A path to authenticity: Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky on existential transformation

  • Petr VaškovicEmail author


While there has been considerable interest in the writings of Søren Kierkegaard and Fyodor Dostoevsky, both of whom are considered seminal existential thinkers, relatively little has been said about similarities in their thought. In this paper, I propose to read their philosophical and literary works together as texts that offer an elaborate model of an existential religious transformation. Both Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky sketch a path leading from the inauthentic, internally fragmented and egotistic self to the authentically Christian, humble and loving individual. By examining the underlying structure of this transformative process, I try to show that its portrayal is in many ways similar in the account of both writers. Furthermore, I maintain that they set out not only to describe the inner workings of the existential religious transformation, but that their effort constitutes a direct appeal to the reader to initiate the transformative process herself or himself.


Kierkegaard Dostoevsky Existential transformation Authenticity Non-preferential love Humility 



This paper was created within the project Rationality Crisis and Modern Thought, subproject Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard on subjectivity, realized at the Faculty of Arts of the Charles University in Prague, with financial support of the Specific University research in 2018.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Faculty of ArtsCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Theology & Religious Studies, School of Critical StudiesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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