Kierkegaard: A Single Life

Reviewed by: Reviewed by Rachel M. Pfeiffer, a Professional Writing student at Taylor University.


Title: Kierkegaard: A Single Life

Author: Stephen Backhouse

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2016

Format: Hardcover print book

Length: 296 pages


Søren Kierkegaard was born into a large, wealthy family in Copenhagen, Denmark on May 5, 1813. He grew into an awkward but witty boy, often infuriating his teachers and classmates alike. His father, although at times distant and depressed, encouraged his sons to think deeply and defend what they believed. After spending some time in the university, Kierkegaard began writing books. He explored many important theological topics and defended his views on them regardless of the opposition from Denmark’s established church. Most of his ideas were underappreciated in his day, but many of them are now studied throughout the modern world.


Backhouse does an excellent job of enabling the reader to understand who Søren Kierkegaard was. Through this biography, the reader is able to gain a good understanding of not only what shaped the Danish philosopher, but also what was happening in his life when he wrote his many works. Although some sections become overburdened with details, overall Backhouse is successful in creating a vivid picture of Kierkegaard’s life.

Rating (1 to 5)

4 stars

Suggested Audience

Anyone who enjoys biographies of religious thinkers would enjoy this book.

Christian Impact

Kierkegaard’s works helped shape the landscape of modern Christian philosophy. His life story reminds us to keep an open mind to new ideas and that we must always be prepared to defend our views, especially on topics of faith.

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Kierkegaard: A Single Life

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