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(388 words)

Under the influence of S. Kierkegaard (1813–55), later philosophers and popular authors have often distinguished “fear” from “anxiety.” The former denotes a debilitating emotion in the face of specific dangers and threats; the latter, an emotional reaction to what is unknown and indefinite. The distinction as such makes sense, but it is linguistically artificial and does not stand up to more exact analysis of academic, popular, or poetic usage. Nor do etymological findings help. Fear and anxiety are largely interchangeable.

In psychological and psychiatric literature we fin…

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Ritschl, Dietrich, “Fear”, in: Encyclopedia of Christianity Online. Consulted online on 20 April 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2211-2685_eco_F84>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004169678, 20080512

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