Personalism is understood today as the name of an important current in twentieth-century thought which, inspired by the Christian and humanistic traditions of the West, has sought to deepen our understanding of the meaning and value of human personhood. Opposing both individualism and collectivism, personalism has stressed the uniqueness of each person, the meaning and value of interpersonal relations, and the unity that holds persons together and is, ultimately, also personal in itself: the person of God. Personalism's insights into the nature of personhood have broad implications for our view of ethics, politics, education, and religion. The history of personalism has, however, been poorly understood. Jan Olof Bengtsson shows that personalism began as early as the eighteenth century and was a central, international current of thought throughout the nineteenth century - that it was, in fact, more characteristic of the nineteenth century than of the twentieth.