Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
P. Travis Kroeker
This thesis brings the work of Soren Kierkegaard into conversation with Orthodox theology in order to explore the question of love as an iconic bond between eternity and the temporal. Though Kierkegaard's account of human love stands in stark contrast to certain Orthodox readings on exactly the matter of iconic possibility, I turn to the Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in order to argue for a conception of the icon as indirect in ways that complicate easy distinctions between eastern and western traditions of Christianity. I suggest that Dostoevsky's iconologic sensibilities are predicated on a conception of faith characteristic of Kierkegaard, wherein God's self-communication in Christ passes through offense at the paradoxical lowliness by which the divine is revealed. An image does not draw its beholder into the divine life directly, by virtue of some immediate capacity to attract or compel, but indirectly through a relation in faith to the fullness of the hidden source that the image makes so partially visible. I argue that Kierkegaard's Works of Love can be read in terms of this iconic movement, and that the iconology of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov can be read in terms of this indirectness. So read, both Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky offer an account of love that forms hearts so as to see eternity's image amidst the broken, patterned after the self-giving of God's own love in the abasement of Christ.
Derksen, Kevin J.L., "Love and the Indirect Icon: Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky and Christian Erotics" (2009). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 4595.
McMaster University Library