||Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813-1855) is generally considered to be the father of existentialism. Kierkegaard’s father, a wealthy retired merchant, was a Pietist and hence encouraged his sons Peter Christian and Søren Aabye to study theology at the University of Copenhagen. Kierkegaard received the degree of Magister Artium in 1840, though by that time his interest has shifted from theology to philosophy. He had hoped to receive an academic position in philosophy, but those hopes were never realized. He was closely tied, however, to academic circles, and was, in fact, one of the leading intellectuals of what has come to be known as the Danish “Golden Age.” Kierkegaard was primarily a polemical writer whose works were often responses to the works of contemporaries such at Hans Lassen Martensen and Johann Ludvig Heiberg. He wrote on a broad range of topics from aesthetics to psychology and employed a variety of literary styles from the novel (e.g. Repetition) to more traditional academic treatises (e.g., The Concept of Anxiety). His mature interest was in delineating the relation between Christianity and philosophy with an emphasis on precisely what was involved both cognitively and practically in being Christian. Kierkegaard is thought by many to have coined the expression “leap of faith.” In fact, this expression comes from Lessing and is used by Kierkegaard only ironically.