Tillich and the Abyss: Foundations, Feminism, and Theology by Sigridur Gudmarsdottir

By Sigridur Gudmarsdottir

This booklet examines Paul Tillich´s theological idea of the abyss by means of finding it in the context of present postmodern antifoundalist discussions and debates surrounding feminism, gender, and language. Sigridur Gudmarsdottir develops those tropes right into a positive theology, arguing that Tillich’s suggestion of the abyss can function an important technique of deconstructing the binaries among the theoretical and the sensible in generating nihilistic relativism and the secure foundations of data (divine in addition to human).

How does one look for a map and procedure via an abyss? In his writings, Tillich expressed the anomaly and groundlessness of being, the intensity constitution of the human , and the truth of God as an abyss. The extra we gaze into this abyss, the extra we come upon the faults in our numerous foundations. This publication outlines how Tillich’s inspiration of the abyss creates better possibilities for complexity and liminality and opens up an area the place lifestyles and loss of life, destruction and building, fecundity and horror, womb and tomb, can coincide.

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Grey writes: Our own particular crisis has its roots in the cultural despair which followed the initial euphoria at the fall of Communism in the Eastern European countries. Nothing, it seems, will check the advance of unbridled capitalism. Yet the break-up of the old theological certainties might be said to go back to the conviction that, after the Second World War, nothing could be the same: God had died in Auschwitz. ’”84 As Grey reminds us, it has often been claimed that the postmodern reality of the abyss was born in Auschwitz.

I argue that Tillich’s apophatic gestures are radical and that his abyss theology continues the play of the appearing/disappearing divinity into the breaking of ontological binary. WONDROUS DEPTHS God as ground and abyss of being is the living source for Tillich’s system. 81 Karl Barth once called Tillich’s Unconditioned, “the frozen monster,”82 which seems to point to a similar critique toward Tillich’s vocabulary of the ‘ultimate’ to that which Ward is implying. What could possibly construct such an abstracted monstrosity of ecstasy?

The language in which Tillich described the moment that gave him the “keys for the interpretation of human existence, brought vital joy and spiritual truth” and opened up “depths experienced in no other way”30 bears a family resemblance to Tillich’s fourth trait. The fifth and sixth symbolic traits are, according to Tillich, that symbols can be neither invented nor thrown away. Tillich’s organic metaphors of growth and decay of symbols are consistent in his writings. “Like living beings, they grow and they die.

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