The Existentialist Theology of Paul Tillich

The Existentialist Theology of Paul Tillich

The Existentialist Theology of Paul Tillich

The Existentialist Theology of Paul Tillich

Excerpt

One of the most striking phenomena on the philosophical landscape in America in the mid-twentieth century is the measure of intellectual respectability that is once again being accorded theology and religious thought by many philosophers. For the emergence of this phenomenon no one, perhaps, is more responsible than Paul Tillich. Acclaimed as one of the two or three greatest living Protestant theologians and as one of the foremost interpreters of the Christian faith in our time, he is also widely recognized as a philosopher of unusual ability and scope. Because of his competence in both theology and philosophy and of his lifelong interest in the problems of their relationship to one another, he has produced works that have genuine philosophical as well as theological significance, works that have further made many philosophers aware that theology need not necessarily be dismissed as alien in spirit and intention to the philosophical enterprise.

For the philosopher, the primary significance of Tillich's work lies in the fact that he has not been content to set forth an independent and self-contained exposition of Christian theology, but has sought rather to relate this theology to contemporary philosophical currents and to show that it makes significant contact with, and is relevant to, the fundamental questions about human existence that people both inside and outside the Christian Church are asking.

The correlation of philosophy and theology in Tillich's work appears most markedly in his anthropology, an exposition and critique of which is here undertaken. For Tillich, as for many other contemporary theologians, the doctrine of man is of central importance and constitutes the basis of his whole theological system. This book concentrates on Tillich's anthropology, but since this cannot be understood without a knowledge of his doctrine of Reason and Revelation, God, the Christ, and "the . . .

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