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Fear and Trembling/Repetition : Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol. 6 Paperback – June 1, 1983

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"The definitive edition of the Writings. The first volume . . . indicates the scholarly value of the entire series: an introduction setting the work in the context of Kierkegaard's development; a remarkably clear translation; and concluding sections of intelligent notes."--Library Journal

Language Notes

Text: English, Danish (translation) --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kierkegaard's Writings (Book 6)
  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (June 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691020264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691020266
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
i will preface this review by saying that what follows is my interpretation of what "fear and trembling" is about. kierkegaard probably would've wanted each individual reader to struggle with the meaning for him-or-herself, as that is what would make the reading of "fear and trembling" of any value to the reader.

there is a difference between the ethical and the religious. confusion over the two has caused great tragedy in human affairs in the past and will continue to do so in the future. kierkegaard's magnum opus "fear and trembling" deals with the relationship between the ethical and the religious spheres, and thus remains relevant even to a modern audience.

kierkegaard wrote "fear and trembling" because he felt the christianity of his time had become too easy, too sugar-coated for the masses to swallow. faith loses its importance when the church becomes more interested in expanding and maintaining its reach than in the underlying message; faith, by its very nature, should be a difficult thing to attain. like many reformers before him, kierkegaard saw christianity as corroding from within. on the other hand, hegelian philosophy had also spread across europe in the early nineteenth century and was encroaching on territories even outside of philosophy, given the ambitious scope of hegel's project. the philosophers were threatening to co-opt the spiritual through logic: hegel's self-realization of "geist," the german word for both "mind" and "spirit." it is in this setting that kierkegaard wrote his most important book, addressing the dangers to christianity from within and without.

"fear and trembling" should be read in the context of the rest of kierkegaard's pseudonymous works for its message to be understood.
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Format: Paperback
This edition of 'Fear and Trembling' is an excellently produced and translated edition, with the interesting and helpful prefaces and selections of journal quotes typical of the Writings series.

'Fear and Trembling' presents a very penetrating, and ultimately disturbing, investigation into the personal and 'existential' implications of the religious concept of faith, as illustrated by the story of Isaac's sacrifice in Genesis 22.

Reviewers like to analyse the text either in respect to the biography of Kierkegaard, or of his literary output (or in relation to the other book in this collect, 'Repetition'), which are fair enough, but nevertheless, this book stands on its own with the question of whether religious faith can be a 'teleological suspension of the ethical.' This sounds like it could be a tendious philosophical excercise, but his erudition and literary skill constantly defies ones attempt to reduce or domesticate the paradoxes which he throws forward to his reader. The text still today offers each reader a choice of his own.
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Fear and Trembling is probably Kierkegaard's clearest and most vivid interpretation of faith, seen through the story of Abraham and Isaac. God has asked Abraham, who with his wife Sarah has waited and prayed for a son for 70 years, to sacrifice that son. Abraham obeys, but it is the tension within Abraham, the tension between ethical duty and the requirements of faith, that Kierkegaard focuses on. Faith emerges as what allows the individual to transcend the life of just anyone, the "universal", through an absolutely individual relationship with God.

Abraham's anguish is the anguish of a loving father, for whom the ethical duty of a father is inviolable. But his God demands it. Abraham doesn't simply obey -- in his actions, he must reconcile the irreconcilable. The victory of Abraham's faith is his resolution to carry out God's command, fully and intentionally preparing to give up Isaac, while at the same believing, by "virtue of the absurd", that Isaac will be returned to him, that he will lose Isaac and also regain him.

For Kierkegaard, this faith is the elevation of the individual, in the individual's own relationship to God, above the universal, the demands of secular, ethical life. In another essay, The Present Age, Kierkegaard complains that faith has become secularized in the church, in which faith is the duty of everyone, to be fulfilled by all in the same way. To him, this is a lowering of faith to something within the universal, what is demanded of everyone and explicable as the duty of man per se.

In faith, by contrast, the "individual is higher than the universal" in a way that is incomprehensible philosophically, precisely because the duty of the individual cannot be universalized and explained in the common terms of reason.
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Format: Paperback
These two books are twins: published on the same day, with the same purpose: the failed explications of an essential Kierkegaardian concept: Repetiton. Why, when an author clearly knows the meaning of a concept in his own terminology, would he fail to be able to explain it? Why would an author make failure part of the purpose of a book? There is a reasons. The authors of both books are pseudonyms. Kierkegaard does not use nom de plumes. He creates characters and then writes the book from that perspective. Johannes de Silento (the author of "Fear and Trembling")is a poet. Constantine Constantinus (the author of "Repetition") is an experimental psychologist. These characters attempt to define repetition, but their methods will not allow them. Repetition is not reducible to poetry (romanticism) or science (reason). Now why is that? It is necessary to Kierkegaard's project (the book "Repetition" shows that it is necessary) because his project is essentially Christian and Revelation cannot be derived philosophically (Hence Constantine Constantinus' failure). But how do you get to discuss Christian ideas, then? By an elaborate method of importation and laundering. For instance, Constantine Constantinus introduces Repetition by comparing it to Platonic recollection. But the real source for importation is the Old Testament. Fear and Trembling is an elaborate interpretation of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. Repetition ends with the Young Man (the guinea pig for Constantine Constantius' psychological experiments) writting on the Book of Job. In each case, something is sacrificed and yet the one who sacrifices finds the sacrifice restored to him.Read more ›
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