The Dane

An angel prevents the sacrifice of Isaac. Abra...

An angel prevents the sacrifice of Isaac. Abraham and Isaac, Rembrandt, 1634 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

kIt is not an exaggeration to say that Fear and Trembling (1843) is Kierkegaard’s most difficult work to interpret. Kierkegaard compounds the essential difficulty that lies within the theme of the work, the Akedah, through choosing a pseudonym by the name of Johannes de silentio to praise Abraham as a knight of faith and examine his movements. That the pseudonym’s perspective is shrouded in silence thus seemingly precludes any clear and straightforward understanding of this work. Ultimately, whether Kierkegaard’s Johannes de silentio is to be read with irony or edification appears as undecidable as whether we should view Abraham as a murderous madman — who in contrast to Nietzsche’s madman proclaiming the death of god proclaims a living god who has commanded the death of his son and then later a ram — or the great father of faith. Despite several overlapping themes, the essays in Conway’s edited collection testify to this monumental undecidability and the impossibility of a unified, non-paradoxical understanding of the nature of faith. Not even able to agree on exactly how to refer to the pseudonymous author — who throughout thirteen chapters is referred to in eight different ways (i.e., Johannes de silentio, Johannes de Silentio, Johannes de silentio, “Johannes de Silentio,” Johannes, de silentio, de Silentio, and Silentio) — the essays provide readers with multiple interpretations that explore the depths and nuances of a text which Kierkegaard rightly suggested would be his most read and discussed work long after his death.

Read the entire review.

Please join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s