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fear and trembling

gather your quiet on September 21, 2012 02:17

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Original recording but this is going to be on the Gather your quiet full length "Alone we thought we stood".

Title and concept taken from Søren Kierkegaard "Fear and Trembling"

In the "Exordium" and "Eulogy on Abraham," Johannes suggests how incomprehensible Abraham's faith is. Abraham didn't question God, didn't complain or weep, he didn't explain himself to anyone, he simply obeyed God's orders. The Exordium presents us with four alternative paths that Abraham could have taken, all of which might have rendered Abraham more understandable, but would make him something less than the father of faith. The eulogy asserts that there is no way we can understand Abraham, or what he did.

Johannes distinguishes between the tragic hero, who expresses the ethical, and the knight of faith, who expresses the religious. The tragic hero gives up everything in the movement of infinite resignation, and in so doing expresses the universal. The knight of faith also makes the movement of infinite resignation, but he makes another movement as well, the leap of faith, where he gets everything back by virtue of the absurd. While the tragic hero is universally admired and wept for, no one can understand the knight of faith. Johannes sets up three "problemata" to draw out this distinction.

The first problema begins with the Hegelian assertion that the ethical is the universal, and that it is the telos for everything outside itself. According to the ethical, what Abraham attempted was murder: his sacrifice cannot be understood in terms of the universal. Thus, he suggests, there must be a teleological suspension of the ethical. Abraham suspended his obligation to the universal to fulfill his higher duty to God.

The second problema suggests that, contrary to Kantian ethics, there is an absolute duty to God. Abraham by-passed all his ethical obligations to perform what God asked of him directly. As a result, he was constantly tempted by the ethical, but held fast.

The third problema provides hints as to why Abraham did not disclose his undertaking to anyone. Disclosure is associated with the universal and hiddenness with the single individual. Abraham acted as a single individual, isolated from the universal, and as such his actions could not be explained or disclosed.


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