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Fear and Trembling (Penguin Great Ideas) by…
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Fear and Trembling (Penguin Great Ideas) (original 1843; edition 2006)

by Soren Kierkegaard

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2,986232,746 (3.86)95
Member:BernardRieux
Title:Fear and Trembling (Penguin Great Ideas)
Authors:Soren Kierkegaard
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (2006), Paperback, 160 pages
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Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard (1843)

  1. 00
    Iphigenia in Aulis by Euripides (andejons)
    andejons: Kierkegaard uses Agamemnons sacrifice as a contrast to Abraham's, for good reason. Reading Euripide's original treatment is interesting background.
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English (20)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (23)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
“If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?” - Søren Kierkegaard ( )
  ReneePaule | Jan 23, 2018 |
I can't even tell you how long this book has been tormenting me. Years. I've made at least two serious attempts to read it in the past, working my poor little gray cells to the smoking point before throwing it aside with a shower of epithets. My last attempt was a few months ago, and I made it to about two-thirds of the way through. Then, planning my New Year's Eve reading marathon, I knew if I could make it to the end of this book, it would cancel out any criticisms I might level at myself for loading the stack with short books and graphic novels, because one of the books would have been &^$(*%# Kierkegaard.

Then, I don't know how much of it was just that Problema III was easier reading (which it was), and how much was just the hard work I'd previously put in to understanding the terms, ideals, and categories he'd been referencing all along in the earlier sections, but once I was a few pages in, I didn't think of my escape hatch once. (I'd given myself permission to bail if I wasn't finished with the book by 2:00 p.m.)

Don't get me wrong, it was still challenging reading. I still found myself wandering over to the computer to look up terms he used and stories he referenced. I definitely felt the lack of serious philosophical reading before this - I totally skipped the prerequisites. And I know I lost a lot for those lacks. That doesn't mean that I couldn't recognize that this book is amazing. Or that I didn't appreciate it even as I was grinding my teeth. Even though I didn't squeeze all of the wisdom out of this little book, it was definitely worth the work. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
Søren’s pseudonymous author Johannes de Silentio here is trying to come to grips with faith.
Johannes de Silentio himself doesn't seem to understand faith. He is filled with awe and admiration for Abraham but cannot understand him.

Is Abraham a tragic hero? Or is he just a murderer? Or is he a knight of faith?

Abraham here is a knight of faith because he is not just resigned to the fact that he needs to sacrifice his son but he believes that he will not lose Isaac on the strength of absurd. He has made a movement of faith here. This movement of faith is absolutely relating oneself to the absolute. Faith here presupposes resignation. Resignation is overcome by taking the leap of faith. So faith comes after reason and not before. It begins exactly where reason ends.
There’s an interesting part at the end where he mentions the only words that Abraham spoke. When Isaac asks Abraham where the lamb for the burnt offering is, Abraham replies " My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering"
If Abraham wasn't a knight of faith, he would have answered in a bitter and different way like "I do not know" as he was only filled with resignation.

Why should we try to understand Abraham? Why can't we just call him a murderer and move on? Trying to understand Abraham will help other anguished and isolated souls. De Silentio gives us other examples of these anxious souls, the knights of resignation. Most of them involving romantic love.

Translator somewhere mentions that at some point while writing this book, Søren wrote in his diary that if he had enough faith, he would have stayed with Regine.
So it seems here that Søren himself was a knight of resignation, his movement of infinite resignation being the break-up of his engagement with Regine and he was trying to make the movement of faith.
What an intense and passionate man.

This was an amazing read. ( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
Poor Kierkegaard. His sense of both religion & self are so sincere and serious, how could he not suffer? He's trying to make sense of one of the most ethically confounding Biblical stories, talking aesthetics and ethics and faith when my sense is, like, man. Give it up. I don't know how to acquit Abraham's twisted near-sacrifice and don't think it's worth starting.

But this matters so much to K., and it's why I couldn't understand this book back when I bought it. Like [b:Thus Spoke Zarathustra|51893|Thus Spoke Zarathustra|Friedrich Nietzsche|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1349449118s/51893.jpg|196327], I took this from my bookshelf and found it marked partway through with a late slip from high school. I specifically remember reading this in the park behind the goose museum in Montmagny, where I worked when I was sixteen. And I had this idea that Existentialism necessitated atheism (I was channelling both, ergo), so it baffled me that this writer was going on and on so about Abraham and faith and so I just moved on to one of the other dozen or so books I brought with me for that quick summer.

And though I've got a better comprehension of K.'s philosophical background, I still felt like he was so entrapped in this imposed framework and sure, the philosophy might be sound within it, but I don't buy into the tenets of his reality.

This is such a small sample of Kierkegaard who was ridiculously prolific and wrote under numerous pen names and at great length. When I was reading Rebecca Solnit's [b:Wanderlust: A History of Walking|78287|Wanderlust A History of Walking|Rebecca Solnit|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1170933176s/78287.jpg|1419449] she mentioned that he was an avid walker, but also mentioned that he was mocked and caricatured in The Corsair, a Danish publication. She doesn't spend a lot of time on him, but the passing mention pulled me into reading a bunch of biographical snippets, reading about the drama that went down with The Corsair, and getting a better sense of Kierkegaard. What I appreciate about him is what I note above--that he's absolutely sincere in his religious sensibility. He was apparently really generous, really charitable, and in more than a monetary sense, though he was certainly that too. It wasn't lip service, it wasn't for show, and in fact others found him untraditional and unusual in the way the he lived/practised religion, and that's something I can always appreciate. It probably didn't merit saying this in the review. But it lends validation to the anxieties present in this work. ( )
1 vote likecymbeline | Apr 1, 2017 |
An interesting look at the 'tale' of Abraham (and Isaac) from the Bible. To figure out the process through which Abraham goes through on his trial to sacrifice Isaac (his son) for God. Soren discusses if he is a tragic hero. And various philosophies branch off of this. It's a dense small book that isn't specific or an easy read, but gives interesting thoughts and insight into Abraham's trial; and about faith in general. ( )
  BenKline | Jan 31, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (42 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Søren Kierkegaardprimary authorall editionscalculated
Evan, C. StephenEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hannay, AlastairTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mežaraupe, IngaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rée, JonathanIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schereubel, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What Tarquin the Proud said in his garden with the poppy blooms was understood by the son but not by the messenger. -- Hamann
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140444491, Paperback)


The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world. Regarded as the father of Existentialism, Kierkegaard transformed philosophy with his conviction that we must all create our own nature; in this great work of religious anxiety, he argues that a true understanding of God can only be attained by making a personal "leap of faith."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

In Fear and Trembling, Soren Kierkegaard's infamous and controversial work made a lasting impression on both modern Protestant theology and existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Camus. Writing under the pseudonym of 'Johannes de silentio', Kierkegaard expounds his personal view of religion through a discussion of the scene in Genesis in which Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son Isaac at God's command. Believing Abraham's unreserved obedience to be the essential leap of faith needed to make a full commitment to his religion, Kierkegaard himself made great sacrifices in order to dedicate his life entirely to his philosophy and to God. The conviction shown in this religious polemic - that a man can have an exceptional mission in life - informed all Kierkegaard's later writings. His 'teleological suspension of the ethical' challenged the contemporary views of Hegel's universal moral system, and was also hugely influential for both protestant theology and the existentialist movement. .… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140444491, 0141023937

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