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

Length: 1631 words (4.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...


... middle of paper ...


...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Albert Camus and His Views on Existentialism Essay

- Albert Camus is considered one of the greatest existentialist writers of all time. However, although he was considered an existentialist writer, Camus never labeled himself as an existentialist. “No, I am not an existentialist”  (Albert Camus: Lyrical and Critical Essays, Vintage (1970)) Camus rejected in an 1945 interview, however in some of his literary works, some find that his writings are one of a true existentialistic thinker. Although many contrast these thoughts and believe that Camus was anything but a thinker of this philosophy, Camus is one of the main authors that people turn to research and read to understand the thinking of existentialism....   [tags: Existentialist Writer]

Powerful Essays
1002 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on Meaning and Existentialism in My Life

- Existentialism is a phiosophy which revolves around the central belief that we create ourselves. External factors are not important. It is the way that we let external factors affect us that determines who we are. As individuals we all have the freedom to choose our own path and that is what life is all about. Along with the freedom of choice comes the responsibilty of one's actions which can make some people anxious but give others meaning to their lives. To overcome this anxiousness and accept responsibilty is to meet the challenges of life and to truly live it....   [tags: Existentialism, ]

Powerful Essays
675 words (1.9 pages)

The meaning of the suffering of Meursault from the angle of existentialist crisis

- Existentialism tends to focus on the question of human existence — the feeling that there is no purpose, indeed nothing, at the core of existence. The term itself suggests one major theme: the stress on concrete individual existence and, consequently, on subjectivity, individual freedom, and choice. Sartre did not believe in God, so there was no place for the essence of humanity to be before human existence. For Existentialists like Sartre, the absence of God has a much larger significance than the metaphysics of creation....   [tags: Existentialism]

Powerful Essays
2072 words (5.9 pages)

Christian Existentialism Essay

- Christian Existentialism Webster's Dictionary defines Existentialism to be, "the philosophical movement centering on analysis of individual existence in an unfathomable universe and the plight of the individual who must assume ultimate responsibility for his acts of free will without any certain knowledge of what is right or wrong or good or bad." This seems to be the very antithesis of Christian doctrines in that it asserts the autonomy and independence of man rather than views them as subjects to a supreme being, however, Existentialism and Christianity can coexist....   [tags: Philosophy, Religion, Faith]

Free Essays
319 words (0.9 pages)

Essay on History of Existentialism

- This paper will explore all the aspects of the literary movement first present in the 19th century, existentialism. It will discuss the different climates, including social, political, and economic, that the literary movement was present during. Combining the basic dictionary definition and the numerous interpretations writers grasp from existentialism, the information provided will deepen the understanding of the origins, popularity, and breadth of the topic. Touching upon the works of famous existentialistic writers, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Franz Kafka, Luigi Pirandello, and Albert Camus, this paper will cover the whole existentialism period....   [tags: Literary Movement, World Climate]

Free Essays
441 words (1.3 pages)

Understanding Existentialism Essays

- Do we matter. Do we seek personal happiness in life. These are questions from existentialism. The dictionary defines existentialism as an individual’s experience filled with isolation in a hostile universe where a human being attempts to find true self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. Hamlet is an existentialist character who believes that he is forced to avenge his father’s death and the hatred builds in his heart because of the many betrayals which direct him towards a senseless life and constant thoughts about suicide; this ultimately leads to his demise and he is left with naught....   [tags: Existentialism]

Powerful Essays
872 words (2.5 pages)

Existentialism in Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis Essay examples

- Existentialism in Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis In Franz Kafka’s short story, Metamorphosis, the idea of existentialism is brought out in a subtle, yet definite way. Existentialism is defined as a belief in which an individual is ultimately in charge of placing meaning into their life, and that life alone is meaningless. They do not believe in any sort of ultimate power and focus much of their attention on concepts such as dread, boredom, freedom and nothingness. This philosophical literary movement emerged in the twentieth-century, when Kafka was establishing his writing style in regards to alienation and distorted anxiety....   [tags: Kafka Literature existentialism]

Free Essays
1489 words (4.3 pages)

Existentialism Essay

- Existentialism 'Existence precedes essence'. These are the few words that many people live by. These words describe a philosophy called Existentialism. The philosophical term, Existentialism, came from Jean Paul Sartre, a French philosopher. Jean Paul Sartre wrote 'No Exit', where he portrayed his philosophy negatively. On the other hand, Albert Camus, who wrote The Stranger, portrayed Existentialism positively through his characters. Each author uses the characteristics of Existentialism positively or negatively to define their own story as well as their characters as true Existentialists or not      Existentialism has been described as a philosophical movement especially of the 20th cent...   [tags: Philosophy Sartre Existentialist Essays]

Free Essays
1272 words (3.6 pages)

Existentialism Essay

- Existentialism is perhaps one of the world’s oldest philosophies. It has been dated back to nineteenth-century Danish and Greek philosophers. It is a simple idea, yet it has so many different ideals within it that it is almost impossible to define. There are many parts that make up one whole, basic idea. The many parts have been defined by famous existentialist artists and writers such as, Nietzsche, Chamfort, Sartre, and Kafka. These works have all proven many points about existentialism; however, even the pros cannot decide on one basic idea....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
574 words (1.6 pages)

Existentialism Essays

- Existentialism Existentialism is a philosophical movement that stresses individual existence. Human beings are totally free and responsible for their own acts. Another main idea of existentialism is the limitation of reason and the irreducibility of experience to any system. Man is not a detached observer of the world; rather, he "exists" in a special sense - he is "in the world." Stones, trees, and other objects do not share this existence, and man is open to the world and the objects in it....   [tags: Papers Philosophy Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
2190 words (6.3 pages)