Self-Deception, Confusion, and Salvation in "Fear and Trembling" with "Works of Love"

Journal of Religious Ethics 28 (1):37 - 61 (2000)
Abstract
Reading "Fear and Trembling" with "Works of Love" heightens Kierkegaard's summons to acknowledge the ambiguity of our aims and the treachery of our love. "Works of Love" underscores that there is a "neighbor" in "Fear and Trembling" whose justified or damnable banishment occasions Kierkegaard's attempt to "track down" the "illusions" of love. Through de Silentio, Kierkegaard prompts the reader to consider whether the promise has been broken due to radical obedience, lack of faith, dearth of imagination, or a gnarled combination of motives. We are to recognize our kinship with the duplicitous merman and discover that we must, like Tobit's Sarah, receive an extravagant gift. "Fear and Trembling" is thus a text with soteriological import, but with ethical import as well. Convicted by and indebted to God, we are to find in Abraham's act a premonitory paradigm for every engagement
Keywords repentance  Abraham  self‐examination  love  gratitude  Kierkegaard
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