Reader's Guide to Tillich's Systematic Theology

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Introduction to the Reader's Guide

Origins | Sections | Changes in the German | Dedication

Origins of the Guide

This reader's guide is the work of the 2008 Tillich Seminar at Boston University, and a subsequent Tillich class in the Summer of 2008, with revisions by students in the 2010 Tillich seminar. The main students involved were Nathan Bieniek, Jennifer Coleman, and Roy Smith. Subordinate contributions were from Wendell Barnes, Wai Sum Chung, Wes Dalton, Ryan Harrison, Josh Hasler, Anne Hillman, Blake Huggins, Divine Mungre, Justin Pearl, Zachary Rodriguez, and Xu Zhiqiu. Changes in German reflect the work primarily of Durwood Foster.

Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology, 3 volumes (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951, 1957, 1963)

Sections of the Guide

Volume 1, Introduction
Volume 1, Part I: Reason and Revelation
Volume 1, Part II: Being and God
Volume 2, Part III: Existence and the Christ
Volume 3, Part IV: Life and the Spirit
Volume 3, Part V: History and the Kingdom of God

On “Changes in German”

There are a number of unclarities or infelicities, and few major errors, in Tillich’s Systematic Theology. Tillich worked on the German translation, Systematische Theologie, with Renate Albrecht. Her memories of this process include Tillich’s frustration about the English version and his desire to make corrections in the German. This makes the German version in many ways a second edition of the first English version. Volume III is in the worst shape, including one place where an entire section is promised in the text but is strangely just missing (it is included in the Reader's Guide).

The solution would seem to be a critical edition of the English text but for reasons I do not fully understand this has never occurred, despite efforts in that direction. The most recent effort of the North American Paul Tillich Society seems to be assembling an English version of Tillich’s Collected Works, which would present an opportunity to make a corrected English edition of the Systematic Theology. Whether it will be a more successful effort than the attempt at a critical edition none can say at this point.

The changes in Volume I reflect the notes I took in the Tillich seminars of Prof. Durwood Foster, Emeritus of the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. The format used is: [page number]+(from top)/-(from bottom) line number: unchanged text [+(addition/-(deletion)] more unchanged text. There are many other changes in Volume I that are not listed here. Changes listed for the other two volumes, when present, are the work of others, except for the translation of ST volume 3, page 72, which is Durwood Foster's.


The Reader's Guide is dedicated to the inimitable Durwood Foster, who inspired several generations of students to study Paul Tillich, and to Leroy Rouner and Sharon Burch, who kept the flame of Tillich alight at Boston University through their disciplined and imaginative teaching.

The information on this page is copyright 1994 onwards, Wesley Wildman (basic information here), unless otherwise noted. If you want to use text or ideas that you find here, please be careful to acknowledge this site as your source, and remember also to credit the original author of what you use, where that is applicable. If you have corrections or want to make comments, please contact me at the feedback address for permission.