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Fear and Trembling

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,918 Ratings  ·  499 Reviews
Soren Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian and religious author interested in human psychology. He is regarded as a leading pioneer of existentialism and one of the greatest philosophers of the 19th Century.

In Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard wanted to understand the anxiety that must have been present in Abraham when God commanded him to offer his son as a huma
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 30th 2006 by Penguin Books (first published 1843)
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Being and Time by Martin HeideggerCritique of Pure Reason by Immanuel KantThus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich NietzscheThe Republic by PlatoPhenomenology of Spirit by Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Best Philosophy Book
10th out of 676 books — 873 voters
The Stranger by Albert CamusSiddhartha by Hermann Hesse1984 by George OrwellThe Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupéryCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Philosophical Literature
44th out of 671 books — 2,046 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dec 04, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: pretentious atheists (i.e., my generation)
dear reader,

you don't even read this stuff anymore, do you?! i wouldn't if i were you! but that's the difference between me and you! you have no life, are pathetic, sit in front of your computer all day stalking your peers on various social networking sites, while i go on constantly mocking your efforts through half jest and utter disregard for the values you hold dear to your heart!

alas, perhaps the joke is on me?!

haha, boy do i get ahead of myself sometimes! silly me! yes, that is what i say!

Many readers come to read this book via the Hegel pathway. Or at least realize that a Hegel preamble is required. And most probably such a preamble is indispensable.

Alas, I came to it through a side door. As an attendant of a cycle of lectures given at the Prado Museum on the Bible (Old Testament) and Art, I listened, and looked, in fascination to the exposé of one of the Speakers. He examined the myth of Abraham and the Sacrifice of his beloved son Isaac.

After portraying what he considered an u
Jun 21, 2007 Rosemary rated it it was amazing
I was going to write that I still come back to this book, even ten years after reading it for the first time. But that's not quite true. What is true is that this book has never really left me; it has worked itself into my psyche and become an automatic philosophical reference point for my life.
Kierkegaard's discussion of faith versus resignation is an exhileration to read. His unfolding of the concept of the absurd in the universe is sublime. Everyone should dive into this work, grapple with i
peiman-mir5 rezakhani
افتضاح بود و بسیار بد... سرشار از خزعبلاتِ تاریخی و نوشتن از نادانی
دوستانِ گرامی، نویسنده 155 صفحه چرت و پرت و خرافات تحویل داده، این گونه نویسندگان فقط می نویسند برای اینکه نوشته باشند
از اول کتابش رو با داستانِ موهومِ ابراهیم و ضبحِ اسحاق شروع کرده، یک نادان و ابله به این داستانِ خیالی و موهومِ یهودیان باور داره و خاک بر سرِ آن ابلهان
نویسنده سعی داره بگه ایمان و دین از همه چیز بالاتر است و اخلاق در گروِ ایمان است... وای که نویسندگانِ نادان، خرد را در چالة حماقت گندانده اند و نمیدانند که اخلاق ب
Jan 13, 2013 Emma rated it liked it
I finished this book yesterday at my favourite Café. As I was sitting outside in my beret, smoking and drinking black coffee, I became a little self-conscious at the glances from passersby. Was the beret a little too 'Café philosophique'?


So Fear and Trembling* discusses Abraham 'the father of faith' and his no-questions-asked agreement to sacrifice Isaac, his only son, at God's command.

Kierkegaard says we cannot possibly understand Abrahams actions, his willingness to do the deed is incom
Faith, is “the paradox of existence.” It is “look[ing] impossibility in the eye.”

As such, Faith is the subject of this work which Kierkegaard limns through the pseudonymous authorship–a stratagem that I think grants him some of the freedom reserved for the writer of fiction–of one Johannes de silentio. So who is Johannes de silentio?

He is funny:

“Here we already have plenty to speak of for several Sundays, so there is no need to rush.”


“Instead of learning from this that he (t
May 21, 2008 Cap rated it it was amazing
I first read this piece in a philosophy class devoted entirely to Kierkegaard. At the time I wasn't overly enthralled with his work. I think I was partly turned off by the know it all sophomore in the graduate level class who insisted on being smack dab in the middle and dominating every conversation.

In the years since, however, after reading other existentialist authors, and seeing K's influence on them, I've gone back to some of his more accessible works. I especially like that most of his ph
Sean Wilson
I'll wholeheartedly admit that I don't completely understand everything in these kinds of philosophy books as I'm not a Kierkegaard scholar and I'm certainly not a philosophy scholar, but I do understand his messages, his profound messages hidden in a cobweb of philosophical jargon, Christian study, Greek mythology references, European fairy tales and some poetry sprinkled on top of it all.

Fear and Trembling is his investigation into the paradox of faith, his complex analysis of Christianity and
Sep 05, 2011 Karl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."

"The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you'll never have."

Such a happy guy. I think the old sitcom Family Ties got it right when the Dad was reading "Kierkegaard for Dads." He summed it up by saying that "no matter how depressed I am, he is even more depressed. I find that strangely

Encore une fois, je suis fâché de ne pas connaître assez Hegel : tant d'auteurs qui se liguent contre lui, et je ne comprends jamais vraiment pourquoi! Dans cet ouvrage, Søren Kierkegaard, un philosophe danois du XIXème siècle nous propose d'examiner quelques paradoxes afin d'éprouver la relation entre la foi et la raison. Pour ce faire, il part à la racine de la foi monothéiste, l'histoire d'Abraham, dont le moment clef est l'épreuve que Yahvé lui impose en lui demandant de sacrifier l'un de se
Jan 05, 2016 نرگس rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
حالا که دارم بیماری به سوی مرگ رو میخونم این کتاب برام شکل جدیدی پیدا کرده. و راستش فکر میکنم این اختلاف چندین ساله در خواندن این دو کتاب برای من بسیار مناسبت داشته. ترس و لرز رو در اوایل دههی بیست زندگیم خوندم، وقتی سر بسیار پرشوری داشتم و بهترین توصیف برای من "ایدهآلیست" بود. سرخوردگی ناشی از مواجههی تدریجی با واقعیت اما داشت تلخی غریبی رو به ذهنم تحمیل میکرد. در اون وقت خوندن ترس و لرز مثل بازیافتن یک ایمان از دست رفته بود. نوعی ایمان اومانیستی به خودم. ایمان با این کتاب برای من سر و شکل جدید ...more
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علی‌رضا میم
تموم شدنش مصادف شد با شب تاسوعا،
و این بیت که آخرش میگه
که ابراهیم وعده کرد و حسین به جا آورد
Nov 21, 2015 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
I read this book because I'm writing an essay on the Paradox of Faith for my Philosophy of Religion class. I think Kierkegaard's writing is really accessible. I have read many philosophers and Kierkegaard was definitely one of the easier philosophers to read and understand. He writes with wit and although he kind of goes around and around in circles and gets carried away sometimes, his writing is engaging. I think it is a good way to represent the story of Abraham but I still don't think that Go ...more
Megan Fritts
Feb 20, 2011 Megan Fritts rated it it was amazing
This one actually took me all last summer to get through. In my defense, though, it was my first experience with Kierkegaard.

The books turns out to be aptly named, as the reader--immediately, upon encountering the first few pages--experiences copious amounts of both fear and trembling.

Ok. But. Worth the effort.

Incredible insight into the life of someone truly passionate about Christianity, and truly desiring to live differently because of it.
Mar 15, 2014 kaśyap rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 01, 2015 Daryan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is strange how similar in themes the fall and fear and trembling are; an infinite resignation of the absurd; the world is truly absurd, attempts to impose rationale and order have been of no advantage. Religion is analogous to this, one cannot find God or find strong faith without accepting that it cannot be explained in rationale terms, religion is full of paradoxes and absurdities; but making a leap of faith and acceptance of the terms are what evokes real faith. Not the sort of faith that ...more
John Doe
Aug 12, 2013 John Doe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
It is a meditation on the faith of Abraham. God promises Abraham that his descendants (through Isaac) will out number the stars and that they will be a blessing to the entire world. All Abraham must do is sacrifice his son, Isaac. But how can this blessing happen if Isaac is dead? It doesn't make sense, yet Abraham has faith and does not rely on his own reasoning. He trusts god, and he gets ready to sacrifice his only hope for worldly happiness.

So, in this picture we have two things. First, Abr
Peg Catron
Feb 07, 2008 Peg Catron rated it it was amazing
Kierkegaard is an intense read, but profound. I fell in love with him when I was going through a reorganization of my faith. In this book he presents the idea of the "knight of faith" -- the one who stands alone in direct relation to God, beyond the safety of a creed or institution. He uses Abraham as the ultimate example of the knight of faith. This is theistic existentialism -- and existential angst -- at its most sublime. Although reading Kierkegaard is difficult at times, there are many mome ...more
Jun 14, 2007 Trin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read much philosophy (possibly because I am too dumb) but a lot of what Kierkegaard says in Fear and Trembling really resonates with me. I love his concept of Knights of Faith and Knights of Resignation, and his multiple views Abraham on top of Moria is possibly the first ever "Five Things" fic. *g*
Jun 07, 2007 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Keirkegaard is one of my favorite philosophers. He is so thought-provoking. I always have a fun time reading him. Please remember that agreeing with a writer is not the basis for my enjoying his/her writing.
Le Matt
Oct 06, 2012 Le Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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The Abrahamic faith, or more correctly, Abraham's faith has always fascinated me. How does one draw the line at being religious, offering your child as a sacrifice vis-a-vis being a lunatic and murdering your child?

