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Philosophy Today

Volume 58, Issue 3, Summer 2014

Ileana Szymanski
Pages 393-409

Iphigenia vs. Abraham
Problematizing the Knight of Faith in Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling"

The story of the binding of Isaac, also known as the akedah (Genesis 22), has been the subject of many important philosophical commentaries and discussions. One of these is Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, first published in 1843. Comparing Kierkegaard’s characterization of Abraham as the paradigm of the knight of faith with the character of Iphigenia from Euripides’s Iphigenia at Aulis, it becomes apparent that Iphigenia exhibits characteristics that make her fit the same paradigm. In order to account for the behavior of both Abraham and Iphigenia, I use Aristotle’s notion of ἕξις (habit or state) as it appears in Nicomachean Ethics II.5.

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