A History of Christian Thought by Paul Tillich

By Paul Tillich

In 'A heritage of Christian Thought', Paul Tillich has finished the supremely tricky feat of constructing a piece right now brilliantly authoritative and accomplished, whereas ultimate transparent and uncluttered through scholarly annotation and debate. initially brought as lectures on the Union Theological Seminary and on the Divinity tuition of the college of Chicago, this version has been fantastically edited by means of Carl E. Braaten of the Lutheran college of Theology in Chicago.

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There I show that Christianity and the Stoics are the great competitors in the whole Western world. But here I want to show something else. Christianity took from its great competitor many fundamental ideas. The first is the doctrine of the Logos, a doctrine that may bring you to despair when you study the history of trinitarian and christological thought. The dogmatic development of Christianity cannot be understood without it. Logos means "word". But it also refers to the meaning of a word, the reasonable structure which is indicated by a word.

Thus the dogma receives a legal sanction. In the Roman Church the dogma is part of canon law; its authority comes from the legal realm. This is in line with the general development of the Roman Church; the word "Roman" has the connotation of legalistic development. However, the tremendous reaction against dogma in the last four centuries would perhaps not have been created without one further step: the ecclesiastical law became accepted as civil law xl Introduction: The Concept of Dogma by medieval society.

The first and basic authority was the Old Testament. Next to that was the earliest collection of writings which are now in the New Testament. The limits of the New Testament had not yet been definitely set. It took more than two hundred years for the church to make a final decision on all the books in the New Testament canon. Besides these writings there was already a complex of dogmatic and ethical doctrines which had become traditional. In I Clement these are called "the canon of our tradition".

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