The Wisdom of Kierkegaard:
A Collection of Quotations on Faith and Life
Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2009
Tucked away in the complicated prose that fills many of Soren Kierkegaard's books
are numerous insightful declarations. They arrest the reader with their depth of
understanding. They often are expressed in a lilting and lyrical manner. Encountering
them makes working through the intricate prose eminently worthwhile.
The Wisdom of Kierkegaard contains two hundred fifty such passages, chosen partly
because of their ability to be understood apart from their context and partly because of
their ability to provoke an "Ah! That's true" response. Many of them contain a "twist" that
imparts an incisive jab. Some are on themes for which Kierkegaard is well known, but
many are on a variety of other significant themes. The passages are organized in
alphabetical sections, which are introduced by brief essays.
“Here Clifford Williams, who is himself a fine philosopher, has judiciously selected a
host of insightful, provocative, and sometimes humorous quotations from Kierkegaard.
A fine introduction to Kierkegaard's thought and a wonderful resource even for those
who know Kierkegaard's writing well. Williams reminds those of us who love Kierkegaard
why we continue to do so."
—C. Stephen Evans
University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities
From the book:
FEAR AND TREMBLING:
Every human being is to live in fear and trembling, and likewise no established order is to
be exempted from fear and trembling. Fear and trembling signify that we are in the process
of becoming; and every single individual, likewise the generation, is and should be aware
of being in the process of becoming (Practice in Christianity, 88).
True greatness is equally accessible to all (Fear and Trembling, 81).
LOVING THE WEAK:
The sagacious person thinks, foolishly, that one wastes one's love by loving imperfect,
weak people; I should think that this is applying one's love, making use of it (Works of
From the translations by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, published by Princeton University Press. © Princeton
“Kierkegaard is largely missing in American religion. I don't think there's enough brooding
going on.” – Alan Wolfe in an interview in Books and Culture (March/April, 2004), p. 19.
Also by Clifford Williams: