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Fear and Trembling

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  16,619 ratings  ·  825 reviews
In Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard, writing under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio, expounds his personal view of religion through a discussion of the scene in Genesis in which Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son at God's command. Believing Abraham's unreserved obedience to be the essential leap of faith needed to make a full commitment to his religion, Kierkegaard hims ...more
Paperback, 166 pages
Published 1985 by Penguin Classics (first published October 16th 1843)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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!

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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Frygt og Bæven = fear and trembling, Søren Kierkegaard
Fear and Trembling (original Danish title: Frygt og Bæven) is a philosophical work by Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio (John of the Silence). Kierkegaard wanted to understand the anxiety that must have been present in Abraham when "God tested [him] and said to him, take Isaac, your only son, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him as a burnt offering on the mountain that I shall
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
“To contend with the whole world is a comfort, but to contend with oneself is dreadful.”

Fear and Trembling is Kierkegaard’s astonishingly dexterous analysis of faith via the Old Testament story of Abraham and Isaac:
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him…Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”    
Steven Godin
It is not an exaggeration to say that Fear and Trembling (1843) was a challenging piece for me to to read, maybe being someone of no religious faith had something to do with it. Kierkegaard (Johannes de silentio) compounds the essential difficulty that lies within the theme of the work, the Akedah, through choosing an alternative pseudonym to praise Abraham as a knight of faith and examine his movements. That the pseudonym's perspective is shrouded in silence seemingly precludes any clear and st ...more
Jun 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
It seems to me that after reading "Fear and Trembling" that all of my thinking on faith lies within Kierkegaard. Which isn't to claim that I understand his arguments but that his arguments have come to dominate the way I think about the issues.

Curiously although Kierkegaard's voice comes at us from the margins he seems oddly part of a broad current of nineteenth century writing, Dostoevsky, if he cold have got past the author being a non-Russian and a Lutheran would have agreed with the emphasis
Clif Hostetler
Fear and Trembling was originally published in 1843 written in Danish and under a pseudonymous name. The purpose of the book was two fold. First Kierkegaard wanted to describe the nature of true faith using the story of Abraham almost sacrificing Isaac to illustrate the concept. Second he wanted to counter the philosophy of Hegel who maintained that reason was the highest form of thought. Kierkegaard argued that faith was higher than reason.

However, Kierkegaard's understanding of faith was somet
Greg Watson
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fear and Trembling is an in-depth and challenging look at the Old Testament account of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac to God. The story is familiar, perhaps all too familiar as Kierkegaard notes. Without thinking, we jump to the outcome of the story or pass it off as a "trial," forgetting the time leading up to Abraham's testing in which he was silent. In his obedience to God, Abraham showed the paradox of faith -- he loved Isaac enough to be willing to lose him, but he had sufficient ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in translation. I was in awe of its author. However, the book is an easy read and the central situation (that Abraham has to sacrifice his only son Issac on God's command) around which the whole text revolves is intriguing and interesting too. Almost on every second page, I would read a line or two, and then just reflect on what is relayed. For instance, ''Faith begins where reason stops,'' and there are long sentences that one can think about for a long time. I also think that ...more
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
Sean Blake
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 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
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Tanuj Solanki
The Grand Leap of Faith

First published in The New Indian Express

I hope it is still in vogue among college-going folk to discuss not just the important matters of the day, but also vain philosophical question like, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ Or: ‘Is there a God, and if there is a God, how are we to act?’

I remember discussing such things with friends in the wee hours of hostel rooftop parties. Although the arguments never resolved, they made us feel the need to be better prepared. Anyone who c
May 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Joanna (wordsrmyweapon)
I’ve been studying this for the past few weeks in my philosophy class and though it tied my brain up in knots I found it incredibly profound and unique
David Huff
Aug 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I knew I was pretty deep in the philosophical pool -- again -- when concepts like "the teleological suspension of the ethical" started to float by, somewhat menacingly. This was also my first exposure to Kierkegaard, whose writing, though dense at times, was very compelling and often quite beautiful.

In this short volume, he wrestled with the Old Testament account of Abraham's journey to the mountain to sacrifice Isaac; he asks deep questions about Abraham's faith, and motives, and actions, all
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: made-me-think
Mmmm...much to think on. Very thought-provoking stuff. I think I need to re-read it a few times to really understand all he is saying.
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan Fritts
Feb 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dec 12, 2013 rated it really liked 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
Kierkegaard's aim is to explain a paradox, the act of which is a knowing paradox unto itself. And since it's a work of irony and contradiction, it gives him a pretty good critical angle in exploring the contradiction in ethics, aesthetics, theology, and elsewhere. It's a fairly original piece, and his embrace of the absurd is a pretty clear cut prelude to existentialism. However with the originality comes its paradoxical incommensurability, beyond the critiques it intends itself almost as more o ...more
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
Ali Reda
Sep 12, 2014 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
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Where to begin with this one? Fear and Trembling is the most profound meditation on the nature of religious belief that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It has affirmed some of my views on faith and led me to question many others. I hope to read it again soon, and to spend more time over it too.

I think it's fair to say that for Kierkegaard, faith is a form of surrender. When reason is cast off in favor of divine instruction, one could be said to act on faith. It is about being able to do
Abeer Abdullah
I was shocked at how boring it is, I cant get my self to be interested in theology ever
Khashayar Mohammadi
I have frequently read passages I've marked in the book, but it was the second time that I picked it up and read it cover to cover. I have heard countless times that Hegel, Kant or Derrida are hard to read, but I find Kierkegaard challenging on a whole other level. I find Kierkegaard to be one of the most profoundly artistic philosophers, especially when it comes to Faith and love. He is not just a great philosopher, but a fantastic writer, yet after numerous readings of Fear and Trembling, whic ...more
Emil  Astalus
Sep 09, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: toilet-paper
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 forgot 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 tha
Peg Catron
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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
“If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.” 353 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?” 168 likes
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