Fear and Trembling/Repetition (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 6)
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Fear and Trembling/Repetition (Съчинения в четири тома #3)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  2,786 ratings  ·  60 reviews
Presented here in a new translation with a historical introduction by the translators, Fear and Trembling and Repetition are the most poetic and personal of Søren Kierkegaard's pseudonymous writings. Published in 1843 and written under the names Johannes de Silentio and Constantine Constantius, respectively, the books are basic in Kierkegaard's development as a philosopher...more
Paperback, 420 pages
Published June 1st 1983 by Princeton University Press (first published 1843)
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Jim Coughenour
Kierkegaard is the Mozart of philosophy. Fear and Trembling begins with four variations on the story of Abraham and Isaac, each a miniature masterpiece of evocation. I've read this book several times, each time with pleasure – there's nothing quite like Kierkegaard railing against the "universal," exalting the singular, the exceptional, and introducing with anti-Hegelian flourish the "teleological suspension of the ethical." That's a phrase to make you grin in the grimmest times.

There's also dar...more
Jesse Grove
I'm probably never going to be the Knight of Faith. The Knight of Faith is something that I can't help but find a little disgusting. Johannes De Silentio --the name provided as author of Fear and Trembling -- explains (a word I use loosely) the actions of Abraham as the actions of someone possessing such faith in God that he believes he can sacrifice his son Issac and at the same time God will not take him away. It is proposed that Abraham accepts and fully realizes he is committing an immoral a...more
Getting a notion of the historical “situatedness” of Fear and Trembling is imperative if one is to cut through the thick crust of misreadings it has accumulated over the years. Silentio is of course not justifying irrational, absolutist commitments to specific projects that contradict ethical principles. Nor is he saying that God just might, if we are unlucky, require us to kill our neighbour and it is our absolute duty to obey. We know this immediately on perceiving that it is not the willingne...more
Dallin Bruun
I finished this book on the question "what is Christian Faith?" by Søren Kierkegaard. I think it has given teeth to my theory that as you approach spiritual truth, you approach paradox. For example:

1. God commands Adam and Even not to partake from Tree of KoG&E
2. God places tree of KoG&E in middle of garden

I have kids. If I didn't want them to take cookies from the cookie jar, I wouldn't place it in the middle of their room with the lid open. It's as if, paradoxically, God wants -- need...more
I get it now. From a man of the cloth the reasonable rationality of religion, "What I really need to do is to get clear about 'what am I to do', not what I must know".

- Therein that quote you could say he renders unto Athens what is Athens and to Jerusalem what is Jerusalem. A dichotomy once understood is fair and just. Quite convincingly he argues the rational is not part of religion but since when has that ever been the sole claim on truth?

I eat my crow gladly; I've been schooled.

Feb 14, 2008 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2008
What to say..this isn't my favorite of SK's works, but then again, SK is my favorite author. If you're sincerely interested, get the 2006 Cambridge edition and read the introduction by C. Stephen Evans. It's very helpful.
This book made me fear and tremble. I absolutely fell in love with the characters!
Jeremiah Tillman
For better or worse, this is my first paper for my Kierkegaard seminar:
Absurdity in Self:
The groundwork of identity in Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling

Johannes de Silentio, the pseudonymous author of Søren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, attempts to understand the biblical story of Abraham by first identifying him as "the man of faith" (FT 17). To illustrate how Abraham garnered his faith based identity, de Silentio argues that Abraham "had faith by virtue of the absurd" (35). According to de...more
What happens when God asks us to do something unethical? This is the focus of Kierkegaard's moving book on faith. I first read this for a college class on Kierkegaard, and the second time around I loved it just as much. A great philosophical treaty on faith, duty to God, and ethics.

Kierkegaard starts off by stating his astonishment at the number of people who try to "go beyond faith". Instead of making faith a matter for a whole lifetime, and making it a process, people tend to think it an easy...more
John Lawrence
Fear and Trembling is a book is about faith. If I understand correctly, Kierkegaard was reacting against the rationalism of the Enlightenment, specifically as it applied to Christian faith. He starts out by accusing his generation of wanting to go beyond faith. It used to be that faith (and even doubt) was the work of a lifetime. But eventually faith became a starting point, something from which one would move on in order to pursue the higher discipline of dialectical or rational thinking.

Fear a...more
"Fear and Trembling" is the most read writing of Kierkegaard. It poses the suspension of the ethical plane of living by the 'knight of faith' who hears God (Abraham) to achieve a religion plane of living through faith. It is a necessary reading but the serious reader of Kierkegaard needs also to read his other books. "Repetition" is a minor writing that relates Kierkegaard's struggle to 'recommit' to religious action in faith. The knight of faith intensifies religious ethics only in the actions...more
Mar 19, 2013 Madeleine marked it as to-read
(Note: Although this edition contains both Fear and Trembling and Repetition, I'm currently only interested in Fear and Trembling and have no intention of reading anything else this volume contains.)
In fall of 2006 I read Fear and Trembling (I'm going to stop underlining it now that I'm not saying two titles in one sentence "Fear and Trembling and Repetition" without underlining was weird to me.) for a class I briefly took on Kierkegaard. By the fall of '06, I was incredibly frustrated about col...more
Feb 03, 2008 John is currently reading it Recommends it for: People who think about religion
Fear and Trembling is Kierkegaard's treatment of the story of Abraham and Isaac, in which Kierkegaard assesses the ethical nature of Abraham's act. He doesn't approve nakedly of the decision, but treats Abraham as a unique individual who held a unique, personal relationship with God. Admitting that he cannot identify with Abraham, Kierkegaard approaches the problem through analogous examination of situations that are similar but not identical to Abraham's choice. Kierkegaard doesn't hand the rea...more
So, after being assigned this book in a class on German Idealism several years ago (three or four, I forget which), I finally got around to finishing it. In my defense, at the time I had just finished comps and this was the last book in the class and, well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.
This is a compilation of two books: Fear and Trembling and Repetition. Fear and Trembling engages the question of the nature of faith using the example of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac. Kirkegaard...more
Fear and Trembling was a re-read for me (a repetition?) and so I will not go into detail. I will simply say that it is a great work, a must read in philosophy, and probably the most well known of Kierkegaard's (although not necessarily). Repetition was a new one for me and was, I think, better than Fear and Trembling. Kierkegaard's pseudonym, Constantin Constantius, discusses and shares the story of a young meloncholiac who falls passionately in love, yet, from the start introduces tragedy into...more
Søren Kierkegaard is a strange one. He writes not just under pseudonyms, but in characters. I'm not sure I ever dug to the heart of what I thought he actually felt about Repetition. But I know what the two characters in the book think. Which is his view? Who knows? A very strange read.

Also, on a much more technical/practical note, I hate endnotes. This edition/translation has lots and lots of notes and they are all end-notes, a half a book away from the thing they are referencing.

I love footnot...more
Eh. I really feel like I should appreciate this more than I do. Still, the various portrayals of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac are psychological masterpieces.
A few words about (or, at least, tangentially about) Repetition: A poet becomes the poet through the experience of love, but what then becomes of love's object? Perhaps, he (or she) becomes married to that love, has children with that love, ages with that love, and the love of that love changes over time. But what if the very thing that makes the poet the poet is that initial love itself? What if that initial experience is the poet's very muse? The love is absorbed into the world of the poet and...more
Paul Hinman
About once a year I try to undertake a book that I wish I had read in college. Something that might require a bit of study, maybe even a little hand-holding to better understand. This was certainly one of those books. I'm hesitant to say that I enjoyed it, or even truly understood it - at least as it is universally understood (see what I did there?). I didn't hate reading it, but I can recognize that my method of reading 10-15 pages in a sitting isn't exactly well suited to a work like this. Rea...more
I really can't express how important this book is to me and my development. I can't say I agree with everything it espouses, but non the less, a very powerful and emotive look at a biblical passage and its ethical implications. Can't wait to read it again.

