“On the way where a man follows Christ, the height of suffering is the height of glory.” So writes Kierkegaard, long considered the father of existentialism, in his comprehensive explanation of how suffering in all its forms is transformed into joy by faith in God. As an integral part of his ‘Edifying Discourses’, Gospel of Sufferings bears witness to Kierkegaard’s transition from a general religious and philosophical standpoint to a specifically Christian one, forming what is now considered a central plank in the structure of his mature thought. In this classic volume, the great Danish thinker brings together elements that show him to be at once a mystic and a theologian, confirming his status as a precursor of the existentialists and a brilliant philosopher in his own right.
Translated by A.S. Aldworth and W.S. Ferrie.
The theme [of these discourses] is our sufferings. It is also the gospel that pertains to, and is appropriate to, our sufferings. It is in the realm of faith, and though this gospel that is the peculiar property of those who suffer, that sufferings are found to contain joys. We may say therefore that it is the purpose of this volume to disclose the meaning in the most meaningless element of life. Which might be held to be quite a good definition of the Christian faith.
From the Translators’ Introduction
I. What is involved in the concept of following Christ; in particular, what joy is involved in it?
II. How can the burden indeed be light, since suffering is heavy?
III. The joy in the thought that the school of sufferings forms us for eternity.
IV. The joy in the thought that before God a man is always accounted guilty.
V. The joy in the thought that it is not the way that is narrow, but narrowness is the way.
VI. The joy in the thought that even when time’s suffering is heaviest eternity’s blessedness still outweighs it.
VII. The joy in the thought that in the midst of suffering, courage can wrest from the world its power,
and can turn contempt to honour, disaster to triumph.
Endorsements and Reviews
The profoundest interpreter of the psychology of the religious, in my opinion, since St. Augustine.
Kierkegaard’s talents were so many, his thoughts so ordered, that he is truly a genius in the service of evangelical and heartfelt Christian faith. This book discerns the work of our Lord and the joy of our daily life even in our sufferings, thereby bringing testimony to the odd fact that even adversities serve Him. But to see it for oneself and in all of the hard cases, this is what his book helps us to do. Rather than an extravaganza of thought, this work is a lesson in disciplining ourselves, reflectively of course, to discover the hidden joys in the Christian life.
Paul L. Holmer, Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale Divinity School