I have already mentioned the great impact of authenticity as an ideal and in this chapter I attempt to explore this in detail. At the same time I provide a historical overview of the idea, its critics, and where we stand today. The appeal of this ideal can be made intelligible if one understands that it grows out of a long tradition of Western thought and practices that have shaped the modern worldview. Due to its long philosophical pedigree and innumerable connotations, authenticity is a diffi cult concept to handle. I will, therefore, not attempt a comprehensive review of its history. At the same time, I do think that we can only properly assess this central feature of modern culture by gaining some insight into the historical scaffolding of ideas from which it has emerged. Consequently, this chapter is concerned with the history of authenticity in a more systematic way, attempting to review the different forms in which it has surfaced and the different justifi cations by which it has been defended throughout history. Additionally, to limit and systematize this undertaking, I shall draw the countours of authenticity as it is understood today by contrasting it to other related notions such as sincerity and autonomy.