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Although not entirely ignored, the subject of Kierkegaard's ‘imitation’ has never received much attention from scholars. They tend to emphasize the primary role of a unique Danish etymological rendering of the term as ‘following after’ and argue that Kierkegaard's engagement with imitation as such is comparatively meager. Subsequently, academicians gravitate towards two readings of the phenomenon in question, as a ‘subservient’ concept and as an idiosyncratic notion that should be predominantly rendered in the context of biblical scholarship.1 According to the first approach, although distinguishable as a concept, imitation is in fact merely an aspect of Kierkegaard's theory of Christian religiousness2 or Christian ethics.3 The second take on imitation accentuates Kierkegaard's relationship with various Christian traditions, of which especially imitatio Christi of the devotio moderna movement and several forms of Christian pietism seem to be the most eminent.4 Kierkegaard's imitation so defined is to be understood, so to speak, on its own terms, and divorced from any strand of academic discussion of mimesis. Thus reading Kierkegaard's imitation from an ‘outside’ perspective proves problematic and misleading, to say the least.


School of Philosophy

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Journal Article

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