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Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism$
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Stephen Backhouse

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199604722

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199604722.001.0001

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Nationalism, Christianity and Kierkegaard

Nationalism, Christianity and Kierkegaard

(p.1) 1 Nationalism, Christianity and Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard's Critique of Christian Nationalism

Stephen Backhouse

Oxford University Press

The first chapter begins by examining the issue of nations and nationalisms. It considers the symbolic and narrative nature of nationalism and looks at the quasi‐theological currents that lie at the heart of national constructions. This leads to a discussion of present‐day instances of Christian nationalism, most notably as found in current American religious and political culture. The chapter then considers specific examples of where Kierkegaard's philosophy has already either been used to support nationalist ideologies, or in opposition to them with special attention paid to the work of Schmitt, Dooley and Westphal. Since no Kierkegaardian critique of religious nationalism has yet been extensively elucidated, it is hoped that, by considering Kierkegaard's political import together with his Christian concerns and intended Christian audience, an additional element and strength of his social critique will become more fully apparent.

Keywords:   Kierkegaard, national identity, history of nationalism, American nationalism, religious nationalism, Schmitt, Dooley, Westphal

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