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Fear and Trembling & Repetition (Kierkegaard's Writings, Volume 6)

4.21  ·  Rating Details ·  4,003 Ratings  ·  82 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
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 1st 1983 by Princeton University Press
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Jim Coughenour
Feb 13, 2009 Jim Coughenour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thinkingcap
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
Although the aim of this book is largely philosophical, I think that its most important merit lies in its poetical resonance.
I only skimmed through the first part (Fear & Trembling), so I can't say much about it.
The second part of the book (Repetition) is very interesting. According to the narrator, repetition is what helps us go forth, as unlikely as it may seem to some. Repetition is not recollection for what is repeated directs itself toward the future, while recollection traps the indivi
Dallin Bruun
Oct 21, 2010 Dallin Bruun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2013 Patrick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jesse Grove
Dec 28, 2009 Jesse Grove rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dr. A
Read this and reviews of other classics in Western Philosophy on the History page of (a thinkPhilosophy Production).

Writing under the pseudonyms of Johannes de Silentio and Constantine Constantius respectively, in these two key works of Søren Kierkegaard’s body of work, he takes up the power of the absurd — that which is beyond reason or understanding. In Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard examines the biblical story of Abraham, who is asked by God to sacrifice hi
Wrote my undergrad thesis on these two texts. How am I responsible for who I become? What does it mean to commit? How do I make it through that "thunderstorm," that existential struggle and moment of doubt that Constantius's young man talks about? What about faith? and my being a temporal being? Kierkegaard's pseudonyms certainly don't tell us, nor ought they...
Feb 12, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 15, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me fear and tremble. I absolutely fell in love with the characters!
Nov 14, 2007 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Daniel Cheng
Jun 08, 2015 Daniel Cheng rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was always confused how a man as devoutly religious as Soren Kierkegaard could have started a philosophy as individual as existentialism. However, Kierkegaard's conception of the religious is not about strictly following what you learned in Sunday school. In fact, Kierkegaard removes the comfort of any reliance on experience, a metaphysic, or an authority figure, forcing us to silently face the world alone and take responsibility for our decisions. Kierkegaard's faith asks us to persevere thro ...more
Andrew Tucker
May 20, 2015 Andrew Tucker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I didn't understand much of this at first due to a rigorous semester. But the more I wrote on it the more I realized and understood it's significance. Every Christian should interact with this, at least the idea of the teleological suspension of the ethical.
Jul 20, 2009 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most difficult books I've ever read, but well worth it.
David Calhoun
Nov 25, 2016 David Calhoun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read this in college, many years ago now. I really liked the rebellious spirit in Kierkegaard, but became somewhat skeptical of his philosophy. His emphasis on the subjective/faith/individual experience over the objective/ethical/universal experience seemed to me something that could lead to a sort of moral relativism, if taken to an extreme. But I think my understanding was a bit off the mark. I don't think Kierkegaard was saying we should entirely throw away philosophy and science, and ...more
John Lawrence
Jan 24, 2013 John Lawrence rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Pastor Ben
Feb 15, 2017 Pastor Ben rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's maybe foolish of me to rate these two books when I've only very partially understood them. I console myself with the thought that I'm not the first nor will I be the last to struggle to understand Kierkegaard. If the erstwhile king of Denmark, Frederich VII, is good company then I'm in it.
Alex Obrigewitsch
Sep 17, 2016 Alex Obrigewitsch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The two works contained in this volume both seek to address what Kierkegaard termed 'the religious,' though from different angles and through different pseudonymous life views.

Fear and Trembling aims at an impossible task - to understand the single individual in relation to God who is placed above or before the universal or the ethical. This is done through a rigorous questioning of Abraham and an explication of faith. But the movement of faith causes the human to tremble, for it plunges into an
Ben Brewski
Very poetic and well-written, Fear and Trembling calls into question Hegel's ethical philosophy by examining the story of Abraham and Isaac. Of course, Kierkegaard's whole schema is a response to Hegel's thinking, which is weird if you don't really buy into Hegel's ideas in the first place. Much of Kierkegaard's reasoning seems like the flip-side of what Hegel says, so it's hard to see the two as contraries - more like two sides of the same coin. Overall, this work did influence and help fund an ...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
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
(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
Jan 18, 2013 Vince rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
"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
Jan 06, 2008 John added it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 08, 2012 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 04, 2012 Forsythe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2008 Nathaniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 23, 2014 Paige rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with my previous of the book, Kierkegaard is hard. There's nothing easy about the manner in which the man writes. However, I deeply appreciate his reflections on faith and his strong desire to address the problems he identified in his Danish community. It is one I see present within my American one as well. It was refreshing to hear faith talked about again, not as a mere stepping stone, but as an end in itself. I'm sure I'l revisit this book and gain even more insight into the cryptic mind t ...more
Jan 07, 2009 Irene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Fear and Trembling" for one of my philosophy classes. I first read it without any guidance or preparation, so it was not surprising to learn that I had completely misinterpreted it on my own. Unless you're some sort of prodigy, this is the kind of book that you need to be guided through, carefully and patiently, by an expert. It can turn out to be an utterly tortuous process, or an enlightening one, as it was for me.
Apr 10, 2011 Angela. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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  • Basic Writings: Ten Key Essays, plus the Introduction to Being and Time
  • Totality and Infinity:  An Essay on Exteriority
  • Summa Contra Gentiles: Book 1: God
  • I and Thou
  • Untimely Meditations
  • Cartesian Meditations: An Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Søren Kierkegaard: A Biography
  • Pensées and Other Writings
  • The Gift of Death
  • The Basic Works of Aristotle
  • The Collected Dialogues
  • Political Writings (Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • On Free Choice of the Will
  • Phenomenology of Spirit
  • Essays in Existentialism
  • The Blue and Brown Books
  • Phenomenology of Perception
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...

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“A poet is not an apostle; he drives out devils only by the power of the devil.” 14 likes
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