In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells his followers to let go of earthly concerns by considering the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. Søren Kierkegaard's short masterpiece on this famous gospel passage draws out its vital lessons for readers in a rapidly modernizing and secularizing world. Trenchant, brilliant, and written in stunningly lucid prose, The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air (1849) is one of Kierkegaard's most important books. Presented here in a fresh new translation with an informative introduction, this profound yet accessible work serves as an ideal entrée to an essential modern thinker.
The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air reveals a less familiar but deeply appealing side of the father of existentialism—unshorn of his complexity and subtlety, yet supremely approachable. As Kierkegaard later wrote of the book, "Without fighting with anybody and without speaking about myself, I said much of what needs to be said, but movingly, mildly, upliftingly."
This masterful edition introduces one of Kierkegaard's most engaging and inspiring works to a new generation of readers.
Bruce H. Kirmmse is one of the world's leading Kierkegaard translators and scholars. He is the author of Kierkegaard in Golden Age Denmark, the editor of Encounters with Kierkegaard (Princeton), and the general editor of Princeton's eleven-volume edition of Kierkegaard's Journals and Notebooks. He is also the translator of Joakim Garff's acclaimed Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography (Princeton).
"A gorgeous stand-alone edition. . . . What's most striking about Three Godly Discourses is its gentle, graceful simplicity."--Will Rees, Times Literary Supplement
"Kirmmse's new translation of Kierkegaard's homiletical reflections on Matthew 6:24-34 captures the sermons' beauty and gravitas."--The Christian Century
"This accessible volume should be helpful to students of Kierkegaard or theology."--Choice
"This is one of Kierkegaard's most profound, affecting, and accessible works, and Bruce Kirmmse's magisterial translation perfectly captures both the letter and spirit of this amazing text."--Gordon Marino, editor of The Quotable Kierkegaard
"Bruce Kirmmse provides an excellent new translation of a book that offers a less familiar view of Kierkegaard--and an alternative introduction to his writings."--Alastair Hannay, author of Kierkegaard: A Biography
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Letting Nature Point beyond Nature, Bruce H. Kirmmse vii
The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air by Søren Kierkegaard 1
The Gospel for the 15th Sunday after Trinity Sunday 7
I. “Look at the birds of the air; consider the lily of the field.” 9
II. “No one can serve two masters, for he must either hate the one and love the other, or hold fast to one and despise the other.” 39
III. “Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns”—unconcerned about tomorrow. “Consider the grass of the field—which today is.” 71
Other Princeton books by or about Søren Kierkegaard: