Selflessness as Sin: Kierkegaard and Feminist Theological Critiques of Self-Sacrifice

(See English below)

1Föstudaginn 10. janúar flytur Deidre Green, doktor í trúarbragðafræði frá Claremont Graduate háskóla og nýdoktor hjá Søren Kierkegaard rannsóknasetri í Kaupmannahöfn, fyrirlestur sem ber heitið „Selflessness as Sin: Kierkegaard and Feminist Theological Critiques of Self-Sacrifice”. Fyrirlesturinn fer fram á ensku í fyrirlestrasal Þjóðminjasafnsins, kl. 12:00-13:00.

Femínískir guðfræðingar hafa gagnrýnt framsetningu kristninnar á fórnfýsi sem dyggð og bent á alvarlegar afleiðingar þess á líf og stöðu kvenna.  Ein þeirra, Mary Daly,  heldur því fram að slík upphafning á fórnfýsi sé í raun syndsamleg. Heimspekingurinn Søren Kierkegaard leit einnig svo á að óhófleg fórnfýsi væri ein tegund syndar. Í fyrirlestrinum mun Green bera saman skilning Kierkegaards á fórnfýsi við skrif femínískra guðfræðinga um efnið.

Fyrirlesturinn er haldinn í samstarfi við Þjóðminjasafn Íslands.

Öll velkomin! 

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On Friday 10 January 2014, Deidre Green, PhD in Religion from Claremont Graduate University and post-doctoral researcher at the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark, will give a public talk entitled “Selflessness as Sin: Kierkegaard and Feminist Theological Critiques of Self-Sacrifice”. The lecture will be held at the National Museum, Lecture Hall, at 12:00-13:00.

Abstract:

Feminist theologians make wide-ranging critiques of self-sacrifice, but their critiques make clear that, at best, women are inordinately affected and harmed by Christianity’s valorization of self-sacrifice and that at worst, this traditional Christian value is inherently misogynistic and necrophilic. Some, such as Mary Daly, deny the value of selflessness so heavily as to deem it a sin. Daly faults Christianity for encouraging excessive self-sacrifice in women and rejects Christianity for this reason. Nineteenth-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard also considers excessive selflessness to be a form of sin in his pseudonymous work, The Sickness Unto Death. Kierkegaard’s pseudonym Anti-Climacus identifies masculine and feminine forms of despair, which resonate with—and presage—feminist arguments. Yet unlike many radical feminists, he maintains that Christianity is precisely the means to redeeming this sin. In her talk, Green will show that Kierkegaard sympathizes with feminist critiques of selflessness, yet his vision of full self-realization occurs within Christian theology and practice, rather than by rejecting it. Ultimately, his argument against selflessness and self-sacrifice resonates with feminist approaches to philosophy of religion and theology, which claim that the fundamental moral obligation of human beings is to become divine.