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A History of Christian Thought (Touchstone Books) Paperback – November 15, 1972


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 550 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (November 15, 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671214268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671214265
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,520 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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He always sets the very highest of standards..
Jim Harrison
This book is for anyone who wants an in-depth panorama of the historical evolution of the Christian Church....
Leslie Schaefer
Paul Tillich was perhaps the most important and influential 20th Century theologian writing in English.
Jonathan Strandjord

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Sullivan on January 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
These lectures clearly reveal Paul Tillich as one of the greatest, most brilliant, theologians of the 20th century. The book summarizes and critiques the entire history of Christian thought (with special emphasis on German theologians). Tillich's appraisals of others are completely fair. His own insights that he shares along the way are those of a devout and brilliant liberal Christian. He summarizes his approach as follows: "Theology must see both sides, man's essential nature, wonderfully and symbolically expressed in the paradise story, and man's existential condition, under sin, guilt, and death."
I have only one reservation. This may well be Tillich's most accessible work, as one reviewer states. But that speaks more to the difficulty of Tillich's other works than to the ease of working through this treatise. It is brilliant, it is beautiful, but it is tough going. I had to reread many passages two or three times to understand them (and a few I simply had to give up on). The book is absolutely worth the effort, but for anyone looking for a somewhat simpler (but excellent) introduction to Christian thought, I would recommend Alister McCrath's "Christian Theology, an Introduction."
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan Strandjord on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
Paul Tillich was perhaps the most important and influential 20th Century theologian writing in English. His books, however, are tough slogging--especially for those who haven't read all the many continental philosophers and theologians with whom Tillich was arguing. This book, which consists of transcriptions of lectures Tillich gave on the history of Christian thought, is, besides being a wonderful introduction to the subject matter, the best possible introduction to Tillich's own thinking. Wonderfully accessible, engaging and lively, this book is thoroughly readable. If only more of his lectures on other topics were available!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jason M. Silverman on October 26, 2005
Format: Paperback
Whether or not one agrees with Tillich's theological-philosophical position or his liberal-Lutheran tendencies, his overview and analysis of Christian theology here offered is an excellent introduction or refresher. With precision and clarity he connects various movements and strains of thought which one might otherwise consider unrelated, or, more importantly, unimportant to oneself. Ultimately, the book (consistent with Tillich's existentialist leanings) attempts to point to theology's inherent purpose--personal application. He does so in this book with impeccable scholarly and intellectual skill.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Terry V. Barham on January 10, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an extraordinary set of lectures by the great theologian and cultural analyst. While hewing to the main intention of presenting a history of Christian thought, the lectures necessarily encompass a history of Western thought in general from Greco-Roman times to the present, given that specifically church-sponsored Christian thought developed and must necessarily develop in close, thoughtful, and fervent dialogue with significant trends of thought, feeling, imagination, and morality in the larger cultural environment. Each section of this book is stimulating and rich in insight. Your future reading (or past reading, for that matter) on any topic he covers in these lectures will surely profit from attending to what he writes. Tillich has a knack for getting simply to the root of any matter.

One important implication of the lectures given by Tillich on ancient and medieval Christian thought and policy is this: though they may differ as to what they draw from that tradition, that tradition belongs to all Christians.
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Format: Paperback
Paul Tillich (1886-1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. This book (subtitled "From Its Judaic and Hellenistic origins to Existentialism") was published in 1967. The Preface indicates, "A History of Christian Thought originated as lectures delivered by Tillich at Union Theological Seminary in New York ... the second part of this volume contains tape-recorded lectures which Paul Tillich delivered at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago during the spring quarter of the 1962-63 school year." Tillich himself states in the Introduction, "Actually, nobody would dare to present a complete history of what every theologian in the Christian Church has thought. That would be an ocean of contradictory ideas. The purpose of this course is quite different, namely, to show those thoughts which have become accepted expressions of the life of the church." (Pg. xxxviii)

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

"The idea of transcendence, that there is something that surpasses empirical reality, was prepared for Christian theology in the Platonic tradition." (Pg. 6)
"Celsus' deepest criticism of Christianity was neither scientific with respect to history nor philosphical with respect to the idea of incarnation; instead, it was one which arose out of a basically religious feeling. He said that the demonic powers which, according to Paul, had been conquered by Christ are actually ruling the world." (Pg. 25-26)
"The church had become a state church. This was the price which had to be paid for unity. The emperor did not command the content of the dogma, but he exercised pressure." (Pg. 72)
"What Tertullian actually said was: 'The son of God died: it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd'...
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