Meetings of the North American Paul Tillich Society

The 2010 Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of the North American Paul Tillich Society will take place in Atlanta, Georgia on Friday, October 29th and Saturday, October 30th, 2010. The American Academy of Religion group "Tillich: Issues in Theology, Religion, and Culture" meets October 30 to November 1.

If you are attending the meeting, please bring the Bulletin with you for the Program and Banquet information. Time and room assignments are subject to change, final time and room assignments are available in the onsite Annual Meeting Program Book. You may also consult this program at the AAR website.

2010 Program

Friday, 9:00 - 11:30 am
M29-101 (Hyatt Regency - Hanover F)
Tillich and Barth (and Bonhoeffer)

  • Robison James, University of Richmond emeritus
    Historicizing God à la Tillich and Barth (Both!): Formula for Good Theology
  • Sven Ensminger, University of Bristol
    “Beyond a disagreement on criteria” - Paul Tillich and Karl Barth on Interreligious Encounters
  • Christian Danz, Univeristy of Vienna
    Religion and Modern Culture. Considerations on Theology of Culture of Paul Tillich and Karl Barth
  • Bruce Rittenhouse
    Self-affirmation and Self-Denial in the Ethics of Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, 1:00 - 3:30 pm
M29-202 (Hyatt Regency - Edgewood)
Tillich and Inter-religious Encounter

  • Claude Perrottet, University of Bridgeport
    Guide to the Perplexed: An Attempt to Make Sense of the Tillich-Hisamatsu Dialogues
  • Ivan Hon
    Paul Tillich's Thoughts and the Religiousness of Confucianism
  • Tim Helton, Drew University
    Finitude in Tillich: Talking Points for Jain-Christian Dialog
  • Lawrence A Whitney, Boston University
    Mission Theology and Interreligious Encounter: 1910-2010

Friday, 4:00 - 6:30 pm
M29-304 (Hyatt Regency - Auburn)
New Directions in Tillich and Art (and Deleuze!)

  • David Nikkel, University of North Carolina, Pembroke
    Updating Tillich on Religion and Art
  • Russell Re Manning, University of Cambridge
    “A Walk around the Rim of the Deepest Spiritual Crater in European History.” On the Aesthetics and Theology of Horror and Hope in Anselm Kiefer and Paul Tillich
  • Jari Ristiniemi, University of Gävle
    Differential Thinking and New Aesthetics; Essentialization, Potentialization and Art
  • John Starkey, Oklahoma City College
    Tillich and Deleuze

Friday 7:00 - 10:00 pm Annual Banquet
The annual banquet of the NAPTS will take place on Friday, October 29, at Pittypat's Porch Restaurant, 25 Andrew Young International Boulevard. 404.525.8228. The restaurant is located between Peachtree Street and Spring Street, within easy walking distance from the convention hotels. It is also a block from the Peachtree Center Station of MARTA, the Atlanta subway line. The distinguished speaker this year will be A. Durwood Foster. The title of his address is “Paul Tillich: the Culminating Union Years.”

For banquet reservations:
• 408.554.4714 (Office phone at Santa Clara University)
• Text message or voice message to cell phone: 408.674.3108

Please remember to bring your checkbook or cash to the banquet if you reserve a place by email, telephone or in person. Thank you.

Saturday, 7:00 - 8:00 am
M30-2 (Marriott Marquis - M109)
Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors

  1. Acceptance of the minutes from the 2009 meeting in Montréal, Québec
  2. Report of the President: David Nikkel
  3. Report of the Secretary-Treasurer: Frederick J. Parrella
  4. Report of the Nominating Committee: Sharon P. Burch, Past President
  5. Election of new officers and board members for 2007-2008
  6. The Collected Works Project: Report of Mary Ann Stenger
  7. a Report
  8. Topics of future meetings
  9. New publications on Tillich
  10. Items of business from the floor
  11. Thank you to former officers and board members

Saturday, 9:00 - 11:30 am
M30-106 (Marriott Marquis - International 4)
Recent Developments in Tillich Scholarship

  • Jeff Moore, United States Navy
    Tillich at the Top of the Spea
  • Daniel Morris, University of Iowa
    Reconsidering Commitment: A Case for Tillich in Studies of Religious Violence
  • Stephen Butler Murray, Endicott College
    Exile, Symbols, and the Courage to Be: The Influence of Paul Tillich on the Womanist Theology of Delores S. Williams
  • Matthew Tennant
    Unity between the Ultimate and Concrete: The Success of Tillich's Trinitarian Theology

Saturday, 11:45 am - 12:45 m
M30-121 (Marriott Marquis - International A)
Annual Business Meeting of the NAPTS

Presiding: David Nikkel, President

See agenda from the Board of Directors Meeting above for this meeting.
Since the entire Society meets only once a year, please make every effort to attend.