It is one thing to acquiesce or resist the absurdities in life , but another to believe the absurd will prevail. To have faith, Kierkegaard tells us, is infinitely harder than cynicism and atheism. The faithful knight is the knight who believes in the strength of the abs
Dec 16, 2012 Peter rated it really liked it
SK's best contribution : that faith requires a leap.
SK's biggest mistake : that he took the leap.
He struggles mightily, yet stays locked in the paradox of the Abraham / Issaac sacrifice problem.
Brilliantly argues the problems with this, yet . . . "faith" arghh. IMO the only way to deal satisfactorily with the paradox is not to try to reconcile it , but to step out of it entirely. ie no god anyway.
This test is the opposite of the star trek Kobayashi Maru. A god is invented in order to make the
سید اکبر
Jul 01, 2012 سید اکبر rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
سورن کی یرکگور این کتاب را با نام یوهانس دو سیلنتیو نوشته است. غالب کتاب های وی با نام های دیگر است و جایی گفته است که نمی توان کتاب ها را به وی نسبت داد بلکه به آن نام نسبت دهید.
این کتاب تحلیل داستان ذبح اسحاق -و به روایت قرآنی اسماعیل- است . نویسنده رفتن ابراهیم به سمت کوه موریه را ایمان ابراهیم می داند و وی را شهسوار ایمان می داند.
در این کتاب ایمان، ساحتی فراتر از اخلاق است و در آن ساحت اخلاق تعلیق می شود، نه به این معنا که فعل وی غیر اخلاقی است، بلکه در وادی ایمان، گزاره های اخلاقی معلقند
Nov 25, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing
I'm not even sure where to begin with this book.

Within this slim volume, Kierkegaard plants the seeds that would grow into existentialism and, eventually, post-modernism. It is truly a triumph of language and philosophy, and in my view one of the most - if not the most - important works of the 19th century.

Not for the faint of heart, the book can be difficult to understand even before one delves into the mysteries of Kierkegaard's pseudonyms. Fundamentally, it can be understood as an extended me
Jul 21, 2015 Joey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not merited to write a scholarly review on any philosophical work, let alone one by Kierkegaard, but I have never worked my thoughts as deep or interesting as when I read this book. Kierkegaard is a brilliant mind and this was an intriguing read. At times over my head, but nothing re-reading a passage a few times couldn't somewhat aid. Kierkegaard is an exciting thinker and it was a pleasure watching his thoughts unfold page by page. Astounding insight to thought, ethics, aesthetics, and su ...more
Apr 20, 2009 Bram rated it really liked it
Besides the unnecessary digression at the beginning of Problema III, this is outstanding stuff--a mind-bending look, via Abraham's trial, into the excruciating paradox (and therefore the human unattainability) of true faith.
Aug 14, 2015 Marian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Tough read but well-worth it. This is my second Kierkegaard and won't be my last!
Ali Reda
Oct 21, 2015 Ali Reda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
For Kierkegaard, faith is incomprehensible, in the sense that it demands a willingness to venture beyond the purview of philosophical reason, but it is not unreasonable or irrational. It is an act of will. A leap of Faith. No matter how rigorous your logical system, there will always be gaps of uncertainty, they can only be bridged by a leap of faith. It is not until we undermine our trust in the power of reason that we can come to worship God in the proper way, by opening ourselves up to revela ...more
Beau Johnson
Oct 15, 2009 Beau Johnson rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Faith picks up where thinking leaves off. This is of course the same sentiment lamented by those frustrated with religion; Christianity, they say, creates pews of people who have given up thinking. Faith can not be described with logic, following a proof of steps from action to action. Like CS Lewis did time and again, Kierkegaard asks the question better than any non-Christian ever has. If Abraham's actions are borderline insane, why do we call him great?

Kierkegaard suggests that Abraham knew h
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Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a prolific 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian. Kierkegaard strongly criticised both the Hegelianism of his time and what he saw as the empty formalities of the Church of Denmark. Much of his work deals with religious themes such as faith in God, the institution of the Christian Church, Christian ethics and theology, and the emotions and feelings of individua ...more
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“If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.” 237 likes
“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?” 103 likes
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