Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2014 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Existentialism

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6086-2_794

Early Foundations

Existentialism began in the early nineteenth century with the writings of Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855), though forerunners of existential themes can be traced centuries earlier to Sumerian mythology, Judaic wisdom literature, and early Greek philosophy. Existentialism arose and continues to address and challenge dualisms, abstract, and mechanical ways of addressing human concerns, as it focuses on agency, accountability, and the discovery and/or creation of meaning. Although many histories have been written about existentialism, in this entry I will focus on the religiosity inherent in the tradition that extends beyond the typical differentiation between theistic and atheistic existentialism. I argue that even within atheistic existentialism lies the religious question as disclosed in the dance of nihilism and meaning.

Søren Kierkegaard proposed the rallying flag for existentialism with his pronouncement and commentary on truth as what is experienced, not...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA