further than faith?

From the preface to Søren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling:

In our time nobody is content to stop with faith but wants to go further. It would perhaps be rash to ask where these people are going, but it is surely a sign of breeding and culture for me to assume that everybody has faith, for otherwise it would be queer for them to be . . . going further. In those old days it was different, then faith was a task for a whole lifetime, because it was assumed that dexterity in faith is not acquired in a few days or weeks. When the tired oldster drew near to his last hour, having fought the good fight and kept the faith his heart was still young enough not to have forgotten that fear and trembling which chastened the youth, which the man indeed held in check, but which no man quite outgrows . . . except as he might succeed at the earliest opportunity in going further. Where these revered figures arrived, that is the point where everybody in our day begins to go further.


  1. So glad you shared this, Tucker; it is a topic I’ve been thinking on, Faith as starting point. Is SK saying that it is wrong to assume everyone has faith? Is his example of the revered figure of old time the way we ought to be, that faith is a task for a whole lifetime? That the life of faith is “dexterity in faith”?

  2. I think he sees the end goal as faith; that one begins and ends with faith – and not that it is “faith alone” and works come later, but that it is faith that encompasses and inherently results in holiness; that faith is work. I think he is fighting against the common idea that faith is easy.

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