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TILLICH, Paul Johannes (1886-1965)

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TILLICH, Paul Johannes (1886-1965), German-American philosopher and theologian. Tillich was born in Starzeddel, Brandenburg, Germany, on Aug. 20, 1886. He was the son of a Lutheran pastor. Tillich studied theology at the universities of Berlin, Tubingen, and Halle. In 1912 he was ordained a minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church and served as chaplain in the German army during World War I. From 1919 to 1933 he taught at several universities, including the university at Frankfurt am Main, from which he was dismissed because of his opposition to the Hitler regime. In 1933 Tillich accepted an appointment to teach at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1955 he went to the Divinity School of Harvard University and in 1962, to the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. He became an American citizen in 1940. In his many books, Tillich developed ideas concerning the religious basis of life, including The Religious Situation (1932), The Interpretation of History (1936), The Protestant Era (1948), and Dynamics of Faith (1957). In The Courage to Be (1952), he discussed the alienation of the individual in society and argued that existence is rooted in God as the ground of all being. Tillich believed that Protestant theology may incorporate the critical posture and scientific concepts of contemporary thought without endangering its Christian faith. Thus, he was quick to utilize the insights of depth psychology and existential philosophy in his attempts to renew the relevance of theology for modern secular society. His Systematic Theology (3 vol., 1951-63) was the major instrument of this reformulation. Tillich died in Chicago on Oct. 22, 1965.


Neurosis is the way of avoiding non-being by avoiding being.
PAUL TILLICH, The Courage To Be

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