Paul Tillich

Two conferences to note

Craig KeenI. In Sydney, Australia. On 27–28 June, the United Theological College and Centre for Public and Contextual Theology are hosting After Crucifixion: A symposium on the theology of Craig Keen. The call for papers reads:

Central to Keen’s work is the belief that human reflection on the mystery of God is always embodied. In his latest book, After Crucifixion, Keen shows that theology is structured by a pattern of embodied reflection and embodied giving. The theologian hears and believes the good news, but does not receive this gift as a possession to be retained: “a gift that will not become property is there to be given. To follow Christ is with him perpetually to be emptied.”

The symposium will explore Craig Keen’s contribution to contemporary theology, and will offer scholarly engagement with his work; Craig Keen will also present a lecture and will respond to papers We invite papers engaging with Professor Keen’s work – particularly his latest publication, After Crucifixion (Cascade, 2013) – from a range of disciplines and perspectives. Paper proposals should be no more than 300 words and should be sent to by 28 February 2014.

paul-tillichII. In Oxford, England. On 14–15 July, Ertegun House, St Benet’s Hall and the Oxford Centre for Theology and Modern European Thought are hosting Paul Tillich: Theology and Legacy. The blurb reads:

Paul Tillich features on anyone’s list of most significant and influential 20th Century theologians. In an age where it is tempting to retreat into intra-theological discussion or dismiss the secular world, Tillich’s vision for a theology which engages with culture and connects religious language with philosophical reflection continues to influence and provoke contemporary theological reflection.

This conference aims to stimulate and provide a platform for current work on Paul Tillich in anticipation of the commencement of the publication of the Collected Works in English from 2015, as well as providing space and time for scholars with an interest in Tillich’s work to meet, get to know each other, and discuss their work.

Keynote speakers include Reinhold Bernhardt, Marc Boss, Douglas Hedley, Anne-Marie Reijnen, and Christoph Schwöbel. There is also a call for papers engaging with Tillich’s thought. Abstracts of between 300–500 words should be emailed to bFriday 14 February 2014, with a short biographical note.

John [Updike] on Paul [Tillich]

While Tillich writes with ‘admirable intelligence … the net effect [of his thought] is one of ambiguity, even futility – as if the theologian were trying to revivify the Christian corpse with transfusions of Greek humanism, German metaphysics, and psychoanalytical theory. Terms like “grace” and “Will of God” walk through these pages [i.e., the pages of Morality & Beyond] as bloodless ghosts, transparent against the milky background of “beyond” and “being” that Tillich, God forbid, would confuse with the Christian faith’.

– John Updike, Assorted Prose (London: Andre Deutsch, 1965), 183.

To be sure, I’ve always found Tillich’s sermons to be quite engaging; but Updike’s description of Tillich’s Morality & Beyond rings true for most of Tillich’s three-volume systematics as well.