Paul Tillich’s Theological Method of Correlation Essay

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Assignment on:
Paul Tillich’s Theological Method of Correlation
Submitted to: Dr. Samuel George
Submitted by: Sunil K. Rajan, M. Div. – III
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Date: November 10, 2011

1.0. Introduction
Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was a major figure in twentieth-century theology. After holding several academic posts in Germany, he and his family moved to the United States in November 1933. He subsequently held teaching positions at Union Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Chicago Divinity School. The author of several well-known books, he is possibly best remembered for his three-volume Systematic Theology. The present paper is an attempt to give a summary of Tillich’s
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Accordingly, he organizes his Systematic Theology into five parts. In each part a major biblical religious symbol is correlated as “answer” to a major human question as expressed by modern culture. Part I correlates the symbol “Logos” with modern culture’s form of the skeptical question: “How can we know with certainty any humanly important truth?” Part II correlates the symbol “God as Creator” with modern culture’s expressions of the question of finitude: “How can we withstand the destructive forces that threaten to disintegrate our lives?” Part III correlates the symbol “Jesus as the Christ” with modern culture’s secular expressions of the question of estrangement: “How can we find healing of the alienation we experience from ourselves and from our neighbors?” Part IV correlates the symbol “Spirit” with modern culture’s expressions of the question of ambiguity: “How can our lives be authentic when our morality, religious practices, and cultural self-expressions are so thoroughly ambiguous?” And Part V correlates the symbol “Kingdom of God” with the question: “Has history any meaning?”

1.2. Evaluation
Tillich’s existential diagnosis of the predicament of modern man leads him to formulate a norm for theology which isn’t any more convincing than the norms he dismisses. This observation leads back again to Tillich’s method of correlation. This method, he says, “explains

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