Paul Tillich’s Pantheon of Theisms: An Invitation to Think Theonomously

  • Christopher Demuth Rodkey


This essay explores the many different kinds of theism, and the tensions between these theisms, latent within Paul Tillich’s thought. Tillich’s ontological language for God is introduced, as are his primary names for God: esse ipsum or being-itself; the God-above-God; ultimate concern; and finally the ground, structure, abyss, depth, and power of being. Following this introduction, Tillich’s pantheon of theisms is considered within the context of more traditional language for expressing divinity, particularly employing the concepts of transcendence and immanence. Models of divinity considered are pantheism, panentheism, and dualism. The notion of an “ecstatic naturalism” is considered as a final option, which has precedent within Tillich’s writings in a rarely-cited book review that he wrote. This final option, not often considered by interpreters of Tillich, offers a lens through which to consider the pantheon of theisms within Tillich’s theology.


Ultimate Reality Ontological Question Religious Language Symbolic Language Religious Symbol 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyPenn StateYorkUSA
  2. 2.St. Paul’s United Church of ChristDallastownUSA

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