A History of Christian Thought by Paul Tillich

By Paul Tillich

In 'A heritage of Christian Thought', Paul Tillich has entire the supremely tough feat of making a piece right now brilliantly authoritative and finished, whereas last transparent and uncluttered by way of scholarly annotation and debate. initially brought as lectures on the Union Theological Seminary and on the Divinity college of the collage of Chicago, this version has been beautifully edited via Carl E. Braaten of the Lutheran college of Theology in Chicago.

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He developed a doctrine of ecstasy, or ek-stasis, which means "standing outside oneself". This is the highest form of piety which lies beyond faith. This mysticism unites prophetic ecstasy with "enthusiasm", a word which comes from en-theosmania, meaning to possess the divine. From this there comes finally the fully developed mystical system of the Neo-Platonists, for example, of Dionysius the Areopagite. In this mystical system the ecstasy of the individual person leads to a union with the One, with the Absolute, with God.

The Roman Church took over the heritage of the Roman Empire. We should never forget this fact. If we are tempted to evaluate the Roman Church more highly than we should, we ought to ask ourselves: how many Roman elements are in it, and to what extent are they valid for us in our culture? We should do the same thing with the Greek philosophical concepts which created the Christian dogma. To what degree are they valid today? Of course, it is not necessary to reject something simply because it happens to be Roman or Greek, but neither is it necessary to The Preparation for Christianity 3 accept something which the church has derived from Rome or Greece, even if sanctioned by a dogmatic decision.

In Christianity salvation is brought about by divine grace. These two approaches are in conflict with each other to the present day. 4. Eclecticism Eclecticism is another reality which was taken over by the Christian Church. This comes from a Greek word meaning to choose some possibilities out of many. Americans should not have contempt for this because in this respect as in so many others they are like the ancient Romans. The Eclectics were not creative philosophers like the Greeks. The Roman thinkers were often at the same time politicians and statesmen.

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