<i>Fear and Trembling</i>: “Who is Able to Understand Abraham?”

Kevin Newmark

in Irony on Occasion

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780823240128
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240166 | DOI:
Fear and Trembling: “Who is Able to Understand Abraham?”

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The major articulation in Kierkegaard's works occurs as a passage from Greek recollection to Christian repetition. But what exactly does repetition mean in Kierkegaard's writing and to what extent would it remain compatible with philosophical discourse, much less Christian orthodoxy? This chapter examines Kierkegaard's “repetition” as a force that propels Greek recollection into historical actuality, though only by placing thought's own history forever beyond all dialectical and religious authority. This force, theorized and exemplified in Repetition, is also inscribed in Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard's most remarkable treatment of the relation between thought, recollection, mediation, repetition, and history. Abraham's faith involves thought in a collision with the Absolute, one in which history as repetition must re-inaugurate itself at every instant. A consideration of the other two figures taken up again by Kierkegaard's text—Isaac and the ram—suggests how Kierkegaardian repetition opens a mode of historicity as ironic as it is unbelievable.

Keywords: Repetition; Recollection; Mediation; Repetition; Fear and Trembling; History; Abraham; Faith; Isaac; Ram; Irony

Chapter.  11912 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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