Saturday, 4:00 - 6:30 pm
Tillich: Issues in Theology, Religion and Culture Group (AAR)
A30-328 (Marriott Marquis - L503)
Tillich and New Directions in Science and Theology

This exciting session will explore the connections between Paul Tillich's thought and new directions currently being taken in the Science-and-Theology field. The papers all recognize Tillich as a significant resource for advancing work at the interface of science and theology. Particular papers focus on understandings of the human person in cognitive science, new developments in emergence theory, the Gaia hypothesis and a reinterpretation of Tillich's dialogue with Einstein. A short business meeting will follow the papers.
Presiding: Sharon Peebles Burch, Interfaith Counseling Center

  • Sam Powell, Point Loma Nazarene University
    Tillich's Theology and Cognitive Science: The Prospects for Theological Anthropology
    Tillich's theology was written in dialog with various disciplines, especially psychology. Theology today written in the Tillichian tradition will also take place in dialog with psychology; however, which psychological approach is most suitable? My paper argues that theologians today should use the results of evolutionary psychology and cognitive science. These disciplines are not only empirically and theoretically rich, they support Tillich's conviction that religion, culture and morality are rooted in human nature. Evolutionary psychology and cognitive science suggest that human behavior, thought and emotions are the result of information from the environment being processed by discrete cognitive functions. The functions are biological adaptations, the results of natural selection shaping the human brain at the beginning of humankind's history as a species. Every aspect of our lives, therefore, is intimately connected to our evolved biology, especially to our evolved cognitive functions. These disciplines thus support Tillich's contention that the functions of spirit are realizations of the general functions of all life.
  • Ryan T. O'Leary, University of Iowa
    Being and Gaia: Seeking Resources Toward a Vocabulary for Naturalistic Theology
    This essay will join the conversation on three specific levels in an attempt to isolate a vocabulary within which we can speak of God within a fully naturalistic mode. For such language we can find existential and ontological resources in the work of Paul Tillich which must be fleshed out in a way different than what a confessional Christianity which depends on some variety of supernaturalism can provide. For this we can turn to the Gaia hypothesis of James Lovelock. Thus, the essay will proceed in three stages. First, it will differentiate between senses of the terms “nature” and “naturalism,” and begin to build on that basis. Second, it will deal with Tillich's existential analysis, especially where he rejects both pantheism and supernaturalism, to find the degree to which his analysis can support a naturalistic theology. Third, it will show the way in which Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis can flesh out naturalism spiritually and Tillich naturalistically, prioritizing a robust theological understanding of nature.
  • J. Patrick Woolley, University of Oxford
    Tillich's Critique of Einstein and the Struggle with Natural Theology: Geometry of Nature and the Finite-Infinite Relation
    In “Tillich, Einstein, and the Quest for the Ultimate,” Gerald Holton claims that, had Einstein and Tillich ever sat down to discuss their common philosophical heritage, they could have clarified much for one another on the relationship between scientific and religious knowledge. He suggests advancing research along these lines would shed light on Tillich's life-long search for Absolutes in the natural world. I argue that a constructive conversation could have taken place by focussing on Plato's two-part methodology as interpreted by Schleiermacher: geometry and the dialectical understanding of the finite-Infinite relation. Contemplating the relationship between mathematical and dialectical understandings of time, in particular, could have advanced communication since it brings us, not to cosmological considerations as might be expected with Einstein, but to the epistemology of concept formation regarding the correlation of self and world and its relationship to the Absolute. Thus, it brings a focus to time in such a way as to consider, as Tillich puts it, “the falling together of the infinite and the finite, partly in mathematical partly in philosophical terms.”
  • Adam Pryor, Graduate Theological Union
    Tillichian Teleodynamics: An Examination of the Multidimensional Unity of Emergent Life
    Recent work in emergence theory has generated a significant problem for theological anthropologies that seek to explain how we are in the image of God. After examining the work of one emergence theorist, Terrence Deacon, I will consider the constructive potential of Tillich's notions of estrangement and the multidimensional unity of life for constructing a response to the theological ramifications of this account of emergence theory. Such a Tillich-inspired constructive process will rely upon Robert Russell's method of ‘Creative Mutual Interaction’ (an interdisciplinary method that builds upon Tillich's method of correlation). Lest the interdisciplinary potential be thought to be one way, I will also begin to offer suggestions for how Tillich's theological themes not only respond, but also might influence scientific research programs using Deacon's emergence theory by contributing to the process of defining life.
  • AAR Group Business Meeting (immediately following session)
    Russell Re Manning, University of Cambridge

Sunday, 9:00 - 11:30 am
Tillich: Issues in Theology, Religion and Culture Group (AAR)
A31-129 (Marriott Marquis - L405-406)
On Overcoming Dualisms with Paul Tillich: Reconsidering Empire, Secular Reason, Religious Fundamentalism, and Everyday Religious Practices

This exciting session will showcase the intersections between Tillich's thought and contemporary issues in theology, religion and culture. United by a concern to overcome destructive and discriminating dualisms, the papers in this session focus on bringing Tillich's thought into a creative engagement with issues of empire, critiques of secular reason, religious fundamentalisms, and everyday religious practices.
Presiding: Russell Re Manning, University of Cambridge

  • Jacob J. Erickson, Drew University
    The Ambiguity of Power: Paul Tillich, Empire, and the Kingdom of God
    With experience as a military chaplain and theologian expelled by the Third Reich, “empire” was a personal and theoretical force to be reckoned with for Paul Tillich. When he finally came to address the theme years later in volume three of his Systematic Theology, must have been not only a problem of history in general, but a personal memory with which to wrestle—an appropriate wrestling for a theologian working in the throes of existentialist philosophy. This paper, then, seeks to explore Paul Tillich's concept of empire in his Systematic Theology, and examine this work in light of recent empire studies and postcolonial theory. In this paper I want to argue that Tillich's anthropology, his “history bearing group” is too homogenous to give a just account for multiplicity in society and in the self. His description of the self-integrating movements of life may valorize a power that erases difference, multiplicity, and hybridity. Thus, I argue instead for an understanding of the self-integration of the history bearing group as self-cohering multiplicity in an attempt to seriously account for difference within history-bearing groups and within the self. Indeed, such an account might become a source of political resistance within regimes of violent homogeneity.
  • Daniel Miller, Syracuse University
    Theology versus Secular Reason: The Dualism of Radical Orthodoxy and the Promise of Paul Tillich's Correlational Method
    I argue that a modified Tillichian conception of correlation and symbolic language is better able to engage issues of dualism in relation to theology and culture than the metaphysical theology of Radical Orthodoxy. I begin with a consideration of Radical Orthodoxy's metaphysical theological proposal, particularly as it relates to analogical participation and the relation of “theology” as opposed to “secular reason.” Focusing on the thought of John Milbank and Graham Ward, I argue that while Radical Orthodox thinkers argue that only their metaphysical theological proposal can overcome the dualisms they take to be constitutive of modernity and liberal theology, their theological proposal actually depends upon the maintenance of particular dualisms (e.g., “theology” and “secular reason”). As an alternative, I suggest that Tillich's correlational theological method and his symbolic understanding of theological language, both targets of Radical Orthodox critique, provide the resources for rendering the boundaries between the poles of various dualisms, such as “theology” and “secular reason,” undecidable, thereby disrupting them in a way that Radical Orthodoxy cannot.
  • Mary Ann Stenger, University of Louisville
    Theologies of Culture as a Base for Interreligious Efforts to Address Fundamentalisms
    Tillich's theology of culture, with some points from Mark C. Taylor's and Peter Berger's “theologies” of culture, can provide resources for interreligious encounters with fundamentalism: specifically: 1) their methods for offering a religious analysis of culture, including a culture's seemingly “secular” elements and 2) their efforts to move beyond dualisms, especially the underlying dualism of absolutism versus relativism. Applications to fundamentalist responses to public art, sexual issues, and scientific understandings in several religious and cultural contexts will illustrate how these theologies of culture could be used in interreligious discussions and actions.
  • Justin Rosolino
    “How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?”: A Wittgensteinian Critique of Tillich's Account of the Subject-Object Divide and a Call to Concrete Christian Practices of Agape in the Everyday
    In this paper I shall argue that Tillich's identification of the Subject-Object dichotomy as the principle location of the healing work of the Spirit inadvertently fosters a form of Cartesian dualism. More specifically, I contend that Tillich's reliance upon the distinctly modern metaphysical category of the ‘subject’ sponsors an idealistic picture of an unmediated, ‘spiritual’ form of interpersonal knowledge, thereby inhibiting a more robust account of sanctification by undercutting the significance of the everyday practice of agape. While affirming Tillich's account of human estrangement, I will rely upon Ludwig Wittgenstein as a resource for understanding Cartesianism as a practice that can, in fact, be disavowed. I will argue that the grammar of Subject vs. Object encourages a distorted desire for a language-less, immaterial, and therefore impersonal manner of knowing the other that unnecessarily dislocates our holistic material experience of concrete human beings. I contend that contemporary Tillichians can, in fact, correct such metaphysical habits from within the scope of Tillich's system.
  • Mike Grimshaw, University of Canterbury