Hverdagens Martyrium – “at gesticulere med sin daglige Existents”

  • Bruce H. Kirmmse
Nøgleord: Søren Kierkegaard, martyrdom, witness, genius, apostle, democracy


The term “martyr” literally means “witness,” but it has generally
been associated with those who give up their lives voluntarily
for their convictions. In the years leading up the Revolution of 1848,
and even more so in the years following, Kierkegaard occupied himself
increasingly with the notion of martyrdom, often defi ning a martyr
as a “witness to the truth” and sometimes including the unambiguous
assertion that such a witness would necessarily die for his or her
conviction, while at other times leaving unclear the matter of actual
death and speaking of a life of ridicule and humiliation. The present
paper, “Everyday Martyrdom”, emerges from the author’s immersion
in Kierkegaard’s journals and notebooks and follows the sinuous path
of Kierkegaard’s refl ections on the necessity of martyrdom in the modern
democratic age. When one of Kierkegaard’s conservative friends
expressed hope for a strong man, a “tyrant,” to set things right, Kierkegaard wrote that what was needed was not a tyrant, but a “martyr.”

Kirmmse, B. (2013). Hverdagens Martyrium – “at gesticulere med sin daglige Existents”. Dansk Teologisk Tidsskrift, 76(2), 82-94. https://doi.org/10.7146/dtt.v76i2.105665