The Gift of Faith: Rethinking an Ethics of Sacrifice and Decision in 'Fear and Trembling' and 'The Gift of Death'

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Abstract

'Fear and Trembling; explores an exceptional faith that goes beyond the realm of human understanding, knowledge, and law. The Abraham story of Genesis serves as a narrative foundation through which Kierkegaard examines the absurd ethics of a father's willingingness to sacrifice his child to an invisible God. Although scandalised and outraged by the story, he is nevertheless still inspired by a father who chooses to sacrifice public morality for an intangible, provate ethics. In 'The Gift of Death' Derrida too trembles at the thought of Abraham's sacrifice and is also scandalised enough to contemplate the unconventional ethics of his decision. This essay puts into question the ethics of an absolute faith and decisionn that is so wholly other that it escapes from the earthly mediations of language, community, and the law.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-135
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophy Today
Volume53
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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