Kierkegaard on Religious Authority

Faith and Philosophy 17 (1):48-67 (2000)
Abstract
This paper explores the important role authority plays in the religious thought of Søren Kierkegaard. In contrast to dominant modes of thought in both modern and postmodern philosophy, Kierkegaard considers the religious authority inherent in a special revelation from God to be the fundamental source of religious truth. The question as to how a genuine religious authority can be recognized is particularly difficult for Kierkegaard, since rational evaluation of authorities could be seen as a rejection of that authority in favor of the authority of reason. However, I argue that Kierkegaard does offer criteria for recognizing a genuine religious authority. I explore these criteria and try to show they are helpful, but I argue that there is no principled reason he should not accept other criteria he rejects, such as the criterion of miracles. In conclusion, I suggest that both the criteria offered by Kierkegaard and the method by which they are derived require us to question certain Enlightenment views as to what should count as “rational.”
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Citations of this work BETA
John Lippitt (2008). What Neither Abraham nor Johannes de Silentio Could Say. Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 82 (1):79-99.
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