Paul Tillich Biography

(Christian Existentialist Philosopher and One of the Most Influential Theologians of the 20th Century)

Birthday: August 20, 1886 (Leo)

Born In: Starosiedle, Poland

Widely revered as 'one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century', Paul Tillich was a Christian existentialist philosopher and theologian. He was one of the philosophers who explored the true meaning of the Christian faith in correlation with the 'philosophical analysis of human existence' and played a pivotal role in revolutionising Protestant theology. His seminal works include, ‘The Courage to Be' and,' Dynamics of Faith', both of which brought forth the issues relating to theology and modern culture to the masses and general readers. On the other hand, his magnum opus, the three volume, 'Systematic Theology', introduced the ‘method of correlation’. This enabled the exploration of the various symbols in 'Christian revelation', as explanations to ‘man's deepest questions’. He taught as a professor at the Dresden University of Technology, University of Leipzig, University of Frankfurt, Union Theological Seminary in New York, Harvard Divinity School and the University of Chicago. However, it is also important to note he has also received criticisms for his theories. Nevertheless, his work has made a considerable impact in the field of theology.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Paul Johannes Tillich

Died At Age: 79


Spouse/Ex-: Margarethe

father: Johannes Tillich

mother: Mathilde Dürselen

siblings: Elisabeth, Johanna

Born Country: Poland

Quotes By Paul Tillich Theologians

Died on: October 22, 1965

place of death: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Notable Alumni: University Of Breslau, Martin Luther University Of Halle-Wittenberg

Cause of Death: Heart Attack

More Facts

education: Martin Luther University Of Halle-Wittenberg, University Of Breslau

Childhood & Early Life
Paul Tillich was born in Starzeddel, Germany to Johannes Tillich, a conservative Lutheran pastor and Mathilde Durselen. After his father became superintendent of a diocese in Bad Schonfliess, the family moved there.
He was educated at the elementary school in Bad Schonfliess. He later went on to attend the ‘gymnasium’ school, where he studied as a boarder. During his time in the ‘gymnasium’school, he started reading the Bible to overcome loneliness.
From 1900, after his father got transferred to Berlin, he began attending a Berlin school, from where he eventually graduated. He lost his mother before he graduated, when he as just 17.
He attended the University of Berlin, the University of Tubingen and the University of Halle-Wittenberg. He obtained a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Breslau.
In 1912, he obtained his Licentiate of Theology from the Halle-Wittenberg. The same year, he obtained ordainment as a Lutheran minister in the Province of Brandenburg.
Later Life
In October 1914, he joined a chaplain in the Imperial German Army, during the World War I. After the war, he commenced his career in academics as the Privatdozent of Theology at the University of Berlin.
In 1924, he became Professor of Theology at the University of Marburg. During his one year tenure, he also taught systematic theology for the last three terms.
From 1925 to 1929, he served as a Professor of Theology at the Dresden University of Technology and the University of Leipzig.
From 1929 to 1933, he was a Professor of Theology at the University of Frankfurt. During his tenure at the University of Frankfurt, he gave speeches and lectures all over Germany. This brought him trouble from the Nazi government and in 1933 German Chancellor Adolf Hitler dismissed him.
After being dismissed, he took up a job as the Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. He also taught as a Visiting Lecturer in Philosophy at Columbia University.
In 1940, he was promoted and became the Professor of Philosophical Theology at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. The same year, he also obtained American citizenship.
In 1951, he came out with the book, ‘Systematic Theology’, which earned him great acclaim and reputation. The following year, he came with another publication titled, 'The Courage to Be'.
In 1955, the success of his book earned him the prestigious position of becoming one among the five professors at the Harvard Divinity School. He later co-founded the ‘Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture’.
In 1957, he came out with the book titled, ‘Dynamics of Faith’, which earned him both critical acclaim and popularity. By this time he had also published the second volume of ‘Systematic Theology’.
In 1962, he quit Harvard and joined the University of Chicago as a Professor of Theology. The following year, he came out with the third volume of ‘Systematic Theology’.
Major Works
His three-volume magnum opus ‘Systematic Theology’ is regarded as one of the most profound works in Christian theology. In this series he attempts to answer, ‘man's deepest questions’.
Personal Life & Legacy
In 1914, he married a woman named Margarethe Grethi Wever. She later conceived a baby from another affair and the couple separated in 1919 and eventually divorced.
In 1924, he married his second wife, Hannah Werner-Gottschow.
He died at the age of 79, due to a heart attack he had suffered ten days ago. He was laid to rest at the Paul Tillich Park in New Harmony, Indiana.

See the events in life of Paul Tillich in Chronological Order

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