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Kierkegaard, Søren

Søren Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a Danish philosopher and Protestant theologian who is often regarded as the first existentialist philosopher. He was born in Copenhagen and educated at the University of Copenhagen. While outwardly cheerful in his youth, inwardly he was often depressed. He was engaged to Regine Olsen in 1840 but broke the engagement the following year because he believed that he had a higher duty to God. This decision fueled much of his writing. He despised the state Church of Denmark, believing that its institutional “gatekeepers” were hypocritical and represented obstacles to genuine Christianity. He refused the sacrament on his deathbed because he did not wish to receive it from “a hypocrite.”

Thought

Kierkegaard rebelled against the ultrarationalism of G. W. F. Hegel. His most ...

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