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Title: International Kierkegaard Commentary, Volume 16: Works of Love
Author: Kierkegaard, Soren Robert L Perkins (ed)
Publisher: Mercer University Press; Publication Date: 1999
Hardcover; ISBN: 9780865546851
Volumes: 1; Pages: 192
List Price in Cloth: $50.00 Our price: $50.00
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To claim that Works of Love is an important philosophical essay is to assume hazardous burden of proof. The book's title is an allusion to the Bible's injunction that we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves, a far cry, far instance, from Diotoma's ladder of erotic desire up which we climb from the love of bodies until we catch a vision of that "single sea of beauty," beauty itself (Plato, Symposium). This contrast, given that some of some of our neighbors may not be particularly likable or one may even be a determined enemy, suggests immediately to some that a book with such an obviously religious title must be excessively moralistic and, at best, full of sermon helps for the harried clergy or, at worst, laden with rules for the unlearned laity. A casual perusal of a few paragraphs, however, shows these "put-down" views of the book to be unfounded.Works of Love is a deep and rich book, one that deserves to be widely read and reflected upon. However, the aim of Kierkegaard's labor is not to increase reflection, though that may itself be a work of love, but rather to increase the works of love directed to the flesh-and-blood neighbor, the walking-down-the-street variety of human being.