Kierkegaard’s Lily Discourse

More than 150 years ago, the philosopher Kierkegaard wrote a series of discourses about the Gospel of Matthew. In her book The Lily’s Tongue: Figure and Authority in Kierkegaard’s Lily Discourse (State University of New York Press), author Frances Maughan-Brown examines four so-called lily discourses and responds with “a set of essays that read Kierkegaard’s discourses, and in so doing draw out as far as possible the account he gives of authority.” According to the publisher, Maughan-Brown “demonstrates how Kierkegaard argues that the key is in the act of reading itself—no text can have authority unless the reader grants it that authority because no text can entirely avoid figural language. What is revealed in the Lily Discourses is a groundbreaking theory of figure, which requires a renewed reading of Kierkegaard’s major pseudonymous works.” Maughan-Brown, who teaches at the College of the Holy Cross, graduated with doctorate in philosophy from Boston College.

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