker who is both subtle
J. Mulrooney
There are two Kierkegaards: the philosophical Kierkegaard of "Concluding Unscientific Postscript", "Philosophical Fragments" and others; and the more accessible, devotional Kierkegaard of the upbuilding discourses, "Purity of Heart is To Will One Thing", and this one, "Works of Love."

He's a terrific writer, but (in the philosophical works) a terrific pain in the butt -- always distancing himself from what he's saying. 'I didn't write this, these are the papers of A, found in an old desk'. Or he
Wow. Where to begin? Heavy stuff here, mostly on what it means to love from a Christian perspective.

I'll admit that it took me something like three years to read this book. I would start, get busy with something else, put it down, and start over again, fearful that I would miss something that was predicated on something discussed beforehand. The payoff is worth it though; by the end of the book I was ready to live my life differently than I had before. I'm not saying this book has made me perfec
It has been 10 long months digging through this book. I didn't want to rush through it (even if I could), but I never expected it to take this long.

I don't know if I should blame Kierkegaard or the translators for how difficult the reading was. Nothing was worded simply, and I'm not referring to how complex the philosophical ideas were behind the words. The philosophical complexities were a whole different matter. But the sentence structure and wording were never plain or simple, which made eve
Robert Høgh
”Man tager den christelige Ydmyghed og Selvfornegtelse forfængelig derved, at man vistnok fornegter sig selv i een Henseende, men ikke har Mod til at gjøre det afgjørende, hvorfor man passer paa at blive forstaaet i sin Ydmyghed og i sin Selvfornegtelse, saa man altså bliver agtet og æret for sin Ydmyghed og Selvfornegtelse – hvilket dog vel ikke er Selvfornegtelse.”
Kierkegaard's heavy reliance upon faith as opposed to relying upon argument made parts of his book Works of Love less reasoned than I would've imagined given the acclaim he is given as a philosopher. That said, I really enjoyed the book and certainly agreed with many of his assertions about love and it's importance in our daily lives.
It's a convoluted and slow read, but considering that the whole book is written on the idea of Love as Kierkegaard intreprets Love in "Love thy neighbor as thyself", what else would you expect? Granted it's a non classical interpretation, but a lot of it could be summed up in a few pages, but as with any books on Philosophy, the point needs to be belabored.
While I do not agree with Kierkegaard, his religious ideals are based on being a better human being (as ordered by "God"), rather than focu
It has taken me nearly five years to finish this masterful work - five years of progress that has been at times painstaking or halting, with several resolutions part-way through to just start over again at the beginning to build up momentum. Now, looking back on it as a whole, I can say confidently that this is a book to which I will be returning over and over again in my life, to draw inspiration and encouragement from Kierkegaard's meditations on this most important topic. I do not agree with ...more
Jack Allen
Works of Love is one of the most subtle and intelligent books in Christian and existentialist ethics. Anyone who regards themselves as either should aim to read at least large chunks of this book.
Melissa Ginther
More of a philosophy book, definitely need to understand basic philosophical colloquial in order to make it an easy read. Very detailed and does an excellent treatment of the greatest commandment.
Dan Dark
Jun 12, 2007 Dan Dark rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Humanists, idealistic Christians, philosophy majors
A lengthy collection of works by Soren Kierkegaard on one topic, love. However in true philosophic fashion the tangential discussions uncover a deeper meaning behind the love humans are capable of the the love received from a loving God. It was particularly difficult for me to wrap my head around and I often had to re-read chapters and take notes in the margins. But I have always felt that reading something in the limits of your comprehension gives you an intimate relationship with the work as y ...more
Totally profound. Never read the unpacking of 'love your neighbour' like this before.
Equality is loving your neighbour, he says, without distinction.
Ronnie Cohen
It'll be a sad day, when I run out of new Soren Kierkegaard books to read. :)
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 97 98 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Humanity of God
  • Dynamics of Faith
  • Basic Writings of Existentialism
  • The Will to Believe, Human Immortality, and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy
  • Unspoken Sermons: Series I, II, III
  • Waiting for God
  • The Complete Works: The Revised Oxford Translation, Vol. 2
  • Ethics (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Vol. 6)
  • The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why Is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?
  • Philosophy of Existence
  • Theology of Hope
  • The Philosophy of Existentialism
  • The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of the Nazi Leadership
  • Major Works: Selected Philosophical Writings
  • The Trinity
  • Summa Contra Gentiles: Book 1: God
  • Abnormal: Lectures at the College de France, 1974-75
  • The Christian Tradition 2: The Spirit of Eastern Christendom 600-1700
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. Kierkegaard strongly criticised both the Hegelianism of his time and what he saw as the empty formalities of the Church of Denmark. Much of his work deals with religious themes such as faith in God, the institution of the Christian Church, Christian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individua ...more
More about Søren Kierkegaard...

Share This Book

“With respect to love we speak continually about perfection and the perfect person. With respect to love Christianity also speaks continually about perfection and the perfect person. Alas, but we men talk about finding the perfect person in order to love him. Christianity speaks about being the perfect person who limitlessly loves the person he sees.” 23 likes
“When one has once fully entered the realm of love, the world — no matter how imperfect — becomes rich and beautiful, it consists solely of opportunities for love.” 18 likes
More quotes…