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Systematic Theology: Life and the Spirit; History and the Kingdom of God v. 3 Paperback – 1 Sep 1976


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Product details

  • Paperback: 446 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (1 Sept. 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226803392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226803395
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 5 Nov. 2004
Format: Paperback
Tillich, in the complete three-volume series on Systematic Theology, addresses the overall problem of meaning and meaninglessness in modern times. Written in the middle of the twentieth century, Tillich's theology is greatly influenced by the intellectual developments of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century philosophies, including such schools of thought as phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, etc.) as well as existentialism, and in particular issues such as `the death of God' philosophical/theological speculations. Tillich's theology is also significantly influenced by (as are the intellectual developments of which he was part) larger historical events such as the first and second world wars. Tillich, a native of Germany, saw meaninglessness first-hand in the trench warfare of the first world war, in which he served as a chaplain. He also saw problems in the rise of the Nazi party, not just for political and cultural issues, but also theological issues (such as the idolatry of the state over God).
Tillich, spirited out of Germany during the rise of the Nazi power, spent the remainder of his career teaching in universities and seminaries in the United States. This second volume of his major work in Systematic Theology was produced in 1957, while he was teaching in the United States - it is dedicated to his friends at Union Theological Seminary, where he first taught after leaving Germany.
In Tillich's first volume of this series, he discusses the sources of theology as he sees them - scripture (both text and the events behind the text), the overall church history and tradition, and the wider traditions and history of religion in the world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Classic in 20th c. Protestant Theology 17 April 2004
By Incantessimo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Paul Tillich's ~Systematic Theology~ is one of the most important theological works of the 20th century, and the theological system par excellence of liberal Protestant Christianity. In his day, Tillich was held in high esteem not only among theologians, but by experts in many different fields for his incredible breadth of knowledge, his insight into culture, and his humanity.
'Liberal Protestantism' sought to reconcile the gospel and the Christian faith with contemporary cultural ideas, rather then set the two up against each other. Religion is, for Tillich, the best of culture. (An alternative view, for example, is that of Karl Barth, who saw the gospel as fundamentally a critique of culture - as the Word speaking from outside ~to~ the world, not within the world). So, for Tillich, there should be signs of God everywhere, not just in Christianity, and religion and culture and closely connected.
God, for Tillich, is not therefore the anthropomorphized God of the Old Testament, who has a personality and creates and destroys and judges in an almost arbitrary fashion. Instead, Tillich sees God as 'the ground of being'. God is the very fundament on which rests everything that is. God is the Abyss.
The problem with man, for Tillich, is his 'finitude'. Man's life is finite, his body makes him finite, his capacities are finite, yet he craves to transcend these, to be unlimited, to be God. This is impossible; rather one should accept one's finitude courageously. This is what Jesus did singularly and perfectly - he never sinned, because he always accepted the finite nature of his being; he faced death courageously. Tillich's christology is therefore a 'spirit christology' (Jesus was led by the spirit) rather than a 'logos christology' (Jesus was God incarnate, the Word made flesh).
The last important thing is that Tillich makes use of his famous 'theory of correlation'. This is how the 3 volumes of his ~Systematic Theology~ are set up. According to this theory, things in culture are correlated with the theology; theology provides the 'answers' to the 'questions' posed by culture. So his five sections (divided among the 3 volumes) are called: 'Reason and Revelation', 'Being and God', 'Existence and the Christ', 'Life and the Spirit', 'History and the Kingdom of God'.
Tillich's writing is for the most part easy enough to read for the layperson - just don't get bothered by particular tricky bits. I would recommend it to anyone interested in theology; it has influenced a generation of theologians.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Life and the Spirit... 10 Sept. 2004
By FrKurt Messick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Tillich, in the complete three-volume series on Systematic Theology, addresses the overall problem of meaning and meaninglessness in modern times. Written in the middle of the twentieth century, Tillich's theology is greatly influenced by the intellectual developments of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century philosophies, including such schools of thought as phenomenology (Husserl, Heidegger, etc.) as well as existentialism, and in particular issues such as `the death of God' philosophical/theological speculations. Tillich's theology is also significantly influenced by (as are the intellectual developments of which he was part) larger historical events such as the first and second world wars. Tillich, a native of Germany, saw meaninglessness first-hand in the trench warfare of the first world war, in which he served as a chaplain. He also saw problems in the rise of the Nazi party, not just for political and cultural issues, but also theological issues (such as the idolatry of the state over God).

Tillich, spirited out of Germany during the rise of the Nazi power, spent the remainder of his career teaching in universities and seminaries in the United States. This second volume of his major work in Systematic Theology was produced in 1957, while he was teaching in the United States - it is dedicated to his friends at Union Theological Seminary, where he first taught after leaving Germany.

In Tillich's first volume of this series, he discusses the sources of theology as he sees them - scripture (both text and the events behind the text), the overall church history and tradition, and the wider traditions and history of religion in the world. Tillich has a problem with seeing experience as a source, but rather prefers this to be seen more appropriately as the medium through which the sources are understood and analysed. Tillich introduces norms and the rational character of systematic theology - Tillich is in many ways writing for philosophers who have discounted the validity of theology in the modern world; by emphasising the aspects of reason and logic in his system, he carries more weight in that community. Tillich also develops his famous Method of Correlation, a dialectical system of engagement between the temporal situation and the eternal in an ongoing process.

