The Conquest of Intellectual
Provincialism: Europe and America
WHEN, soon after the victory of the Nazis in Germany and after my removal from the chair of philosophy at the University of Frankfort, I decided to accept an invitation from Union Theological Seminary in New York, I wrote to a friend who had already left Germany: "There is everywhere in the world sky, air, and ocean." This was my consolation in one of the most tragic moments of my life. I did not write: "I can continue everywhere my theological and philosophical work," because unconsciously I doubted whether one could do this anywhere except in Germany. This is what I mean by the term "provincialism" in the title of my paper. After having lived for a few years in the United States and having worked with theological and philosophical students and colleagues, I became aware of this formerly unconscious provincialism; and after having learned and taught several more years, the provincial outlook began to recede. Today I hope that it has disappeared, which does not mean that my German education and the Continental European tradition which have shaped me have become ineffective. If they had, this could mean that I had fallen from one provincialism into another one, and that I had become almost useless for the American intellectual life, like some eager adoptionists amongst the refugees. But
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Publication information: Book title: Theology of Culture. Contributors: Paul Tillich - Author, Robert C. Kimball - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1964. Page number: 159.
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