a PHILOSOPHICAL movement which emerged shortly before the Second World War united by common concerns, motifs, and emphasis. The most influential exponents were Martin HEIDEGGER, whose Being and Time appeared in 1927, Karl JASPERS, his second volume of Philosophie appeared in 1932, and Jean-Paul SARTRE. All the important leaders were indebted to the writings of Soren KIERKEGAARD--a once neglected Danish author--whose works were not translated into German until early in this century and into English much later. The movement may be characterized as follows. It begins with the conviction that Western PHILOSOPHY since the Greeks has been preoccupied with the idea of ESSENCE, that is with the general and UNIVERSAL features of anything, rather than with concrete. INDIVIDUAL essence being counted more real than EXISTENCE because it is unchanging. Consequently, Western philosophy has been INTELLECTUALISTIC and RATIONALISTIC. It is, therefore, irrelevant as far as illuminating life is concerned because it obscured the TRUTH about human existence rather than illuminating REALITY. Existentialism had a profound impact on NEO-ORTHODOX theologians, like Karl BARTH, Rudolf BULTMANN, Paul TILLICH, and Reinhold NIEBUHR as well as on some Roman Catholics like Gabriel MARCEL and Karl RAHNER. The self, they argued, is a unity of radical FREEDOM and limitedness. FAITH, therefore, is acceptance of this paradoxical unity. But faith is not the possession of a CREED, DOCTRINE, or BELIEF it is the decision to be oneself as this person in this specific situation. Thus decision is made possible by the unconditioned acceptance of the person by GOD which enables each individual to have the courage to be.

Concise dictionary of Religion. 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • EXISTENTIALISM — EXISTENTIALISM, a modern philosophical movement, which intends to elucidate concrete human existence. To the movement belong such people as S. Kierkegaard, A. Schopenhauer, M. Heidegger, J. P. Sartre, G. Marcel, M. Buber, F. Rosenzweig, and J.B.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • existenţialism — EXISTENŢIALÍSM s.n. Doctrină filozofică conform căreia reală este numai existenţa umană, trăirea afectivă a existenţei de către individ. [pr.: eg zis ten ţi a ] – Din fr. existentialisme, germ. Existentialismus. Trimis de claudia, 13.09.2007.… …   Dicționar Român

  • existentialism — ex is*ten tial*ism, n. (Philosophy) a philosophical theory or attitude having various interpretations, generally emphasising the existence of the individual as a unique agent with free will and responsibility for his or her own acts, though… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • existentialism — 1941, from Ger. Existentialismus (1919), replacing Existentialforhold (1849), ultimately from Danish writer Sèren Kierkegaard (1813 1855), who wrote (1846) of Existents Forhold condition of existence, existentielle Pathos, etc. (see EXISTENTIAL… …   Etymology dictionary

  • existentialism — ► NOUN ▪ a philosophical theory which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent. DERIVATIVES existentialist noun & adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • existentialism — [eg΄zis ten′shəliz΄əm, eks΄is ten′shəliz΄əm, eg΄zis ten′chəliz΄əm, eks′is ten′chəliz΄əm] n. [Fr existentialisme < existenciel] a philosophical and literary movement, variously religious and atheistic, stemming from Kierkegaard and represented… …   English World dictionary

  • Existentialism — The …   Wikipedia

  • existentialism — existentialist, adj., n. existentialistic, adj. existentialistically, adv. /eg zi sten sheuh liz euhm, ek si /, n. Philos. a philosophical attitude associated esp. with Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, and Sartre, and opposed to rationalism and… …   Universalium

  • existentialism — A loose title for various philosophies that emphasize certain common themes: the individual, the experience of choice, and the absence of rational understanding of the universe with a consequent dread or sense of absurdity in human life. The… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • existentialism —    A diverse philosophical movement, existentialism is characterised by a stress on the individual, freedom of choice and, in many cases, the absurdity of the universe. Kierkegaard is usually thought of as the first existentialist; he led a… …   Christian Philosophy

  • existentialism — noun a) A twentieth century philosophical movement emphasizing the uniqueness of each human existence in freely making its self defining choices, with foundations in the thought of Søren Kierkegaard (1813 55) and Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 1900)… …   Wiktionary

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