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Villanova Professor’s Latest Book is a Guide to All Things Kierkegaard

"Historical Dictionary of Kierkegaard’s Philosophy, Second Edition" book cover

VILLANOVA, PA -- Søren Kierkegaard is widely regarded as the founder of Christian psychology, existential psychology and therapy. His Socratic approach—with its focus on the individual—is still relevant today, and the past 25 years have yielded an abundance of new research on the Danish philosopher.

Historical Dictionary of Kierkegaard’s Philosophy, Second Edition (Lanham, MD; Rowman & Littlefield, 2022), a new book by Villanova University’s Christopher Barnett, PhD, professor of Theology and Religious Studies, reflects the renewed interest in Kierkegaard over the past quarter century and serves as a single-volume reference guide to all things Kierkegaard.

Designed to be a resource for students, researchers and anyone wanting to know more about the great Danish thinker, the entirely new dictionary—which follows a 2001 volume by a different author—chronicles Kierkegaard’s life and thoughts and offers an extensive scope, including a glossary of concepts, people and places related to Kierkegaard’s authorship.

“My goal, in short, was to produce a single-volume reference guide that would be a good introduction for those who are new to the field and—at the same time—serve as a handy reference guide to seasoned researchers who don’t want to dig through the mountains of research on Kierkegaard that have come out in the last few decades,” Dr. Barnett says.

The book is the latest volume on Kierkegaard by Dr. Barnett, whose scholarly interests also include Christian spirituality, German philosopher Martin Heidegger, the philosophy of technology, and the intersection of theology and culture.

Christopher Barnett, PhD

“I’ve written so much about Kierkegaard for two reasons. First, I was fortunate to hit a ‘vein’ in Kierkegaard research that had been previously underexplored—namely, his links to the Christian mystical tradition,” he says. “My area of expertise has given me a number of opportunities to write on and to advance Kierkegaardiana. And yet, I also continue to write on Kierkegaard because he still ‘speaks’ to me. In recent years I’ve begun investigating his analysis of modern society, with particular focus on his understanding of mass media, technology and the state. I believe Kierkegaard can help shed light on our current situation, which—needless to say—is full of challenges.”

Dr. Barnett’s seven books include Søren Kierkegaard: Discourses and Writings on SpiritualityThe Classics of Western Spirituality (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2019); Scorsese and Religion, edited with Clark J. Elliston (Leiden: Brill, 2019); Kierkegaard and the Question Concerning Technology (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2019); Theology and the Films of Terrence Malick, edited with Clark J. Elliston (London: Routledge, 2016); From Despair to Faith: The Spirituality of Søren Kierkegaard (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014); and Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness (Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2011).

Dr. Barnett has a forthcoming book in 2023, Bob Dylan and the Stages of Existence (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield). He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:  Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.