History of European Ideas 47 (3):514-527 (2021)

Abstract
ABSTRACT This article engages Frater Taciturnus’s ‘Letter to the Reader’ to argue for a religious aesthetics in Kierkegaard. This religious aesthetics is designed to purify the passions and help the believer ‘see’ the religious ideal, but also to confront the aesthetic spectator with the religious reality of her own situation. My claim for this revised reading of religious poetics in Kierkegaard derives from Taciturnus’s view of a superior form of religious ideality that comes ‘after actuality’. This ideality is not an envisioned ideal that is untested by actuality and thus ‘illusory’ but an ideal that is graspable only after the self has acknowledged the actuality of their sinful condition, rather than any specific actual sin. To appreciate this form of ideality, Frater Taciturnus repeatedly resorts to visual metaphors and the power of imagination, suggesting that the religious ideal must be ‘seen’ with a sort of synoptic vision capable of looking past both comedy and tragedy and resulting in the purification of our typical affective responses to aesthetic objects. Seeing in this way, the individual imaginatively engages in religious aesthetics and grasps the religious ideality by affirming the actuality of their own sinfulness and receiving forgiveness for that sinfulness.
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DOI 10.1080/01916599.2020.1799560
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References found in this work BETA

Kierkegaard's Concepts: Psychological Experiment.Martijn Boven - 2015 - In Jon Stewart, Steven M. Emmanuel & William McDonald (eds.), Kierkegaard's Concepts. Tome V: Objectivity to Sacrifice. Ashgate. pp. 159-165.
Kierkegaard and German Idealism.Lore Hühn & Philipp Schwab - 2013 - In John Lippitt & George Pattison (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard. Oxford University Press.
Kierkegaard and Romanticism.William McDonald - 2013 - In John Lippitt & George Pattison (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Kierkegaard. Oxford University Press. pp. 94.
Must Reflection Be Stopped? Can It Be Stopped?Paul Cruysberghs - 2003 - In Paul Cruysberghs, Johan Taels & Karl Verstrynge (eds.), Immediacy and Reflection in Kierkegaard's Thought. Leuven University Press. pp. 11--24.

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