MOUNT VERNON — Brewton-Parker College’s Assistant Professor of Christian Studies and Director of Information Technology, Dr. Michael Steinmetz, had an academic book published by De Gruyter Press on September 7, 2021. Dr. Steinmetz’s book entitled The Severed Self: The Doctrine of Sin in the Works of Søren Kierkegaard, explores the doctrine of sin as a necessary, but often unspoken, topic in theology.
Dr. Steinmetz received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy/Religion from Louisiana College in Pineville, Louisiana, and continued his studies receiving a Masters in Theology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana. Next, he worked toward his Th.M. and eventually his Ph.D. in Theology and minor in the New Testament from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
Whenever Dr. Steinmetz teaches Christian doctrine, he likes to go over the doctrine of sin. He brings what he learned from Kierkegaard into the conversation. Kierkegaard’s thought in general greatly affected modern theology and philosophy as described by Dr. Steinmetz. “I find Søren Kierkegaard to be a helpful theologian to explain the multifaceted nature of sin. He helps to make the abstract concept of sin concrete. Also, he shows that sin cuts down to our core–it is not something we ‘do’ but rather something we ‘are.’ We are severed from God by our own actions, and that affects everything about our lives: personal relationships, how we think, how we interact with culture, etc. I believe this work will help theologians in our thinking about sin.”
The academic book will help others explore the philosophy of Kierkegaard. Dr. Steinmetz describes the book as a resource in two main ways: “those who want a firmer grasp on the doctrine of sin and those who want a firmer grasp on the thought of Søren Kierkegaard.” Dr. Steinmetz explains Kierkegaard as a “looming figure in philosophical study.” Dr. Steinmetz’s book can help clarify some of his hard-to-understand points in his writing. Almost every introduction to philosophy class has a section on Kierkegaard according to Dr. Steinmetz. Kierkegaard is often called the “Father of Existentialism” and the “Father of Psychology.”
Dr. Steinmetz is currently working on a ‘Kierkegaard’s theology for evangelicals’ style of book. He noted it is still in the early stages of development. He plans to gear it toward a more popular-level audience such as pastors and parishioners. Dr. Steinmetz stated, “Kierkegaard is often viewed as an enemy to evangelical faith, and I think that is an unfair and uninformed assessment of his thought. I hope to make Kierkegaard even more digestible to the average reader, pointing out ways I find him helpful in thinking about our faith and living an authentic Christian life.”
De Gruyter Press is an academic publisher out of Germany. Dr. Steinmetz shared that they have a series dedicated to Søren Kierkegaard sponsored by the University of Copenhagen (where Kierkegaard went to school). For more information on Dr. Steinmetz’s recent publication, please visit, www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110753448/html.