Sunday, August 27, 2017

Summary: Eulogy on Abraham / Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard -

Søren Kierkegaard (or his pseudonym Johannes de silentio) opens the first chapter of Fear and Trembling ("Eulogy on Abraham") by holding that without the consciousness of eternity life will be desperate. A random life, for Kierkegaard, is an empty and meaningless life. For this end God has created, like man and woman, the hero and the  poet. The poet cannot do what the hero did but he can admire him and speak his praise , thus uniting with him.

A man is as big as what he loves. Someone who loves himself remains only within his own size, someone who loves others grows by his Love and he who loves God will be the greatest of them all. One wishes for the possible, the other wishes for the eternal, while the man of faith wishes for the impossible and it is he who resides with God. This, according to Kierkegaard, is Abraham, who "was greater than all, great by reason of his power whose strength is impotence, great by reason of his wisdom whose secret is foolishness, great by reason of his hope whose form is madness, great by reason of the love which is hatred of oneself" (Fear and Trembling, p.68).

Faith drove Abraham to abandon both earthy reason and his father's home, to be a stranger whose comfort is the company of God. Faith was also the reason for the promise given to Abraham. Abraham was indeed saddened by leaving his home and the prolonged wait for his son, but he chose to have faith. Abraham in Kierkegaard's view gave up everything but his faith, and is the reason why he is the father of faith. As Abraham grew older it was his faith in the promise given to him by God that kept him (and Sara) alive and young enough to hope to see its fulfillment. Abraham was eventually given his promised heir by to power of his faith in that promise.

But with the birth of Isaac Abraham still had one more battle to win, the hardest one all. see next part of our summary.

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