Trembling in fear and ecstasy

Kierkegaard’s leap of faith as a source of the sublime

  • Alexander Velichkov University of Amsterdam
Keywords: leap of faith, Kierkegaard, sublime, Longinus, esthetics

Abstract

This essay investigates how Søren Kierkegaard’s leap of faith can be viewed as a sublime esthetic experience along the lines of the theories of Longinus and Edmund Burke. In Kierkegaard leaps of faith incorporate feelings of terror and passion. Grounded in notions of eternity and truth, they create occasions for particular kinds of sublime experiences. To Kierkegaard the leap of faith is the step by which one grows into one’s authentic self. This essay suggests that the leap of faith is significant also because of its intrinsic esthetic value.

Author Biography

Alexander Velichkov, University of Amsterdam

After obtaining a master’s degree in philosophy cum laude from the University of Amsterdam, Alexander Velichkov is currently continuing with a research master’s in philosophy at the same university. He holds a summa cum laude bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts & Sciences from Amsterdam University College, where his thesis “Enter Machine: Beyond Human Ethics” was marked with distinction. His academic interests include the ethics of well-being, moral responsibility, and digital technology, but he also ventures into esthetics and existentialism. 

References

Bratman, Michael. Intentions, Plans, and Practical Reason. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.
Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful. Edited by J. T. Boulton. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958.
Doran, Robert. The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Halliwell, Stephen. Between Ecstasy and Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. Edited by Paul Guyer. Translated by Paul Guyer & Eric Matthews. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Kierkegaard, Søren. “Concluding Unscientific Postscript to ‘Philosophical Fragments’”. In The Essential Kierkegaard. Edited and translated by Edna Hong and Howard Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978 (1846).
Kierkegaard, Søren. “Either/Or, A Fragment of Life.” In The Essential Kierkegaard. Edited and translated by Edna Hong and Howard Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1978 (1843).
Kierkegaard, Søren. Fear and Trembling/Repetition. Edited and translated by Edna Hong and Howard Hong. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1983 (1843).
Longinus. “On the Sublime.” In Aristotle: Poetics; Longinus: On the Sublime; Demetrius: On Style. Translated by W. H. Fyfe, 159-307. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.
Lyotard, Jean-Francois. Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime. Translated by Elizabeth Rottenburg. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1994.
Milbank, John. “The Sublime in Kierkegaard.” The Heythrop Journal 37, no. 3 (1996): 298-321.
Otto, Rudolf. The Idea of the Holy. Translated by John W. Harvey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1923.
Pattison, George. Kierkegaard, Religion and the Nineteenth-century Crisis of Culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Porter, James I. The Sublimity in Antiquity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016.
Schopenhauer, Arthur. The World as Will and Representation Volume I. Edited by Judith Norman, Alistair Welchman, and Christopher Janaway. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010 (1818).
Tolkien, John. R. R. The Lord of the Rings. New York: Mariner Books, 2012.
Published
2019-06-28