Briefly: Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling
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Kierkegaard had been a student of theology in Copenhagen, and had come to hate the Danish Church. He produced hundreds of leaflets against the Church during his lifetime. However his writing was largely ignored, and he was not a popular or well-regarded thinker in his own time.
Hegel’s writing largely dominated philosophical thought throughout Kierkegaard’s life. Hegel believed that the highest goal for a person should be to loose oneself in the Universal. One should put aside his personal goals and ambitions and be motivated exclusively by the general interests of all.
Kierkegaard regarded the individual above all else and so was repelled by Hegel’s communitarian ethic. His Fear and Trembling is a sustained response to Hegel’s ideas. It uses the story of Genesis 22, 1-18, where Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac without question, and only faith, to put across his own ideas and philosophy. Fear and Trembling is a required text on the UK A level syllabus.
The SCM Briefly series is made up of short, accessible volumes which summarize books by philosophers and theologians, that are commonly used on theology and philosophy A level (school leaving) and Level One undergraduate courses.
Each Briefly includes line by line analysis and short quotes to give students a feel for the original text. In addition each book begins with a contextualizing introduction about the writer and his writings, and a glossary of terms follows the summary to help students with definitions of philosophical terms.
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