© 2016

Tillich and the Abyss

Foundations, Feminism, and Theology of Praxis


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir
    Pages 1-32
  3. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir
    Pages 33-70
  4. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir
    Pages 71-106
  5. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir
    Pages 107-140
  6. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir
    Pages 141-171
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 173-193

About this book


This book examines Paul Tillich´s theological concept of the abyss by locating it within the context of current postmodern antifoundalist discussions and debates surrounding feminism, gender, and language. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir develops these tropes into a constructive theology, arguing that Tillich’s idea of the abyss can serve as a necessary means of deconstructing the binaries between the theoretical and the practical in producing nihilistic relativism and the safe foundations of knowledge (divine as well as human).

How does one search for a map and method through an abyss? In his writings, Tillich expressed the ambiguity and groundlessness of being, the depth structure of the human condition, and the reality of God as an abyss. The more we gaze into this abyss, the more we encounter the faults in our various foundations. This book outlines how Tillich’s concept of the abyss creates greater opportunities for complexity and liminality and opens up a space where life and death, destruction and construction, fecundity and horror, womb and tomb, can coincide. 


Tillich Theology Philosophy of Religion constructive theology Feminist theory Gender Mysticism Poststructural theology Practical theology Apophatic theology

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of IcelandHáskóli ÍslandsIceland

About the authors

Sigridur Gudmarsdottir holds a PhD in constructive theology. She teaches philosophy of religion at the University of Iceland and works as a rural dean in the Lutheran Church of Norway. She lives near the Polar circle and her research weaves together pastoral praxis and academic theory on the edge of the abyss.  

Bibliographic information


“Gudmarsdottir's recovering of the metaphor of the abyss is a welcome expansion of our understanding of Tillich and of our theological imagination.” (Wendy Farley, San Francisco Theological Seminary, USA)