THE 349 The Authentic Self- Augustine, Kierkegaard and Heidegger (3 credits)
The course will start with Augustine’s classic literary self-analysis in
The Confessionsand will highlight the major categories of self analysis that emerge. It will also seek to interpret Augustine’s tale of conversion within the context of the times, and in light of A.D. Nock’s classic study of early Christian conversion patterns. The course will then shift from the 5
thCentury to the 19
thCentury (and ultimately to the 20
st) as it briefly explores excerpts from Kierkegaard’s
Either/Or, volume 1 (taken from his personal journals) and his proto-psychoanalytical novella
Repetition. It will then center on Kierkegaard’s analysis of authentic and inauthentic being (despair) in
The Sickness Unto Death, a work essentially about the problem of willing to be one’s self, after which it will review Augustine and Either/Or once again in light of the categories of The Sickness Unto Death. The Sickness Unto Death will attempt to be read as in part an abstraction of The Confessions and an extended analysis of and meditation on their central psychological points. Excerpts from Heidegger’s
Being and Timewill also be referenced and included, insofar as they analyze and clarify, in secular existentialist language, the phenomena of inauthentic existence and the move toward authentic existence (but do so in a way that theologians such as Karl Rahner immediately recognized as paralleling, if not merely translating, classic Christian categories of conversion.
Level 3, cross-listed with PHL 349.