Kierkegaard and Abraham: A Literary Tool and Belief in the Ideal Christian-Existentialist

Kierkegaard and Abraham: A Literary Tool and Belief in the Ideal Christian-Existentialist

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Abraham, the father of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic religions is held up by Kierkegaard as the perfect model for faith in Fear and Trembling. The specific example most strongly used in Kierkegaard’s writing is the unhesitant actions of Abraham to heed God’s call and sacrifice his only son and promised heir to his kingdom, Isaac. Abraham faithfully follows God’s command without remorse, doubt, sadness, or anger. It is only moments before the murder and sacrifice of Isaac that God intervenes and send a ram in his stead. This action is elevated by Kierkegaard as the ideal living example of a knight of faith (99). Abraham’s resolute willingness to suspend all the normal ethical systems, what Kierkegaard refers to as the teleological suspension of the ethical, in order to fulfill his duty to God provides a roadmap for others to act as knights of faith (83). However, Abraham as an objective standard for the ideal knight of faith becomes extremely problematic once his life as a whole is critically analyzed in accordance with scriptures. Instead Kierkegaard used the myth of Abraham and Isaac as a literary tool to help explicate his ideal model for humanity’s relationship with the divine. It is also arguable that a better knight of faith would have been Kierkegaard himself.
Before criticizing Abraham as a model for someone of true subjective faith, it must first be understood how Kierkegaard views the individual and faith. He would argue that the self is not a static object, but instead an ever-changing action as the self continues to relate to itself, and in a proper mode of faith, to God. Faith, Kierkegaard argues, is also not something which is static and simply attainable through one action or that can be “attained at a barg...


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...o cities. They are two unequal comparisons and the leap of faith exists in a wake of uncertainty. Nevertheless Kierkegaard continued faithing, in spite of overwhelming existential doubt. By making the continued leap, Kierkegaard displayed far more courage in the face of uncertainty then Abraham and his trial with Isaac, and holds more characteristics required to be the knight of faith because he still believes in the impossible without experiencing the impossible.



Works Cited
New King James Version. Fully rev. ed. Thomas Nelson. 1982. Web. 3 Nov. 2011
Kierkegaard, Soren. Fear and Trembling. New York, New York: Penguin Publishing, 1985.
Print.
Kierkegaard, Soren. Concluding Unscientific Postscript. Trans. David F. Swenson and Walter
Lowerie. Princeton University Press, 1961. Print.

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