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By Thomas R. Flynn

<P style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">With its emphasis on individuality, freedom, and private accountability, existentialism was once one of many twentieth century’s most vital philosophical pursuits. via such writers as Sarte, de Beauvoir, and Camus, it inspired literature, the humanities and arts, and politics. Thomas R. Flynn examines the philosophy’s middle ideals, concentrating on a number of key existential subject matters, and introduces the top existentialist thinkers, from Kierkegaard and Nietzsche to Sartre.


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This is the crucial aspect of the eschatological problem, as the grief Heidegger registers in Paul based on 1 Thessalonians is grounded in this experience of radical uncertainty, which spreads itself out, enveloping Paul’s entire mission as an apostle. Paraphrasing the message of his letter, Heidegger writes that Paul effec- Heidegger’s Paul 37 tively conveys the following to the Thessalonians regarding their mission as Christians: “If it fails, it is my fault; and therefore I cannot bear it [kann ich es nicht aushalten].

At issue here is the fact that in its attempt to establish Paul as model for conceiving time philosophically, the commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians generates a hidden dilemma in Heidegger’s work that never got resolved, but that nonetheless set the stage for Heidegger’s painstaking de-theologization of Augustinian anthropology in 1921. The dilemma as I describe it below is a function of the role that Pauline eschatology briefly played for the early Heidegger, whose interest in religiosity was directly related to his sense of the potential, and potential shortcomings, of Husserlian phenomenology.

As he protects the distinction between the object-historical and the absolute-historical in part by excluding from the latter mode of enactment forms of testimony pertaining to the former mode, Heidegger gives the impression that one cannot detect in an objective sense the “enactment character” of genuinely religious awaiting. ”78 The unmistakable adaptation of Husserlian terminology is crucial here. For Husserl the realm of consciousness is unified by the ego. In reflecting upon consciousness as a whole the ego renders present the sum total of elements comprising this whole, and these elements are then said to be present in the mode of presentification (Vergegenständlichung).

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