Gabriel Honoré Marcel

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marcel, Gabriel Honoré


Born Dec., 7, 1889, in Paris; died there Oct. 9, 1973. French philosopher, playwright, and literary critic; founder of Catholic existentialism. Son of a diplomat.

Marcel graduated from the Sorbonne and became a teacher of philosophy. In his youth he was influenced by H. Bergson, L. Brunschvicg, and J. Royce. In 1929, under the influence of F. Mauriac, he converted to Catholicism. After existentialism was condemned by a papal encyclical (1950), he called his philosophy Neosocratism or Christian Socratism. He was the author of dramas and a large number of works on philosophy, theater, music, and literary criticism. In 1952 he became a member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences.

Breaking with the tradition of Catholic Scholasticism represented by Thomism, Marcel considered any rational validation of religion to be impossible. His attention was focused on the problem of being, refracted through individual experience, and the existence of the individual man. In his basic work Being and Having (1935), Marcel makes a sharp distinction between the world of “objectivity,” dissociated from the physical world, and the world of “existence,” where the dualism of subject and object is overcome and all relations with the world are accepted as personal. In this regard, reality for Marcel is split into the authentic world of being and the nonauthentic world of possession. On the epistemological level Marcel opposes “mystery” (intuitive, emotional-ethical comprehension) to the “problem” (abstract rational knowledge). Religious and moral conflicts constitute the basis of the majority of Marcel’s dramas (Disrupted World, 1933; Thirst, 1938; Emissary, 1945; Rome Is No Longer in Rome, 1951). Marcel’s social views are characterized by romantic idealization of patriarchal relationships of the Middle Ages, bitter criticism of technology as a “broken world” that turns man into a thing, and rejection of any sociopolitical actions of the masses. On the whole, Marcel’s philosophy reflects the crisis of bourgeois consciousness and culture.


Journal métaphysique. Paris, 1927.
Eire et avoir. Paris, 1935.
Homo viator, Paris [1944].
Le Mystere de Vetre, 2 vols. Paris, 1951.
Les Hommes contre l’humain. Paris, 1951.
Rome n’est plus dans Rome. Paris, 1951.
L ’Homme problematique. Paris [1955].
Présence et immortalite. Paris, 1959.
L’heure thedtrale. Paris, 1959.
Essai de philosophic concrete. Paris, 1967.


Tavrizian, G. M. “Etika ekzistentsializma i khristianskaia moral’.” In the collection Sovremennyi ekzistentsializm. Moscow, 1966.
Existentialisme chretien: G. Marcel. Paris, 1947.
Chenu, J. Le Théătre de G. Marcel et sa signification métaphysique. Paris, 1948.
Troisfontaines, R. De /’Existence a Vetre, 2 vols. Namur [1953].
Sottiaux, E. G. Marcel, philosophe et dramaturge. Louvain, 1956.
Gallagher, K. T. The Philosophy of G. Marcel New York, 1962.
Widmer, C. G. Marcel et la theisme existentielle. Paris, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
"Soy" un cuerpo y "tengo" un cuerpo, decia Gabriel Marcel. La corporalidad es un atributo definitorio de la persona humana en cuanto representacion para los demas y es corporeidad subjetiva en cuanto campo de resonancias de afectos, placeres, dolores y necesidades.
The philosopher Gabriel Marcel differentiates between a kind of hope that we relate to on a daily basis, and a kind of hope that defies empirical evidence.
Nel terzo saggio, "Gabriel Marcel incontra Pirandello", il confronto con il pensiero esistenzialista affianca l'autore agrigentino al filosofo e drammaturgo trancese.
The final chapter examines the view of Dionysius the Areopagite and of John Chrysostom that reason breaks down when confronted with the overwhelming mystery of God, a view also found in various existentialist writers such as Martin Buber and Gabriel Marcel (whom Wainwright does not mention).
Entre ellos los filosofos Gabriel Marcel y Maurice Merleau-Ponty, para quienes la preeminencia del cuerpo se constituye indisoluble de la experiencia existencial.
La Nota al testo che apre il volume informa che tre degli scritti che lo compongono (Essere, mistero, "oltre", Gabriel Marcel incontra Pirandello e InsularitAaAaAeA , esistenza, letteratura) sono la rielaborazione di altrettan lavori giAaAaAeA editi.
El Profesor Gabriel Marcel Gutierrez-Correa, nacio en Piura el 8 de Enero de 1952, en el seno de una familia numerosa de la que fue el menor de ocho hermanos, entre quienes destacaron tanto el talento cientifico como artistico que no le fueron ajenos.
A contemporary and French compatriot of Sartre, the Catholic existentialist Gabriel Marcel, contended in his Being and Having that we are called to regard one another not as problems to be solved, but as mysteries which exceed technical understanding and require a more conversational engagement by our whole self.
In another version of this book, Rodick might have included one or more of Bugbee's essays dealing with the thought of the French philosopher and man of letters Gabriel Marcel. Bugbee and Marcel were kindred spirits.
Philosophers generally have had little to say about hope, but the French Catholic existentialist Gabriel Marcel says to have hope in some specific outcome immediately brings about "bad faith" and argues for a less directed form of hope.
Gabriel Marcel writing more than 50 years ago: "In our contemporary world it may be said that the more a man becomes dependent on the gadgets whose smooth functioning assures him a tolerable life at the material level, the more estranged he becomes from an awareness of his inner reality."
Mario Vargas Llosa, que le ayudan en el analisis sobre la situacion espiritual contemporanea; pensadores catolicos como Maurice Blondel y Gabriel Marcel, que influyeron en la renovacion teologica del siglo XX; teologos como Karl Rahner o Hans Urs von Balthasar, que intentan superar el cisma entre teologia y experiencia religiosa, o entre teologia dogmatica y mistica; y no faltan tampoco las aportaciones de teologos espanoles contemporaneos, como Miguel Garcia-Baro, L.