Fear and Trembling is one of Kierkegaard's earliest works, which he wrote under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio. Kierkegaard had been a student of theology in Copenhagen, and had come to hate the Danish Church. He produced hundreds of leaflets against the Church during his lifetime. However his writing was largely ignored, and he was not a popular or well-regarded thinker in his own time. Hegel's writing largely dominated philosophical thought throughout Kierkegaard's life. Hegel believed that the highest goal for a person should be to loose oneself in the Universal. One should put aside his personal goals and ambitions and be motivated exclusively by the general interests of all. Kierkegaard regarded the individual above all else and so was repelled by Hegel's communitarian ethic. His Fear and Trembling is a sustained response to Hegel's ideas. It uses the story of Genesis 22, 1-18, where Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac without question, and only faith, to put across his own ideas and philosophy. Fear and Trembling is a required text on the UK A level syllabus.
David Mills Daniel is an educational consultant who has worked for all the major international exam boards. Prior to his consultancy work Dr Daniel was Associate Research Fellow in the School of Education at the University of Leeds.