Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jones, John D.

Second Advisor

Adams, Noel

Third Advisor

South, James B.


This project presents a comparative philosophical approach to understanding key elements in the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard by juxtaposing his works with the philosophy and theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church.. The primary aim of the project is to look at three key areas of Kierkegaard’s philosophy that have been either underrepresented or misunderstood in the literature. These three areas are: Kierkegaard’s views on sin and salvation, Kierkegaard’s epistemology, and Kierkegaard’s philosophy of personhood. The dissertation ends with an epilogue that briefly explores a further area where this comparative approach might provide fruitful results, namely Kierkegaard’s views on collective worship. I argue that the revolutionary nature of Kierkegaard’s break with prevalent views in the Western Christian traditions (Protestantism and Roman Catholicism) have not always been fully appreciated due to the fact that he is most often read through the lens of either Western Christianity or the Western philosophical traditions that he came to influence (e.g. existentialism and post-modernism). Viewing Kierkegaard in light of the Eastern Christian tradition offers a new interpretive lens that highlights the extent to which Kierkegaard aimed to break free from standard Western accounts of sin and salvation, knowledge of God, and human personhood.