Dark reflections: Tillich, sex, and ambiguity

Re Manning, R (2015) Dark reflections: Tillich, sex, and ambiguity. In: Paul Tillich (1886-1965): Philosophy, Mystery, Love, 26 September 2015, University of Glasgow, UK.


In his highly influential essay ‘Tillich, Frege, Kittel: Some Reflections on a Dark Theme’ (1975), the Scottish theologian Donald MacKinnon passed judgement on Paul Tillich’s sex life, finding in Tillich a ‘calculated, elaborately defended, yet always elaborately hidden perpetuation of a lifestyle involving an unacknowledged contempt...for the elementary, demanding sanctities of human existence’ (pp.134-5). Glossing MacKinnon’s concern with Tilich’s ‘shameless and heartless sexual promiscuity’, the widely respected Oxford historian of theology Diarmaid MacCulloch has more recently wondered ‘how far any of Tillich’s theological work can be taken seriously’. This paper will take up MacKinnon and MacCulloch’s dismissal of the value of Tillich’s theological work on the basis of his sexual lifestyle. I will argue against their ad hominem critiques of Tillich and suggest instead the contours of a theological assessment of the theologian as a sexual person. In so doing, I aim to advance the analysis beyond the binary polarity of condemnation vs. apologia to consider Tillich’s sexual life and his reception as an informative case study in the still underexplored theme of theological sexual embodiment

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2016 17:12
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2022 14:51
URI / Page ID: https://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/6779
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