This is an excellent work on faith from the abraham narrative. The portion on the teleological suspension of the ethical and the knights of faith are particularly excellent, as is the rest of the book. Keep in mind that the pseudonym Kierkegaar...more
Dwight Davis
I loved Fear and Trembling but Repetition didn't really do it for me. Don't get me wrong, this probably has a lot more to do with me than with Kierkegaard. This is the kind of book I see myself coming back to over and over again seeking to understand.

This translation is fantastic and beautiful. I don't think I've ever read any philosophy or theology that is as beautifully written as Kierkegaard's, and this translation is very literary and beautiful.
For me reading Fear and Trembling was like studying the structure of the English language. I am learning about a structure of something that I know inherently. However, Repetition gave me an insight to so many facets of life in ways that I have never thought about them before. It made me question and revise the way that I love. Kierkegaard is wonderfully brilliant and definitely mad but so nauseatingly proper that he would never be put away for it.
The first about 20 pages of this book are the most profound and beautiful of any book I have ever read. Fear and Trembling is about faith and Abraham' solid faith in the Lord and what it must have been like for him to sacrifice Isaac. The essays are very rich and dense so it is not easy to read or understand, but Kierjegaard is one of the best Christian philosophers and I think this book is one of his most powerful.
John Keats
The writing's always brilliant and gorgeous with SK, even if you don't buy Christianity. But if you don't, he's probably easy to dismiss, no matter how well-constructed his books are.
John Ortega
For anyone that has ever wanted to dive into the wonderful world of philosophy with heavy ties to psychology and metaphysics, Repetition is the best start in the world to take a swim! I found this to be one of my favorite combinations (but I do recommend that you read Repetition before you read through Fear and Trembling (or any other of Kierkegaard's works for that matter). Seriously, brilliant!
Apr 18, 2012 Jem added it
Can there ever be something amiss with a God asking you to sacrifice your dearly beloved son?

Yeah, thought so. Kierkegaard takes issue with it writes in great detail what might have taken Abraham to bring his beloved Isaac along Moriah and (almost) kill him. Meant for people who want put the concept of a completely benevolent deity under the microscope. May or may not appeal to theists, though.
The content itself wasn't as interesting the second read around. But the form in which this is written... brilliant. Analyzing the scene's that are painted by the various sections, the different sorts of pagan poetic forms used to paint homilies of Moses, etc etc. Profound reworking of Christian ethical instruction... particularly for his danish society of domesticated, passionless religion.
Much drier than I expected, but I enjoyed Fear and Trembling simply because it has the best description of faith I've ever read. Kierkegaard's conception of faith as completely absurd is difficult to explain but one of the most insightful things I've ever heard about religion and single-handedly made me appreciate Fear and Trembling.
It's interesting to read a book on philosophy written by a Christian, usually they are mutually exclusive, but I like Kirkegaarde's take on things. I think he takes the base principles of churches and turns them upside down. As a christian, he is challenging, and I wish he could be appreciated more.
Sara Probber
I only read the Fear and Trembling part of this edition. It was stunning. Kierkegaard is, of course, dense and occasionally difficult to decipher. However, taking the time to do so is worth it. Being walked through his interpretation of the Abraham/Isaac text was a rewarding experience.
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  • Basic Writings
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Totality and Infinity:  An Essay on Exteriority
  • I and Thou
  • Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals/On a Supposed Right to Lie Because of Philanthropic Concerns
  • On Certainty
  • Margins of Philosophy
  • Theaetetus
  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • The World as Will and Representation, Vol 2
  • Theological-Political Treatise
  • The Complete Works: The Revised Oxford Translation, Vol. 1
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
More about Søren Kierkegaard...
Fear and Trembling The Sickness Unto Death (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 19) Either/Or: A Fragment of Life The Seducer's Diary The Essential Kierkegaard

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“A poet is not an apostle; he drives out devils only by the power of the devil.” 8 likes
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