Christianity is Madness: Kierkegaard and the Academy

Posted on November 10, 2017 by PLT Staff

Lecture given by Stanley Hauerwas as part of the Capps Lecture Series in Christian Theology at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. Attending to Kierkegaard’s attack on Christendom, Hauerwas hopes to recover why his theology should continue to challenge us today. However, since we no longer in the robust Christendom that was Kierkegaard’s Denmark, he argues that we may have to rethink what it means to do theology grounded in true discipleship. The lecture begins at the 6:15 minute mark. To browse all the lectures given as part of the Capps Lecture series, click here. For a listing of all our Occasional Lectures, click here.

Excerpt: “What must be acknowledged, Kierkegaard argues, is from any human point of view, Christianity is and must be a form of madness. It is so because only through a consciousness of sin can one come to the one who can save. Accordingly, Christianity must display itself as madness in order that the qualitative infinite emphasis may fall upon the fact that only consciousness of sin is the way of entrance. Indeed, this is the kind of consciousness that is the exact opposite of the kind of awareness that Christendom sponsors, namely the attitude which expresses admiration for Jesus. Such a form of consciousness is a fraud and self-defeats, but is one common to Christendom. It is so because in Christendom Christ is exalted to confirm our self deceptions, the deepest deception being that we do not have to lose our lives to be a disciple of Jesus.”

  • Video Information
  • Date Recorded:October 12, 2017
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
  • Speaker: Stanley Hauerwas
This video was co-sponsored by the Project on Lived Theology (PLT) and Theological Horizons. For any questions related to its use, please contact PLT ( Copy available for use subject to Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution required, Non-Commercial use, No Derivatives, 3.0, Unported.