Kierkegaard versus Kierkegaard
Can Johannes' perspective amend Kierkegaard's?
At the end of the previous chapter I suggested that the attempt to resolve the tension in Works of Love should lead us back to Fear and Trembling. But before explaining how Fear and Trembling can help in addressing the problem of Works of Love, a methodological explanation is needed. After all, while Fear and Trembling was published pseudonymously, Works of Love was published under Kierkegaard's name, and thus may seem to more adequately represent his understanding of love (and faith). What is the justification, then, for using an earlier, pseudonymous work (which allegedly can be seen as further and more differentiated from his own views) to amend Kierkegaard's signed words?
My answer in the following section will be twofold. First, I claim that Kierkegaard's use of pseudonyms should not necessarily be interpreted as indicative of a less valid (or reliable) point of view. Second, even if it is thus interpreted, the interesting question is not so much the relationship between the biographical man Kierkegaard and his ideas, but rather the relationship between his expressed ideas themselves. To put it differently, from the perspective of this study, the relevant question is less ‘What did Kierkegaard himself really say?’ – given his complex strategy of writing this question may never be adequately answered – and more ‘What should Kierkegaard have said had he been consistent and faithful to the inner harmony of his own ideas?’
Kierkegaard and his different voices
Kierkegaard the writer exists for the reader solely in the diaspora of his works and is not to be approached as a historical personality whom we have to excavate from beneath the rubble of words he has left behind him.