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Fear and Trembling (Penguin Great Ideas)

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  12,509 ratings  ·  475 reviews
The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want ...more
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Published (first published 1843)
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Dec 04, 2013 Ryan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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!
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
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
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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"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
Megan Fritts
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.
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
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
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
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
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*
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.
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
Peg Catron
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
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.
Ali Reda
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
What was it that made Abraham's "test" such a remarkable event? We are already aware of the great faith that Abraham exhibited through his trust in God's promise (before the birth of Isaac) that his seed would produce a great nation despite his advanced age and his wife's barrenness. His "test" wasn't in obeying God's order to sacrifice his beloved son, no matter how difficult or distasteful, nor was it in believing that God would not ask him to commit an "unethical" act such as murder, nor even ...more
Le Matt
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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
Ken Moten
Nov 28, 2011 Ken Moten rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in Philosophy, Existentialism, Abrahamic theology (yes all three faiths)
This was a very enlightening book. It is "sort-of dense", but that's to be expected of philosophy. The book is a very thorough examination of faith and it uses Abraham's almost sacrifice of Issac as the bases for examining faith. What I like about the way he explains it is that he does it in such a down-to-earth way. Witty, deep, sarcastic and questioning, he is a true philosopher. But what is also unique is that you really see over the course of this book that he is a true, dedicated Christian. ...more
سید اکبر
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
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
Kate Davis
Carl Raschke claims that this work is the height of Kierkegaard's thinking: "If you don't like 'Fear and Trembling', you don't like Kierkegaard."

Apparently, I'm conflicted toward Kierkegaard.

I value his understanding of 'self' as a process that is always in process of being created and reconstitued through faith. Self is not a thing-in-itself that can be encountered or discovered. It is a process. Self is a verb.

And yet, he fundamentally is lacking something in his understanding of faith; namely
Kierkegaard logic is immaculate in the narrow horizon of the believer, but his " philosophy" is just a soap bubble. A very beautiful one, but still a soap bubble.Of course, a believer can't explain his faith in a logical way; that's why it's called faith and not knowledge. But Mr. Kierkegaard forget that faith can be rationalized from outside, with the help of psychology, sociology etc.

True Kierkegaard, I can't explain with logical arguments my belief that sun is revolving around earth and that
Something different, always something different and chilling. Even though Kierkegaard was no theologian, he sure knew how to interpret it the best and how to deal with holy scriptures and in this case, the story of Abraham sacrificing his son. Reading this, you will get one of your concepts altered somehow. Its rare now to find an honest and sincere writer and seeker of truth like Kierkegaard, he sure had the courage to stand for his faith and everything he believed in, opposing the intellectual ...more
Aaron Will
Regarding the quality of content this book is more than 3 stars, but the stars I gave it are based on my experience with the book.

So much of it was over my head, since I don't know a lot about philosophy at this point. But Kierkegaard brought up points along the way that have occupied my thoughts for a long time, and that is really what I look for in a book, something that engages the mind and gets you to think. I will probably never read the story of Abraham/Isaac the same way again, and I mean
Farah Al-Shuhail
Kierkegaard reflects on the biblical story of Abraham to extract a dialectical argument that proves that faith is a paradox which no thought can grasp, then he poses three different problems that later became the fundamentals of Christian existentialism: the theological, the ethical and the aesthetic. One of the key ideas of this work is that there can be a teleological suspension of the ethical. Kierkegaard mainly argues that ethics, as opposed to the respectable but sentimental aesthetics, put ...more
Shoot, my first review got lost.

Made it through F&T. For the most part it was difficult to finish. Disdain for crowds and glorification of "the individual" contribute to an unhappy philosophy which I have difficulties supporting for very long. Does this makes me an esthete?

Putting Kierkegaard aside for now, will tackle Either/Or in the future.
The Penguin Great Ideas edition of this book is missing the key subtitle, "A Dialectical Lyric". Indeed, this book leaves one wanting as "pure" dialectic, and you'd have to be a sad scholar to read it as such, but as a poem it is a great book. It actually follows the Oriental poetic structure called Kishōtenketsu.

Ki: The main character draws you into the story using his obsession with Abraham.

Shō: The character of Don Quixote is introduced as a counterweight to Abraham.

Ten: It is revealed that t
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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
More about Søren Kierkegaard...
The Sickness Unto Death (Kierkegaard's Writings, Vol 19) Either/Or: A Fragment of Life The Seducer's Diary The Essential Kierkegaard Philosophical Fragments (Writings, Vol 7)

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“If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.” 192 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?” 77 likes
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