Knights of Faith and Resignation

Reading Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling

By Edward F. Mooney

Subjects: Christianity
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791405734, 208 pages, July 1991
Hardcover : 9780791405727, 208 pages, July 1991

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Table of contents



Note on Translation

1. Masks and Commitment: An Introduction


The Writer and His Masks
Reason in Transformations
The Christian Assumption
An Overview


2. Ordeals of Meaning: Art, Deed, and System


Preface: Commerce, Spirit, and Hegel's System
Attunement: Finding the Symbolic Key
Speech in Praise of Abraham: Art and Admiration


3. Ordeals of Love: Preamble from the Heart


The Knight and His Princess
Finite/Infinite, Temporal/Eternal
Resignation vs. Faith
Proprietary Claim and Selfless Concern
Receptivity and Return
The Absurd
Abraham: Dread and Joy


4. Ordeals of Reason and Ethics: Dilemmas and Subjectivity


Preserving Fear and Trembling
Sarte and Dilemma
Universal and Particular
Abraham's Silence
Subjectivity and Reason


5. Ordeals of Reason and Ethics: Suspensions and Faiths


Suspension as Dilemma
Irrationality, Faith, and the Fanatic
Refusing God
Faiths, Secular, and Religious


6. Ordeals and Reconciliations: Getting Isaac Back


Resignation, Humility, and Value
Suspending the Universal: Individual Worth
Gift and Giver
Essential Humanity: The Universal Returned


7. Ordeals and Reconciliations: Faith and Moral Virtue


Kant, Kierkegaard, and Hidden Inwardness
The Invisible Knight
The Tale Retold


8. Ordeals of Silence: Ethics and Transformations


Marks of the Ethical
The Limits of Ethics
Ethics Transformed


9. Ordeals of Silence: Faith and Concealments


Silences Once More
Kinds of Concealment
Writing and Redemption


10. From Socrates to Abraham: An Epilogue





Knights of Faith and Resignation brings out the richness of Kierkegaard's creative invention, the contemporary relevance of his contrasts between resignation and faith, and his probing conceptual analysis of aesthetic, moral, and religious psychology and life-perspectives. And in tracing Kierkegaard's analysis of objectivity, subjectivity, virtue ethics, passion, dilemmas, commitment, and self-reflection, Mooney brings out a striking convergence between Kierkegaard and analytic philosophy — the tradition of Socrates, Kant, and Wittgenstein, and its more contemporary practitioners, writers like Charles Taylor, Thomas Nagel, Stanley Cavell, Bernard Williams, and Harry Frankfurt.

Edward F. Mooney is Professor of Philosophy at Sonoma State University.


"Apart from the excellent style and clarity of exposition, what I like best about this book is the remarkable success with which the author probes a classically problematic text, and not only brings it into clear relation with Kierkegaard's other principal texts, but also relates its themes to those of current work in moral philosophy. The book evinces an impressive command of the relevant literature, both specifically Kierkegaardian and that pertaining to deep moral issues currently debated. " — Alastair Hannay, University of Oslo

"This is a wonderful book: insightful, reflective, profound. I would not have thought it possible for anyone to say anything truly original about Kierkegaard's most widely-read and familiar work. Nonetheless, Mooney succeeds beyond reasonable expectation. " — George R. Lucas, Jr. , Clemson University