Had Abraham doubted as he stood on the mountain in Moriah, had he looked about in indecision, if before drawing the knife he had accidentally caught sight of the ram and God had allowed him to offer it in place of Isaac — then he would have gone home, everything would have been as before, he would have had Sarah, he would have kept Isaac, and yet how changed! For his withdrawal would have been a flight, his deliverance an accident, his reward dishonor, his future perhaps damnation. Then he would have borne witness, not to his faith or God’s mercy, but to how dreadful was the journey to the mountain in Moriah. Abraham would not be forgotten, nor the mountain. Yet it would not be mentioned like Ararat, where the Ark came to land, but as a horror, for it was that Abraham doubted.
— “Speech in Praise of Abraham,” Fear and Trembling.
Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a Danish theologian who served as a sort of gadfly for what he saw as the vapidity of modern Christianity. He based his theology on his reaction to modern philosophy — especially as it was embodied by George F.W. Hegel. Kierkegaard is regarded as the “Father of Existentialism” and Fear and Trembling is typical of both his themes and style.