The thought of the prolific 19th century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) continues to interest and impress many. Kierkegaard has been interpreted and re-interpreted over the decades; as a devout Lutheran, an existentialist, a postmodern prophet, and many more. His works have exerted a tremendous influence on contemporary thought.
Kierkegaard is well known for his aesthetic "pseudonymous" works, such as Either/Or, Fear and Trembling, Philosophical Fragments, and The Concept of Anxiety, and these works claim a pseudonym as its author. Accompanying these works, however, Kierkegaard authored several ethical-religious discourses written under his own name, as well as longer sustained ones in his later work. He called them discourses not sermons because Kierkegaard believes he has no authority to preach; but only to help others enlighten or 'edify' or 'upbuild' themselves. Kierkegaard's aim for these discourses was to make his readers aware of the religiousness of Christianity.
The first discouse, "Man's Need of God Constitutes his Highest Perfection" examines the nature of faith, God’s gifts and prayer. The discourse was written and published in August 1844, a few months after The Concept of Anxiety. "What it Means to Seek God: On the Occasion of a Confessional Service" examines wonder, stillness, and seeking God. The discourse was written and published in April 1845, a day before the publication of Stages on Life's Way. Scholars contend that this discourse is a complement to Stages' "In Vino Veritas" banquet speech on erotic love.