A Dane's Philosophical Attack and a Monk's Ladder: Comparing Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragment and St. John Climacus' Ladder of Divine Ascent

Chasen David Robbins
Soren Kierkegaard's Philosophical Fragments and Concluding Unscientific Postscript have been extremely impactful in 20th century Western theological and philosophical thought. In a similar manner, St. John Klimakos, from whom Kierkegaard derives the pseudonym Johannes Climacus, who wrote The Ladder of Divine Ascent, is one of the most "studied, copied, and translated" books in Eastern Christendom. Johannes Climacus, the pseudonym for the two Kierkegaard works above, is a
more » ... logical/philosophical opponent to Hegelian thought. St. John Klimakos, a real person, is a 6th century monk who hopes to assist monks on their journey to God with a manual about the thirty steps of a ladder. While many ( e.g. Muench, Barret, and Vipperman) have written on who Soren Kierkegaard's Johannes Climacus is as a pseudonymous author, no one has endeavored to look at the text Kierkegaard derives his pseudonym from. This paper gives a brief overview on the current Johannes Climacus scholarship and summarizes the Fragment and The Ladder of Divine Ascent. After it will specifically look at five shared ideas between the two works: an interlocutor, humility, the moment, indirect communication, and complicatedness in soteriology. Having displayed the shared themes, it concludes that St. John Klimalrns did indeed have an impact on Soren Kierkegaard's Johannes Climacus. Finally it ends with a rereading of the pseudonym Johannes Climacus and a new way of seeing Soren Kierkegaard. Climacus, having shared so many themes with Klimakos, can be seen as having monastic father purposes and uses his philosophical methods to .bring people a real experience with God. Soren Kierkegaard, being very alike to his own pseudonym Johannes Climacus, may be viewed as monk intent on reintroducing Christianity into Denmark.
doi:10.26076/0104-03c5 fatcat:jlld3xivezhhvjy74jxsooc3f4