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Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  458 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The purpose of this new collection is two fold. First, to make Kierkegaard accessible; second, to present in as concise a way possible his "heart," his core themes, and his passion. Divided into six sections, Provocations contains a little of everything from Kierkegaard's prodigious output, including his famously cantankerous (yet wryly humorous) attacks on what he calls ...more
Paperback, 429 pages
Published November 1st 2003 by Orbis Books (first published 1999)
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Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Soren Kierkegaard's radical idea: what would happen if someone were to introduce Christianity to.... Christians?

He doesn't actually state it as such but that is the essential thrust of the writings collected in this volume. His work is an antidote to a factory assembly line version of Christianity; a reminder that spirituality is not outwardly conforming to a certain manner of life (ritual) or inwardly acquiescing to a certain set of intellectual propositions (theology) but is instead a lived
Ken Kuhlken
Oct 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Provocations. Soren Kierkegaard, Charles E. Moore editor

Of all the enlightening ideas I have encountered, a few special items never go far from my mind.

One of them is the position Soren Kierkegaard took in regard to churches. He considered them dangerous, essentially because Christ called people to live in opposition to the ways of the world, which arise out of human nature. But churches long ago became and continue to be collaborators with the world. To survive, they need to compromise with the
Mar 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
fallen in to the pile of 4star books... i wish they had decimals b/c it's more like 4.8 (i don't like to give 5).

read it slowly in small bits to prevent what he says from becoming bitter aphorisms, and more like sharp shards of truth that need time to sink in. he's like the intense, depressing friend who's hard to take in large doses, but he's that way because he has a very clear look at the world around him. we need people like him.
Nathan Schneider
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kierkegaard
I've read a few books that I return to more than others because of their content and the pleasure of reading them. This book will be one. Kierkegaard writes as one who holds nothing back, but rather writes as if everything were in his journal. Provocations is convicting and hopeful for the Christian. Read it slowly (as if you had a choice)!
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
Kierkegaard has to be one of the most consistently insightful authors I have ever read. To that end, Provocations is an indispensable collection of his religious writings. His comments are so profound, so searching, so sharp and biting, that it is impossible to read this book as a Christian and not feel at once challenged to admit your own hypocrisy. As you read his critique of Christendom, I guarantee you will find yourself saying, 'Yes, that is me. I am like that.' But its not all negative. He ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Provocations is one of the best books I have read on the faith in a long while. It seemed that each chapter brought to light some part of my heart that I was holding in reserve from God. Kierkegaard encourages us to go forth, have faith, dare to follow God--say no to the dumbed down version of Christianity which so many embrace. This book is so full of rich truth.

Some favorite quotes:
"[Jesus did not want to form a party, an interest group, a mass movement, but wanted to be what he was, the
Federico Trejos
Jun 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The fork as they called him is a very very deep and complex and extremely precise thinker, besides his spiritual aspects of Christianity that determine almost all his works, obviously this one. This holds a review and compilation of the spiritual aspects in all his work. He is a genius, meaning he is utmost unique, and doesn't think, rather lives his truths, as he said, that is why it is so vital, even on a plain philosophical side. All the aspects of human pathos, emotion, agony, despair, ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
"The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”

“The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism – no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet.”
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is deeply convicting... I don't how you can pick up kierkegaard and not be moved intellectually and spiritually. He is stimulating, focused, and pragmatic without being preachy. He is socratic without abstraction. He is tormented, yet moved by love. Pick this book up. You can even find a free ebook version of it online through bruderhof, I believe, the former publisher. A true treasure.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first foray into Kierkegaard. His pugilistic style is captivating. His stories and parables not only memorable but clear and concise. And his critique of the church which has transmogrified itself into an institution is as contemporary today as ever. I’m looking forward to reading more.
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Profound, deep but it's like having appetisers, I'm going after the main meal now.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
The crowd is the enemy of truth; to know the truth is to live the truth as an individual; the way to salvation is to stand alone before God. In standing alone before God, a person becomes aware of God and then sees himself as he really is: inadequate and helpless to change. Each person should therefore aspire to Christian individuality in "fear and trembling."

Because we are helpless to change, we need God. "To need God is nothing to be ashamed of, but is perfection itself.... A human being is
Joy Matteson
Easy digestible pieces of Kierkegaard's thoughts on life, God, and human relationships. I really appreciated the short chapters that allowed the reader time to take in the chewier pieces of "meat" that often defines Kierkegaard's lines of thought. I've been quoting him so much lately, especially this section:
"When a believer sins, he or she is still loved by God. God longs for them to know this, and is thus concerned to make them equal to himself. If equality cannot be established, love becomes
J. Ewbank
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-good-read, religion
I have read a few books by Kierkegaard, but this book was ble to sum up his thinking in a marvelous way. I totally enjoyed reading this book because the full scoope of Kierkegaard was on display. Anyone wating to become familiar with his thinking will find this book useful. It is a solid book, chock full of interesting passages.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" and "To Whom It May Concern"
Jordan Magnuson
May 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Kierkegaard is like fire, burning, cleansing... making life harder, and better. Someone to go back to again and again and again. This anthology is not bad as an introductory text, though I much prefer reading deep thinkers like K in their full original context... still, the selections are not so small as to be useless.
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This guy is crazy! So funny.

