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Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, vol 1

Paul Tillich, often considered a "christian existentialist", is one of the most important philosopher-theologians of the 20th century. For Tillich, the existential questions of human existence are associated with ontology (the study of being). To be correlated with these questions are the theological answers, themselves derived from Christian thought.

This is the first part of Paul Tillich's three-volume Systematic Theology, one of the most profound statements of the Christian message ever composed and the summation and definitive presentation of the theology of the most influential and creative American theologian of the twentieth century.

In this path-breaking volume Tillich presents the basic method and statement of his system—his famous "correlation" of man's deepest questions with theological answers. Here the focus is on the concepts of being and reason. Tillich shows how the quest for revelation is integral to reason itself. In the same way a description of the inner tensions of being leads to the recognition that the quest for God is implied in finite being.

Here also Tillich defines his thought in relation to philosophy and the Bible and sets forth his famous doctrine of God as the "Ground of Being." Thus God is understood not as a being existing beside other beings, but as being-itself or the power of being in everything. God cannot be made into an object; religious knowledge is, therefore, necessarily symbolic.



As a change from our previous readings, we will be alternating between Tillich and other works, week to week.  So this meetup will meet every other week.


Week 1: Introduction

Week 2: Part 1: Reason and Revelation

Week 3:

Week 4:


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  • Brian

    Theology is distinct from philosophy (simply stated, and in part) because it is creative. I think this helps distinguish Kant's question of "quid juris" from Plato's alliance between courage+wisdom which basically makes someone feel comfortable running ahead into the unknown

    July 22, 2013

    • Erik C.

      I was referring to the preliminary considerations in Heidegger's "Phenomenological Interpretation of the Critique of Pure Reason", but I think this sentiment can be found in a few places. The importance of the passage in the phenomenological interpretation is that Heidegger derives this sentiment out of Kant.

      July 23, 2013

    • Rick O.

      ah - makes sense, you're probably right and H. says this in numerous places throughout his works. The one I quoted is my favorite - probably because it is the only one I know.

      July 23, 2013

  • Rick O.

    Unfortunately I will miss the first meeting but look forward to joining the group on the 2 or 3 meet. I hope to hear some comments in the meantime. I am not familiar with Tillich but the intro sounds great.

    July 23, 2013

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