How do the possibilities of faith and the demands of living authentically square with the developments of the modern west and its threats of nihilism?
This course engages some of the most fundamental questions of human existence through the philosophical, theological and literary works of 19th and 20th century authors many of whom are associated with the movement called “existentialism.” What is an authentic individual life? How does one find meaning in light of modern challenges to claims about the nature of God, revelation and the soul? Is religious faith compatible with an understanding of historicity and the threat of nihilism? With a life of integrity and freedom? Of what use are philosophical and theological reasoning in establishing meaning? This course introduces central questions in Western philosophy of religion through close reading of fundamental texts in existentialism with attention to selected philosophical and theological sources. The course focuses especially on the themes of authenticity and absurdity, finitude and death, faith and ambiguity, and the quest for freedom and responsibility.