Re-reading Steven Knepper’s essay about existentialist-personalist philosopher Gabriel Marcel in Commonweal (March, 2020), I was reminded that great philosophers frequently transcend the time in which they think and write. Knepper’s essay is entitled “From Problem to Mystery.”
Around the middle of March, I received in the mail the issue of America magazine (March 16th, 2020) containing the essay on existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, which I discussed in the last three columns.
In the last two columns, motivated by an interesting essay on Kierkegaard in the March 18 issue of the Jesuit weekly America, I commented on the philosophy of the Danish existentialist Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855).
In last week’s column, impressed with an essay in the Jesuit weekly, America (March 18, 2020), by Karen Wright Marsh entitled “The Startling Prayer Life of Soren Kierkegaard,” I sketched the philosophy of Kierkegaard, who was the first existentialist philosopher.
In my own life, I have found the regular reading of America a great help. Every so often there is an essay that seems to be written with me in mind. In the March 18, 2020 issue such an essay was “The Startling Prayer Life of Soren Kierkegaard” by Karen Wright Marsh.
As I write the last column in this series on the meaning and mystery of the human person and prayer, I think that reflecting on the topic has been a very important learning experience for me.
The more I reflect on the meaning of the human person and the meaning of prayer, the more aware I become of an important relation between the two.
Years ago, when I first studied the Vatican Two documents, I suspected that at the heart of many of the changes that were happening in the Church was a new concept of person.
In every philosophy course that I teach at St. John’s University at some point in the course I sketch a philosophy of person that I have borrowed from contemporary philosophies such as existentialism, personalism, phenomenology and contemporary Thomism.
Every spring semester at St. John’s University I teach an elective philosophy course entitled “The Problem of God.” I don’t like the title, which I inherited, but teaching the course has been a wonderful educational experience for me.