KIERKEGAARD, Soren (1813-55).

Neglected in his lifetime, or ridiculed as a dangerous fanatic, the Danish religious philosopher Kierkegaard has come to be regarded in the 20th century as one of the most influential and profound of modern thinkers. He was the most brilliant interpreter of Protestant Christianity in the 19th century. He is generally considered the founder of existentialism, a philosophy that in its simplest terms seeks to explain the significance of the freedom of an individual human being within his or her time on Earth.

Soren Aabye Kierkegaard was born in Copenhagen on May 5, 1813. His prosperous father died in 1838, leaving his two sons an inheritance that freed them from the need to work. Soren was able to devote most of his life to study and writing. He studied philosophy and theology at the University of Copenhagen.

Kierkegaard was a prolific writer. His subject matter encompassed three basic areas: consideration of the function of the individual human life; vehement opposition to the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel, whose thought dominated 19th-century Europe; and a clear delineation of Christianity in opposition to the secularism of the state church of Denmark.

His major works on the human predicament are 'Either/Or', published in 1843, 'Fear and Trembling' (1843), 'The Concept of Dread' (1844), and 'Stages on Life's Way' (1845). His two primary religious-philosophical works, including the attack on Hegel, are 'Philosophical Fragments' (1844) and 'Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments' (1846). The works dealing with Christianity are 'Edifying Discourses in Divers Spirits' (1847), 'Works of Love' (1847), 'The Sickness unto Death' (1849), and 'Training in Christianity' (1850). His last major work, 'Attack upon "Christendom" ' (1855), was a strong, satirical attack on the Lutheran state church of Denmark.

Although the works of Kierkegaard were known in Denmark and Germany in the late 19th century, it was not until after World War II that their influence became widespread in Europe and the United States. Throughout his career, Kierkegaard led a sort of double life. To his friends he was witty, charming, and brilliant in conversation. By himself he was thoroughly melancholy, a man driven to explore the problems of human nature, of philosophy, and of religious discourse. Kierkegaard died on Nov. 11, 1855, in Copenhagen.

You Might Also Like:

World History related image
Read More

World History

Welcome to our World History section, a vast treasure trove of historical knowledge that takes you on a captivating journey through the annals of human civilization. Our collection spans a wide spectrum of topics, providing an exhaustive resource for history enthusiasts, students, and curious minds ...
Read More

A Complete History Of The European Middle Ages

The Middle Ages Date: 1992 During the decline of the Roman Empire, the migrations of a strong, rude people began to change the life of Europe. They were the German barbarians, or Teutonic tribes, who swept across the Rhine and the Danube into the empire. There they accepted Christianity. The union o...
Read More

A Day In The Life Of A Battle Of Britain Pilot

The following would have been a typical day in the life of a Battle of Britain pilot The sequences are based on the works of different authors with the exception that the names have been changed. This is just to give you an idea as to how a pilot may have spent his day at the height of the battle. ...
Read More

A General Survey Of The Slave Plantation

The American Civil War, Frederick Douglass Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 A General Survey of the Slave Plantation by Frederick Douglass It was generally supposed that slavery in the State of Maryland existed in its mildest form, and that it was totally divested of those harsh and terrible peculiari...
Read More

A. P. Hill

The American Civil War, A. P. Hill Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 b. Nov. 9, 1825, Culpeper, Va., U.S.d. April 2, 1865, Petersburg, Va. Confederate general during the U.S. Civil War who was particularly active in the fighting around Washington, D.C. His force, called the "Light Division," was cons...
Read More


The American Civil War, Abolition, The Movement Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 There can be no doubt that antislavery, or "abolition" as it came to be called, was the nonpareil reform. Abolition was a diverse phenomenon. At one end of its spectrum was William Lloyd Garrison, an "immediatist," who de...
Read More

Abraham Lincoln

The American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln American Civil War history with slideshows, photos, music, major battles like Gettysburg as well as personalities like Lincoln, Grant, Lee and the Black Regiments Edited by: Robert Guisepi 2002 He was an unusual man in many ways. One minute he would wrestle wi...
Read More


European Absolutism And Power Politics Introduction Louis XIV (1643-1715) of France is remembered best as a strong-willed monarch who reportedly once exclaimed to his fawning courtiers, "L'etat, c'est moi" (I am the state). Whether or not he really said these words, Louis has been regarded by histor...
Read More

Absolutism As A System

Absolutism As A System L'Etat, C'Est Moi Date: 1998 Absolutism As A System Unlimited royal authority, as advocated by Bossuet and Hobbes, was the main characteristic of absolutism. It was demonstrated most obviously in political organization but also served to integrate into government most econom...
Read More

Absolutism, Case Against

The Case Against AbsolutismAuthor: Wallbank;Taylor;Bailkey;Jewsbury;Lewis;HackettDate: 1992The Case Against AbsolutismThe Enlightenment's highest achievement was the development of a tightlyorganized philosophy, purportedly based on scientific principles andcontradicting every argument for absolute ...
Read More

Accession Of Solomon

Accession Of Solomon Author: Milman, Henry Hart Accession Of Solomon B.C. 1017 Introduction After many weary years of travail and fighting in the wilderness and the land of Canaan, the Jews had at last founded their kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capital. Saul was proclaimed the first king; afterwa ...
Read More


A History of Ancient Greece The Glory That Was Greece Author: Jewsbury, Lewis Date: 1992 The Acropolis Acropolis (Greek akros,"highest"; polis,"city"), term originally applied to any fortified natural stronghold or citadel in ancient Greece. Primarily a place of refuge, the typical acropolis was con...
Read More

Aegean Civilization

A History of Ancient Greece Author: Robert Guisepi Date: 1998 AEGEAN CIVILIZATION The earliest civilization in Europe appeared on the coasts and islands of the Aegean Sea. This body of water is a branch of the Mediterranean Sea. It is bounded by the Greek mainland on the west, Asia Minor (now Turkey...
Read More

Aemilius Paulus

AEMILIUS PAULUS by Plutarch Almost all historians agree that the Aemilii were one of the ancient and patrician houses in Rome; and those authors who affirm that king Numa was pupil to Pythagoras, tell us that the first who gave the name to his posterity was Mamercus, the son of Pythagoras, who, for ...
Read More

Africa In The Age Of The Slave Trade

Africa And The Africans In The Age Of The Atlantic Slave Trade Various Authors Edited By: R. A. GuisepiAfrican Societies, Slavery, And The Slave TradeEuropeans in the age of the slave trade sometimes justified enslavementof Africans by pointing out that slavery already existed on that continent.Howe...
Read More