Human Predicament

Christianity and the Existentialists, by Carl Michalson (editor). Scribner’s, New York, 1956. $3.75.

This book is made up of a very readable series of public lectures delivered at Drew University during the academic year 1953–54. Eight well-known scholars contribute as follows: Carl Michalson, editor, and Professor of Systematic Theology, Drew University, on “What is Existentialism?”; H. Richard Niebuhr, Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics, Yale Divinity School, on Soren Kierkegaard; John A. Mackay, President of Princeton Theological Seminary, on Miguel de Unamuno; Mathew Spinka, Professor of Church History, The Hartford Seminary Foundation, on Nicholas Berdyaev; J. V. Langmead Casserley, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, the General Theological Seminary, on Gabriel Marcel; Erich Dinkler, Professor of New Testament Literature, Yale Divinity School, on Martin Heidegger; Paul Tillich, University Professor, Harvard University on “Existentialist Aspects of Modern Art”; and Stanley Romaine Hopper, Dean of the Graduate School, Drew University, on “On the Naming of the Gods in Holderlin and Rilke.”

A certain arbitrariness in the selection of the existentialists under consideration was inevitable, as acknowledged by the editor, but as a service to the uninitiated, the book serves as a useful introduction to a philosophy made difficult not only because of its vocabulary and the importance of subjective moods of existentialists, but also because it is so contemporary. The aim of the book is further served well by the inclusion of a bibliography directing the beginning reader to additional sources.

Each writer sets out in brief compass some of the basic principles of ...

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