Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (KEER-kuh-gahrd) was born in a great house facing the New Market Square in Copenhagen, and he spent his life in that city. He devoted most of his efforts to the development and communication of a philosophy and way of life that was his personal response to the Christian religion and the world about him. Although his early work expressed more faith in philosophy than in religion, he became the founder of Christian existentialism, and his work influenced in a profound way such thinkers as Henrik Ibsen, Martin Heidegger, and Karl Jaspers. Many of his ideas were also incorporated into the thinking of such atheistic existentialists as Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.ren[Kierkegaard, Soren]}ren[Kierkegaard, Soren]}ren[Kierkegaard, Soren]}
Søren Kierkegaard was the seventh child of Michael Pedersen Kierkegaard and his second wife (his first wife had died childless after two years of married life). The family was prosperous; Michael Kierkegaard had been brought to Copenhagen by his uncle and had built a small business into a flourishing concern; when his first wife died, he retired (at the age of forty) and lived on his securities. He was a strict patriarch, profoundly religious, melancholy, and driven by a compelling sense of anxiety and guilt because as a child, while tending sheep in the cold, he had cursed God for allowing him to suffer. His dominance was a continuous and depressing influence on his children, and it probably played an important part in affecting his son’s attitudes toward Christianity. Early in life Søren Kierkegaard developed the conviction that he was somehow intended to be a sacrifice and that it was his mission in life to rebel against the...
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