Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death

Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death

SØREN KIERKEGAARD
TRANSLATED AND WITH NOTES BY WALTER LOWRIE
WITH A NEW INTRODUCTION BY GORDON MARINO
Copyright Date: 1941
Pages: 304
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt24hq8m
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  • Book Info
    Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death
    Book Description:

    Walter Lowrie's classic, bestselling translation of Søren Kierkegaard's most important and popular books remains unmatched for its readability and literary quality.Fear and TremblingandThe Sickness Unto Deathestablished Kierkegaard as the father of existentialism and have come to define his contribution to philosophy. Lowrie's translation, first published in 1941 and later revised, was the first in English, and it has introduced hundreds of thousands of readers to Kierkegaard's thought. Kierkegaard countedFear and TremblingandThe Sickness Unto Deathamong "the most perfect books I have written," and in them he introduces two terms--"the absurd" and "despair"--that have become key terms in modern thought. Fear and Trembling takes up the story of Abraham and Isaac to explore a faith that transcends the ethical, persists in the face of the absurd, and meets its reward in the return of all that the faithful one is willing to sacrifice, while The Sickness Unto Death examines the spiritual anxiety of despair.

    Walter Lowrie's magnificent translation of these seminal works continues to provide an ideal introduction to Kierkegaard. And, as Gordon Marino argues in a new introduction, these books are as relevant as ever in today's age of anxiety.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4616-0
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. vii-xvi)
    Gordon Marino

    In his brief days under the sun, Søren Kierkegaard published more than twenty books. True, there are a couple of tomes that could have profited from another draft, but overall, the otherworldly quality of his prose and the wisdom embedded on every other page are often jaw- and, yes, book-dropping. There have been many occasions in which my eye traveled across a sentence and the text simply slipped from my hands as I shook my head in wonder. For example, I lost my page on this line fromFear and Trembling:

    If there were no eternal consciousness in a man,...

  4. FEAR AND TREMBLING
    • EDITOR’S PREFACE
      (pp. 5-6)
      WALTER LOWRIE
    • EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 7-30)

      It is obviously appropriate that this book should be published on the same day asRepetition; for nearly a hundred years ago these two books were first published in Copenhagen on the same date, they were both written during a stay of barely two months in Berlin, and they both deal with the same theme, or rather with the same crisis in S.K.’s life, although they deal with it in ways as different as can be imagined, one being appropriately entitled “a dialectical lyric” and the other “an essay in experimental psychology.” It may be expected therefore that a reader...

    • PREFACE
      (pp. 31-36)
      Johannes de silentio
    • PRELUDE
      (pp. 37-44)

      Once upon a time there was a man who as a child had heard the beautiful story11about how God tempted Abraham, and how he endured temptation, kept the faith, and a second time received again a son contrary to expectation. When the child became older he read the same story with even greater admiration, for life had separated what was united in the pious simplicity of the child. The older he became, the more frequently his mind reverted to that story, his enthusiasm became greater and greater, and yet he was less and less able to understand the story....

    • A PANEGYRIC UPON ABRAHAM
      (pp. 45-58)

      If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the foundation of all there lay only a wildly seething power which writhing with obscure passions produced everything that is great and everything that is insignificant, if a bottomless void never satiated lay hidden beneath all—what then would life be but despair? If such were the case, if there were no sacred bond which united mankind, if one generation arose after another like the leafage in the forest, if the one generation replaced the other like the song of birds in the forest, if the human race passed...

    • PROBLEMATA
      • PRELIMINARY EXPECTORATION
        (pp. 61-106)

        An old proverb fetched from the outward aspect of the visible world says: “Only the man that works gets the bread.” Strangely enough this proverb does not aptly apply in that world to which it expressly belongs. For the outward world is subjected to the law of imperfection, and again and again the experience is repeated that he too who does not work gets the bread, and that he who sleeps gets it more abundantly than the man who works. In the outward world everything is made payable to the bearer, this world is in bondage to the law of...

      • PROBLEM I IS THERE SUCH A THING AS A TELEOLOGICAL SUSPENSION OF THE ETHICAL?
        (pp. 107-129)

        The ethical as such is the universal, it applies to everyone, and the same thing is expressed from another point of view by saying that it applies every instant. It reposes immanently in itself, it has nothing without itself which is itstelos,40but is itselftelosfor everything outside it, and when this has been incorporated by the ethical it can go no further. Conceived immediately as physical and psychical, the particular individual is the particular which has itstelosin the universal, and its task is to express itself constantly in it, to abolish its particularity in order...

      • PROBLEM II IS THERE SUCH A THING AS AN ABSOLUTE DUTY TOWARD GOD?
        (pp. 130-151)

        The ethical is the universal, and as such it is again the divine. One has therefore a right to say that fundamentally every duty is a duty toward God; but if one cannot say more, then one affirms at the same time that properly I have no duty toward God. Duty becomes duty by being referred to God, but in duty itself I do not come into relation with God. Thus it is a duty to love one’s neighbor, but in performing this duty I do not come into relation with God but with the neighbor whom I love. If...