Tillich explores the various aspects and relationship of reason and revelation, including ways of trying to make sense in a rational manner of revelations, including what constitutes final revelation. From here, Tillich proceeds with his ontological constructions - one of the keys to Tillich's overall theology is contained here, in which God is the `ground of being'. Some have accused Tillich of being an existential atheist, because they have heard that Tillich claims that God does not exist - while it is true that, for Tillich, God does not exist, it is not true that there is no God; Tillich defines the term `existence' as being `that which is created', and as God is not a created being, God cannot exist. Rather, God is something greater, something deeper - the ground of being. God also becomes the only appropriate `ultimate concern' (another key element in Tillich's theology) - that concept is developed in that volume as well.

Volume two is primarily Tillich's Christology. Tillich has a small section that relates the second volume to the first, and restatements some major points from the first volume, but very quickly jumps into the concepts of existence/existentialism and Christian theology, developing from there concepts of sin and human estrangement (setting the stage for Christ and salvation/redemption in the new being of Christ). For Tillich, the central question of the age is one of meaning, and Christ is meaningful, as a New Being, who has a uniqueness and a universality, but not in typical Christian theological ways.

Tillich's third and final volume addresses topics of life in the Spirit, how his overall theological constructs of God as Ultimate Concern and the Ground of Being, translated through humanity's estrangement and redemption through Christ as the New Being, can have an impact on our own lives. Tillich develops ideas of self-actualisation and self-creativity, spiritual presence in faith and love, spiritual presence manifested in historical situations, and the various ambiguities. This is a perfect point at which to discuss dogmatic issues such as Trinitarianism, a problematic construct even for the most rational and traditional of theologies. Tillich concludes with a discussion of eschatology, the idea of `end-times' (not to be confused with the sort from `Left Behind' novels) and how the kingdom of God is present in reality past and present. This also approaches topics such as immortality and eternity - Tillich states that Christianity has traditional seen individual participation in eternal life in terms of immortality and resurrection, but that in fact immortality is not a biblical term - it is a Platonic idea taken on board by the church.

Tillich's theology is continued in two other volumes, the first volume produced in 1950, and the third volume in 1963, a few years before Tillich's death in 1965. Taken together, the three volumes represent a major theological force in the twentieth century, and one that is bound to continue to have impact for generations to come.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
THE CONCLUSION OF TILLICH'S MAGNUM OPUS 9 Feb. 2010
By Steven H Propp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This final volume was published in 1963, while the two earlier volumes (Systematic Theology, vol. 1 and Systematic Theology, vol. 2: Existence and the Christ) were published in 1951 and 1957, respectively.

Tillich notes in the Preface, "With the third volume, my Systematic Theology is completed. The last volume appears six years after the second volume, which itself appeared six years after the first one.... My friends and I sometimes feared that the system would remain a fragment. This has not happened, although even at its best this system is fragmentary and often inadequate and questionable. Nevertheless, it shows the stage at which my theological thought has arrived."

Here are some representative quotations from the final volume:

"Therefore, obedience and disobedience to the law are mixed; the law has the power to motivate partial fulfillment, but in doing so it also drives to resistance, because by its very character as law it confirms our separation from the state of fulfillment. It produces hostility against God, man, and one's self." (Pg. 49)
"Religion (is) defined as the self-transcendence of life under the dimension of spirit." (Pg. 96)
"In so far as religion is based on revelation it is unambiguous; in so far as it receives revelation it is ambiguous. This is true of all religions, even those which their followers call revealed religion. But no religion is revealed; religion is the creation and the distortion of revelation." (Pg. 104)
"faith is the state of being grasped by the transcendent unity of unambiguous life---it embodies love as the state of being taken into that transendent unity." (Pg. 129)
"Not faith but grace is the cause of justification, because God alone is the cause. Faith is the receiving act, and this act is itself a gift of grace. Therefore one should dispense completely with the formula 'justification by faith' and replace it by the formula 'justification by grace through faith.'" (Pg. 224)
"the revelatory and saving manifestation of the Spiritual Presence is always what it is, and that in this respect there is no more or less, no progress or obsolesence or regression. But the content of such manifestations and their symbolic expressions, like styles in the arts or philosophy, are dependent on the potentialities implied in the human encounter with the holy, on the one hand, and on the receptivity of the human group for one or another of these potentialities, on the other.... Progress in this respect is possible between different cultural stages in which the revelatory experience takes place or between different degrees of clarity and power with which the manifestation of the Spiritual is received." (Pg. 337)
"for participation in eternity is not 'life hereafter.' Neither is it a natural quality of the human soul. It is rather the creative act of God, who lets the temporal separate itself from and return to the eternal." (Pg. 410)
"The frequently evil psychological effects of a literal use of 'heaven' and 'hell' are not sufficient reason for removing them completely.... There would be less reason if not only theology but also preaching and teaching would remove the superstitious implications of a literal use of these symbols."

Tillich's work is a "must have" for any complete theological library.
Tillich's Systematic Theology is one of the most important in ... 10 Jan. 2015
By John - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tillich's Systematic Theology is one of the most important in my theological development. I'm returning to it after several decades.
Five Stars 2 Jan. 2015
By chris menard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nice condition
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