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Paul Johannes Tillich

Tillich, Paul Johannes (tĭlˈĭk) [key], 1886–1965, American philosopher and theologian, b. Germany, educated at the universities of Berlin, Tübingen, Halle, and Breslau. In 1912 he was ordained a minister of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. He taught theology at the universities of Berlin, Marburg, Dresden, and Leipzig and philosophy at the Univ. of Frankfurt until he was dismissed in 1933 because of his opposition to the Nazi regime. In the same year, at the invitation of Reinhold Niebuhr, he went to the United States and joined the faculty of Union Theological Seminary. In 1954 he became a professor at Harvard; in 1962 he became Nuveen professor of theology at the Univ. of Chicago. His theological system embraced the concept of "the Protestant Principle," according to which every Yes must have its corresponding No, and no human truth is ultimate. Faith, to Tillich, was "ultimate concern," and God was "the God above God," the "Ground of Being," or "Being-Itself.""New Being," rather than "salvation," should be the human goal. Tillich incorporated depth psychology and existentialist philosophy into his system and considered them essential elaborations of Christian doctrine. He aimed at a correlation of the questions arising out of the human condition and the divine answers drawn from the symbolism of Christian revelation. The great questions, in his classification, dealt with being, existence, and life. His writings include The Interpretation of History (tr. 1936), The Protestant Era (tr. 1948), The Shaking of the Foundations (1948), Systematic Theology, (3 vol., 1951–63), The Courage to Be (1952), Love, Power, and Justice (1954), Biblical Religion and the Search for Ultimate Reality (1955), The New Being (1955), Dynamics of Faith (1957), Christianity and the Encounter of the World Religions (1963), My Search for Absolutes (1967), My Travel Diary: 1936, ed. by J. C. Brauer (1970), and A History of Christian Thought, ed. by C. E. Braaten (1972).

See the reminiscences by his wife, Hanna (1973) and R. May (1973); C. J. Armbruster, The Vision of Paul Tillich (1967); J. R. Lyons, ed., The Intellectual Legacy of Paul Tillich (1969); L. F. Wheat, Paul Tillich's Dialectical Humanism (1970).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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