Can't wait tor ead it!
Luke Campbell
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has been a companion for many years. Every so often I would pick it up off of the shelf and read a few pages, because only a few pages would be enough to fill my feeble mind for the rest of the day or even week. It's a challenging book, not because the concepts are hard to understand, but because they are so hard to follow. The calls to action are not for the faint of heart. The lessons and commentaries he makes of the world, and especially of the state church at the time, feel as ...more
Michael Battistone
One of the best books I have read! This is an anthology of selections of Kierkegaard's writings, rather than one of his complete works. I think this has been a good place for me to start; though I am interested in reading him more deeply, his thinking and language is dense and requires a high level of sustained focus. It is difficult to believe he lived 200 years ago. His words are not only relevant to life in contemporary, post-modern culture, but are urgently needed, just as challenging, and ...more
Thom Behrens
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Do not read this all at once. Super harsh, super convicting, super flagellating. Makes God's love seem all the more huge, but only by pointing out how terrible we are.

Not for everyone.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The assembled excerpts were a bit all over the map, but it was an informative review of Kierkegaard's doctrine – or more accurately, his critique of doctrine.
May 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolute best introduction to Kierkegaard and his thoughts.
Get a free PDF on the Plough Publishing website.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book on Christianity and philosophy
Ashwin Nadar
The world would certainly be a better place if Christians stopped reading their Bibles for a week and instead read this masterpiece. Kierkegaard interprets the Bible on a totally different level, unhinged by any sort of parochialism.
While I'm no Christian, but I must attest that Kierkegaard's work not only justifies what Christianity should be but a religious life should be. He understands the human spirit profoundly and makes compelling arguments in the lines of Faith, Inwardness, Certitude and
Christine Keegan
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a well-worn volume on my shelves. I go back to it from time to time and always gain some new insight or idea from its pages. I grew to love Kierkegaard through this work.
Jon Gill
Soulful, intellectual, and spiritually challenging.

It was a delight to spend the summer reading Kierkegaard every morning. He certainly thinks like me, and the combination of philosopher and prophet spoke depth to me each day. This book itself is a great construction in many ways, since it is a collection arranged into smaller entries, which makes Kierkegaard much more accessible and indeed applicable to one’s daily thoughts, reflections, and actions. I treated it like a “devotional,” perhaps
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Kierkegaard had anxiety and depression and it's apparent when reading this book. He seems ticked off at the world and begrudging people who are happy, basically saying that if you're not suffering, something is wrong with you. He is the father of fideism (faith > reason), and embodies the belief that we should believe in Jesus just because it's crazy, a caricature of faith that modern atheists like Richard Dawkins like to exploit.

So why do I like this mentally unstable mofaux so much? Because
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard is one of those edited collections of spiritual classics that is, itself, destined to become a classic. Here, Kierkegaard speaks at his finest, his clearest, his most accessible, in a way that is meant not only to inform -- but to transform.

This book is one that readers will find themselves transformed by the Jesus Kierkegaard knows and of which Kierkegaard writes. This isn't a book that contains simply more information about the spiritual life.
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
As nice an introduction to Kierkegaard's spiritual writings as I could want. I am not a theologian; I don't have the patience or time to delve deeply into Kierkegaard's writings, but through a series of selections on various topics, I feel I am not able to speak intelligently about his work. The book closes with a series of short quotes on various topics. Not really for reading through, I would think, but to have handy just in case: "Now what would Soren say about that?"

The book provides another
Oliver Bateman
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Kierkegaard's intense inward-looking religiosity seems to arise out of self-loathing, which makes it relatable for most of us navel-gazers, religious or not. There's some brilliant stuff in here about the problems of the herd, the failures of modernity, the falseness and hypocrisy of "Christendom," and the need to seek absolute subjective truth (for serious, bro--absolute subjective truth!). It's also a fantastic Kierkegaardian vade mecum; combine this with the beautifully illustrated Parables ...more
Paul Newby
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If your a philosophical type but still undecided on the big issues of meaning, the subjective world and God, then this book just might make you a believer! I found myself warming very strongly to Kierkegaard's ideas which tally with some of the stuff Jordan Peterson talks very lucidly about these days. Truth is subjective and based on a moral order perhaps?
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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 ...more
“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.” 918 likes
“The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.” 172 likes
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