The Works Of Love

Kierkegaard's theology of hope thus anticipates the third term in the trilogy of passions that pre-eminently characterize the Christian life, namely love, which for Kierkegaard is the only thing that makes life worth living and is the only true sign that one is a Christian (WL 375). Kierkegaard's most substantive contribution to Christian thought is perhaps to be found in Works of Love (1847), in which Christian love is profoundly probed in distinction from pagan, worldly, natural, and merely human forms of love such as erotic love and friendship.23 There really is nothing comparable to this work in the history of Christian thought, yet it is still relatively unknown and unexplored in contemporary Christian theology and ethics. Here, however, I shall touch on only a few of the main themes and distinctions of this work, particularly as they relate to two budding sociopolitical movements of the time, namely communism and the emancipation of women.

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