Sacramentum Mundi Online

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(954 words)

1. The origin and bearings of the question. The word “nihilism” occurs for the first time in F. H. Jacobi’s Brief an Fichte of 1799. It was used by F. von Baader in 1824 to characterize atheism and the denial of revelation. In the middle of the 19th century, a Russian political movement with a certain view of the world was called nihilism. But the expression was given its characteristic meaning by F. W. Nietzsche, in whose writings it then gained world-wide publicity. Describing himself as the first perfect nihilist …

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Lourencino Bruno Puntel, “Nihilism”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 02 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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