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Fear and Trembling (Penguin Great Ideas) Paperback – May 30, 2006
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Great Ideas... is the right name for these slim, elegant paperbacks... They are written with precision, force, and care. ("The Wall Street Journal") Penguin Books hopes to provide an economical remedy for time-pressed readers in search of intellectual sustenance. ("USA Today")
About the Author
S¢ren Kierkegaard (1813-55) was born in Denmark and wrote on a wide variety of themes, including religion, psychology, and literature. He is remembered for his philosophy, which was influential in the development of 20th century existentialism.
Alastair Hannay is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oslo. He is co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard and has translated Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, The Sickness unto Death, Either/Or, and Papers and Journals for Penguin Classics
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As for the two books themselves:
Fear and Trembling:
I remember once taking someone to church who was perhaps religious but not a christian and had went their entire life having never heard the story of Abraham and how Yahweh(God) had commanded him to take his son Issac up a mountain and sacrifice him. I remember the pastor preaching with great admiration about how this great sacrifice was required of Abram, and how without hesitation Abram obeyed God, the person with me just had a look of horror, how could this loving and benevolent God require such a thing from his creation, how could anyone look at this story with anything but horror, this wasn't a story to be admired but to be held with contempt. Of course the story goes right before Abram plunged the knife into Issac an angel stopped him and Abram sacrificed a goat instead (although it seems most atheist books love to mention the fact that Jephthah wasn't stopped, Kierkegaard briefly mentions this, but it seemed to be glossed over).
I've thought since then, how odd it is that people like myself quickly read over these stories and never really think about them or what they mean, how would I react if I heard them for the first time and haven't heard them my entire life. In this book Kierkegaard goes into detail about the story of Abram and Issac, what did Abram say, did he take the blame so Issac wouldn't lose faith in God, what did he tell Sarah (his wife) before leaving, is this ethical. I couldn't help wondering if this book was actually a defense from Soren, did he do the same thing as Abram when he ended his engagement and sacrificed the thing he loved most in the world, was he required by God of this? Did he do the right thing? Overall this book was pretty good although Kierkegaard often went on many tangents which sometimes left me confused as to what point he was trying to make, I'll eventually reread this as I assume this is a book which requires several reads to fully grasp.
The Book on Adler:
The book on Adler was seemed more cohesive and easier to follow. In this Kierkegaard discusses his meeting with Adler, a man who apparently claimed to have a special revelation from Jesus, where Jesus appeared to him and gave him a special message, from that Adler wrote several book (even publishing 4 at once). Its been a couple of months since I read this and I don't remember at all what this special revelation was, what I do remember is Kierkegaard disproving that Adler had this revelation and that Adler even started to doubt this himself. There was a chapter near the end where Kierkegaard discusses what kind of culture allows for this type of thing to be so easily accepted, I couldn't help wondering what he would think if he saw the events of the Word of Faith movement during the last 50 years and heard the stories of Oral Roberts and his 50 foot Jesus commanding Roberts to build a research center, or of Kenneth Hagin and Jesus supposedly telling him how to be prosperous, it would have been interesting.
The translator is Walter Lowrie. It took a bit of searching, but the text (without the typos) is available on [...] , and this is where one can find the translator's name. Not in this book, and not in the iBook file. The date of the translation is given as 1941.
It is apparent that the file used to print this edition was a scan of some other edition, because of the nature of the typos. Eg, "Iie" instead of "He".
I don't know how accurate the translation is (Lowrie was, from what I can find, a "gifted amateur" insofar as Danish is concerned but he is somewhat _un_gifted when it comes to punctuation), but there's a driving force to the prose which I quite like. .
Finally, it seems to me that Amazon should make the nature of this sort of edition clearer. For $10 + shipping$$ to Europe, I could have printed it up at home and had $10 left over for a nice sacrificial lamb.
Shame on the printer for not putting the name of the translator. And even more shame for the "all rights reserved" paragraph.
Edit: now I see that the Hardcover version, paperback version, and Kindle version are all completely different versions, but for some reason grouped together by amazon. The Kindle is "Fear and Trembling (Great Ideas)", the Hardcover is "Fear and Trembling and The Book on Adler (Everyman's Library Classics & Contemporary Classics)" and the paperback is simply: "Fear and Trembling [Paperback]"
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