Articulating Tillich’s Spiritual presence

Nelson, Rachel (2023). Articulating Tillich’s Spiritual presence. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Articulating Tillich’s Spiritual Presence with Sartre’s Being and Nothingness and Rogers’ Person-Centered Therapy
Due to the formation of Paul Tillich’s symbolic claim of Spiritual Presence and universal essentialization, in Systematic Theology III, the genuineness of his claim was never examined. Because of this, the apex of his work, Spiritual Presence, remained speculative at best. It was unarticulated, underdeveloped, and gave no justification for why readers should give it weight. This thesis will argue the significance and validity of his work did not reach its full potential because of this.
While existentialism caused the development of Tillich’s theological claims, it is also a method able to test the speculations within it. While Tillich claimed universal Spiritual Presence was essentializing humanity through the structures of life, existentialism is used in this thesis to test that claim, through its observational analysis. This thesis seeks to take the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and Carl Rogers to examine how Tillich’s Spiritual Presence might present itself in everyday life and then articulate those observations to contribute to a more developed understanding of Spiritual Presence.
This articulation of Spiritual Presence remedies Tillich’s claim from speculation to something justifiable, by Rogers’ clinical and Sartre’s analytical observation. The elements surrounding essentialization, like the idea of people having a true Essence, is also given definition, based upon existential observation.
Out of this existential articulation of Spiritual Presence, the idea of existential pneumatology is presented. The term existential pneumatology is a term that is original to myself, the author. An existential pneumatology represents my summarized findings of Tillich’s Spiritual Presence, existentially. Those findings are repackaged and re-described as the interplay of two concepts: (a)uthenticity and (A)uthenticity. They exhibit the results of the research on essentialization, within this thesis, in brevity.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year