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2010-02-11 18:18:50
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Kierkegaard; Fear and Trembling


Fear and Trembling is a philosophical book in which Kierkegaard (writing under the pseudonym Johannes de silentio) sets out to express exactly how difficult it is to have faith. Kierkegaard thinks most people vastly overestimate how easy it is to have faith, and believes that actually, it requires a vast effort to achieve, because it requires understanding of the paradoxical beliefs faith demands from you - you must be prepared to surrender everything, and indeed, believe you have to surrender everything and still, through the strength of the absurd, believe that God will give it back to you. To illustrate his point he take Abraham - the 'father of faith' - as an example throughout the whole book.

Personally, I found Fear and Trembling slightly easier going than some of the other Kierkegaard I've read, and I also found it all highly engaging and stimulating. The first few pages - the Preface, Attunement, and Speech in Praise of Abraham are amazing - the kind of thing I'd recommend anyone interested in philosophy, religion, or theology read, even if they then didn't read the rest. I can honestly say I never really appreciated the enormity of Abraham's dilemma and all its implications until I read this. If you do go on to read the rest of it, you might find that you have to read certain parts a few times to properly understand what he's saying (the style is not always straight-forward and clear in its explanation), but it's well worth the effort. Even if by the end, you're pretty sure that you've not understood all of it, understanding any of it is certainly an enriching experience.
/ [SilverFire]

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