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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014

Hannah Venable
Pages 39-64
DOI: 10.5840/philtheol20143103

Situating Melancholy in Kierkegaard's "The Concept of Anxiety"

In this article, I draw on Kierkegaard’s often over-looked work, The Concept of Anxiety, to gain deeper insight into the tenor of melancholy. We discover that Kierkegaard labels anxiety, due to its connection to hereditary sin, as the source for melancholy. Thus, contrary to the usual interpretation of Kierkegaard, I argue that melancholy is more than an individual’s struggle with existence, but is intimately tied to the historical environment, because it is steeped in an ever-increasing, ever-deepening anxiety. This link be­tween anxiety and melancholy clears away misunderstandings about Kierkegaard’s description of melancholy and suggests implications in psychology, philosophy, and theology.

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