      • PROBLEM III WAS ABRAHAM ETHICALLY DEFENSIBLE IN KEEPING SILENT ABOUT HIS PURPOSE BEFORE SARAH, BEFORE ELEAZAR, BEFORE ISAAC?
        (pp. 152-216)

        The ethical as such is the universal, again, as the universal it is the manifest, the revealed. The individual regarded as he is immediately, that is, as a physical and psychical being, is the hidden, the concealed. So his ethical task is to develop out of this concealment and to reveal himself in the universal. Hence whenever he wills to remain in concealment he sins and lies in temptation (Anfechtung), out of which he can come only by revealing himself.

        With this we are back again at the same point. If there is not a concealment which has its ground...

    • EPILOGUE
      (pp. 217-222)

      One time in Holland when the market was rather dull for spices the merchants had several cargoes dumped into the sea to peg up prices. This was a pardonable, perhaps a necessary device for deluding people. Is it something like that we need now in the world of spirit? Are we so thoroughly convinced that we have attained the highest point that there is nothing left for us but to piously make ourselves believe that we have not got so far—just for the sake of having something left to occupy our time? Is it such a self-deception the present...

    • APPENDIX EDITOR’S NOTES
      (pp. 223-234)
  5. THE SICKNESS UNTO DEATH
    • PREFACE BY THE TRANSLATOR
      (pp. 237-240)
      WALTER LOWRIE
    • INTRODUCTION BY THE TRANSLATOR
      (pp. 241-254)
      W. L.

      My book onKierkegaard(pp. 408-449) furnishes a more ample introduction to the works of this period of S.K.’s life, and to this work in particular, than can be given here, and the following chapter (pp. 450-483) gives an account of the difficulty he encountered in deciding to publish them. A more searching analysis of the whole situation may be found in theKierkegaard-Studienof Professor Emanuel Hirsch, pp.357-389.

      This is not said as a way of evading the task of writing an introduction to this book, but as a justification for restricting the scope of it to essential points...

    • PREFACE
      (pp. 255-262)
    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 263-266)

      “This sickness is not unto death” (John 11:4), and yet Lazarus died; for when the disciples misunderstood the words which Christ adjoined later, “Lazarus our friend is asleep, but I go to wake him out of his sleep” (11:11), He said plainly, “Lazarus is dead” (11:14). So then Lazarus is dead, and yet this sickness was not unto death; he was dead, and yet this sickness is not unto death. Now we know that Christ was thinking of the miracle which would permit the bystanders, “if they believed, to see the glory of God” (11:40), the miracle by which He...

    • PART FIRST THE SICKNESS UNTO DEATH IS DESPAIR
      • I. THAT DESPAIR IS THE SICKNESS UNTO DEATH
        (pp. 269-283)

        Man is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation [which accounts for it] that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but [consists in the fact] that the relation relates itself to its own self. Man is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of freedom and necessity, in short it is a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between...

      • II. THE UNIVERSALITY OF THIS SICKNESS (SIN)
        (pp. 284-294)

        Just as the physician might say that there lives perhaps not one single man who is in perfect health, so one might say perhaps that there lives not one single man who after all is not to some extent in despair, in whose inmost parts there does not dwell a disquietude, a perturbation, a discord, an anxious dread of an unknown something, or of a something he does not even dare to make acquaintance with, dread of a possibility of life, or dread of himself, so that, after all, as physicians speak of a man going about with a disease...

      • III. THE FORMS OF THIS SICKNESS, i.e. OF DESPAIR
        (pp. 295-372)

        The forms of despair must be discoverable abstractly by reflecting upon the factors which compose the self as a synthesis. The self is composed of infinity and finiteness. But the synthesis is a relationship, and it is a relationship which, though it is derived, relates itself to itself, which means freedom. The self is freedom. But freedom is the dialectical element in the terms possibility and necessity.

        Principally, however, despair must be viewed under the category of consciousness: the question whether despair is conscious or not, determines the qualitative difference between despair and despair. In its concept all despair is...

    • PART SECOND DESPAIR IS SIN
      • I. DESPAIR IS SIN
        (pp. 375-422)

        Sin is this:before God,or with the conception of God,to be in despair at not willing to be oneself,or in despair at willing to be oneself. Thus sin is potentiated weakness or potentiated defiance: sin is the potentiation of despair. The point upon which the emphasis rests isbefore God, or the fact that the conception of God is involved; the factor which dialectically, ethically, religiously, makes “qualified” despair (to use a juridical term) synonymous with sin is the conception of God.

        Although in this Second Part, and especially in this section, there is no place or...

      • II. CONTINUATION OF SIN
        (pp. 423-468)

        Every state or condition in sin is new sin, or, as it might be more exactly expressed and as it will be expressed in the following, the state of being in sin is the new sin, is emphatically the sin. This seems perhaps to the sinner an exaggeration; he at the most recognizes every actual sin as a new sin. But eternity which keeps his accounts must register the state of being in sin as a new sin. It has only two rubrics, and “everything which is not of faith is sin”; every unrepented sin is a new sin. But...

    • EDITOR’S NOTES
      (pp. 471-478)
    • INDEX
      (pp. 479-484)