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The Shaking of the Foundations by Paul Tillich


Paul Tillich is generally considered one of the century's outstanding and influential thinkers. After teaching theology and philosophy at various German universities, he came to the United States in 1933. For many years he was Professor of Philosophical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, then University Professor at Harvard University. His books include Systematic Theology; The Courage to Be; Dynamics of Faith; Love, Power and Justice; Morality and Beyond; and Theology of Culture. This book was published by Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, in 1955 and is out of print. This material was prepared for Religion Online by John Bushell.


Chapter 1: The Shaking of the Foundations
The visions of the prophets have become an actual, physical possibility, and might become an historical reality.

Chapter 2: We Live in Two Orders
We are not a lost generation because we are a suffering, destroyed generation. Each of us belongs to the eternal order, and the prophet speaks to all of us: Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people!

Chapter 3: The Paradox of the Beatitudes
There is no distinction made between spiritual and material fulfillment. Those to whom Jesus spoke were in need of both.

Chapter 4: The Two Servants of Jahweh
If we turn to the true servants and to the true God whom they serve, the God of history, we shall know of the future. For example, we can find the solution of the riddle of history as a whole, and of our particular history, in the figure of Cyrus in the service of the servant of Jahweh.

Chapter 5: Meditatioin: The Mystery of Time
Mankind has always realized that there is something tearful about the flux of time, a riddle which we cannot solve, and the solution of which we could not stand.

Chapter 6: The Escape from God
It is safe to say that a man who has never tried to flee God has never experienced the God Who is really God.

Chapter 7: The Depth of Existence
It may become of ultimate significance to us, when we see what is implied in the use of terms like "deep", "depth", and "profound", for the expression of our spiritual life. It may give us the impulse to strive for our own depth.

Chapter 8: On the Transitoriness of Life
Another order of things becomes visible. The natural law "from dust to dust" alone does not explain the human situation. That man is bound to this law is the Divine reaction against the attempt of man to become like God.

Chapter 9:
Jesus is called the Son of Man, the man from above, the true man, in whom the forces of separation and tragedy are overcome, not only in mankind but also in the universe.

Chapter 10: The Experience of the Holy
When God is identified with an element in human nature, as in humanism, the terrifying and annihilating encounter with majesty becomes an impossibility.

Chapter 11: The Yoke of Religion
These words of Jesus are universal, and fit every human being and every human situation. They are simple; they grasp the heart of the primitive as well as that of the profound, disturbing the mind of the wise.

Chapter 12: The Meaning of Providence
Providence and reality seemed to be a matter of fact. But it never was, and never will be, a matter of fact.

Chapter 13: Knowledge Through Love
God knows me, because He loves me; and I shall know Him face to face through a similar uniting, which is love and knowledge at the same time. Love lasts; love alone endures, and nothing else besides love, nothing independent of love.

Chapter 14: Doing the Truth
Only those questions for truth which have challenged and disturbed centuries of practice have brought about a fundamental transformation of practice. This is true of the history of science, morals and religion.

Chapter 15: The Theologian
We are first of all theologians. Therefore, it is most natural, although not most usual, for us to consider our existence as theologians.

Chapter 16: The Witness of the Spirit to the Spirit
The majesty of God is challenged, when we make Him the loving Father before we have recognized Him as the condemning law, Whom we hate in the depths of our hearts.

Chapter 17: He Who Is the Christ
Christ is neither the political "king of peace" whom the nations of all history expected, and whom we expect today just as ardently; nor is He the heavenly "king of glory" whom the many visionaries of His day expected, and whom we also expect today. His mystery is more profound; it cannot be expressed through the traditional names.

Chapter 18: Waiting
The condition of man's relation to God is first of all one of not having, not seeing, not knowing, and not grasping. A religion in which that is forgotten, no matter how ecstatic or active or reasonable, replaces God by its own creation of an image of God.

Chapter 19: You Are Accepted
There is a way of rediscovering the meaning, of sin and grace; the same way that leads us down into the depth of our human existence.

Chapter 20: Born in a Grave
"Who else than the Messiah can be born in a grave?"

Chapter 21: The Destruction of Death
The frightful presence of death subjects man to bondage and servitude all his life, according to our text. So far as I stand in fear, I stand not in freedom; and I am not free to act as the situation .demands, but am bound to act as the pictures and imaginations produced by my fear drive me to act.

Chapter 22: Behold, I Am Doing a New Thing
When the ancient empires aged and died, their youth did not save them. And our younger generation will not save us, simply by virtue of the fact that it is young.

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