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dc.contributor.advisorTorrance, Andrew
dc.contributor.advisorEvans, C. Stephen
dc.contributor.authorSchuessler, Katherine
dc.coverage.spatial127 p.en_US
dc.description.abstractIt has become increasingly accepted that, for Kierkegaard, theology and spirituality are practices that cannot be separated from one another. It has also been long acknowledged that Kierkegaard was a man of prayer, one who penned vivid prayers in both his journals and many of his published writings. Yet, little investigation has been done into how Kierkegaard’s theology shapes his understanding of prayer, nor how his understanding of prayer relates to his theology. This dissertation aims to address this lacuna by drawing together what Kierkegaard does say about prayer in a few of his published writings on James 1 and Matthew 6—writings which identify some of the chief theological underpinnings to prayer in Kierkegaard’s thinking. Beginning with his three James 1:17-22 upbuilding discourses published within ‘Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses’, Chapter 1 offers an analysis of Kierkegaard’s understanding of God the Father. Through James 1:17-22 Kierkegaard establishes a paterology that describes the Father as an unchanging Giver who always gives good and perfect gifts, the greatest of which is himself. Chapters 2 and 3 then look at two of Kierkegaard’s Matthew 6:24-34 discourses, which carry the bulk of Kierkegaard’s published comments on prayer. Chapter 2 looks at 1848’s ‘The Cares of the Pagans’, where Kierkegaard articulates that a Christian’s praying is the very thing that makes her a Christian. Chapter 3 then analyzes what Kierkegaard means by “to pray aright is to become silent” within 1849’s ‘The Lily in the Field and the Bird of the Air’. There prayer is something that begins in silence in order to listen to God, and is how an individual seeks first the kingdom of heaven. The last chapter, Chapter 4, brings the threads of the previous chapters together and provides the beginning of an account of Kierkegaard’s theology of prayer. To pray is to struggle with the heavenly Father’s unchanging love, yet on the basis of the Father’s gift of Jesus Christ and gift of the Spirit as one’s helper. For Kierkegaard, God is the giver and the receiver, and the reason and the motive, for all prayer.en_US
dc.subjectTheology of prayeren_US
dc.subjectNineteenth centuryen_US
dc.subjectGospel of Matthewen_US
dc.subjectEpistle of Jamesen_US
dc.subjectEighteen Upbuilding Discoursesen_US
dc.subjectChristian spiritualityen_US
dc.subjectChristian Discoursesen_US
dc.subjectModern theologyen_US
dc.subjectChristian theologyen_US
dc.subjectSøren Kierkegaarden_US
dc.titleTowards a theology of prayer in the thought of Søren Kierkegaarden_US
dc.type.qualificationnameMPhil Master of Philosophyen_US
dc.publisher.institutionThe University of St Andrewsen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonThesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Restricted until 5th August 2026en

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