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David Heinemeier Hansson (Co-Founder/Basecamp)
While most of the 20th century existentialists, like Sartre and Camus, were devout atheists, Kierkegaard is an existentialist obsessed with faith. Fear and Trembling is a very long, and at times obtuse, meditation on the topic of faith and doubt. It uses the story of Abraham and Isaac to contrast the ideas of faith and humanism. Kierkegaard is in awe of Abraham’s faith and how it compels him to sacrifice Isaac, and he uses that to interrogate the topic of faith in general.
I found the theological acrobatics employed by Kierkegaard a bit strained, to say the least. But it was a fascinating read none the less, and Kierkegaard’s language and metaphors and incredible depth is inspiring. I’m keen to give this a read in the original Danish form.
The infamous and controversial work that made a lasting impression on both modern Protestant theology and existentialist philosophers such as Sartre and Camus
Writing under the pseudonym of "Johannes de silentio," Kierkegaard expounds his personal view of religion through a discussion of the scene in Genesis in which Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son Isaac at God's command. Believing Abraham's unreserved obedience to be the essential leap of faith needed to make a full commitment to his religion, Kierkegaard himself made great sacrifices in order to dedicate his life entirely to his philosophy and to God. The conviction shown in this religious polemic—that a man can have an exceptional mission in life—informed all Kierkegaard's later writings. His "teleological suspension of the ethical" challenged the contemporary views of Hegel's universal moral system, and was also hugely influential for both protestant theology and the existentialist movement.
Alastair Hannay's introduction evaluates Kierkegaard's philosophy and the ways in which it conflicted with more accepted contemporary views. This edition also includes detailed notes to complement this groundbreaking analysis of religion, and a new chronology.
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