Fear and Trembling

Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard

I will begin by saying that many of my favorite quotes are from Kierkegaard. I have read quotes and I have read about him but never read anything of his until now. And I must say that I was disappointed, sometimes confused, and often felt like he was rambling.

This work is about Abraham's call to sacrifice the son of promise, Isaac. This story is one of the most famous for two faiths and has caused a great deal of angst for me personally, and probably many others that stop to think it through. In my opinion, Kierkegaard could have processed this story in a meaningful way in about 30 pages. Here are the things that caused me to bend the pages over and make marks:

  • pg. 52 - this quote requires some thought - "Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so that anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith; for only in infinite resignation does my eternal validity become transparent to me, and only then can there be talk of grasping existence on the strength of faith." This rings true to me; the question is why do we settle for such an easy concept of faith?
  • pg. 77 - the distress, agony, and paradox of Mary
  • pg. 91 - the knight of faith is a hypocrite
  • pg. 95 - the knight of faith and the sectarian; "the sectarians deafen each other with their clang and clatter, hold dread at bay with their shrieks, and a whooping Sunday-outing like this thinks it is storming heaven, believes it is following the same path as the knight of faith who, in cosmic isolation, hears never a voice but walks alone with his dreadful responsibility."
So, will I read another work by Kierkegaard? Yes, but next time with no other books on my nightstand and in a season of less distraction. His seems to be the kind one needs to ruminate on.


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