Changing Ontotheology: Paul Tillich, Catherine Malabou, and the Plastic God

  • Jeffrey W. Robbins
Part of the Radical Theologies book series (RADT)


By his identification of God with being-itself Paul Tillich is an ontotheologian par excellence. As Charles Winquist affirms: “Tillich is not a postmodern theologian. He clearly works within the ontotheological tradition.”1 Indeed, Tillich may be seen as the last unabashed ontotheologian. While this relatively straightforward claim has been contested by many leading scholars of Tillich, it will be my argument that the radical Tillich is the ontotheological Tillich.2


Ontological Difference Liberation Theology Religious Socialism Negative Theology Christian Thought 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Charles Winquist, Desiring Theology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 62.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Most especially, see John Thatamanil, “Tillich and the Postmodern.” In Re Manning, Cambridge Companion, 288–302. See also J. Blake Huggins, “Tillich and Ontotheology: On the Fidelity of Betrayal,” Bulletin of the North American Paul Tillich Society 38, 3 (Summer 2012), 27–36.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See Jacques Derrida, “How to Avoid Speaking: Denials.” In Derrida and Negative Theology, ed. Harold Coward and Toby Foshay (Albany: SUNY Press, 1992).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    John D. Caputo, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion without Religion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 46.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    See Martin Heidegger, “Phenomenology and Theology.” In The Piety of Thinking, trans. James G. Hart and John C. Maraldo (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    See Bernd Jaspert and Geoffrey W. Bromiley, eds., Karl Barth—Rudolf Bultmann: Letters, 1922–1966 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 1981), 41.Google Scholar
  7. 13.
    Mary Ann Stenger and Ronald H. Stone, Dialogues of Paul Tillich (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2002), 188.Google Scholar
  8. 14.
    James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2011), 30.Google Scholar
  9. 17.
    See J. Kameron Carter, Race: A Theological Account (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 18.
    James H. Cone, Black Theology of Liberation: Twentieth Anniversary Edition (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2001), xix. Italics his.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    For instance, see the doctoral dissertation by Christopher D. Rodkey, Ln the Horizon of the Infinite: Paul Tillich and the Dialectic of the Sacred (Madison: Drew University, 2008).Google Scholar
  12. See also Richard Grigg, Gods after God: An Introduction to Contemporary Radical Theologies (Albany: SUNY Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  13. 23.
    For instance, see the blog post by Peter Rollins, “Dawkins, Dennett and Hitchens: The New Theists?” in The Huffington Post (March 10, 2013): See also, Jeffrey W. Robbins and Christopher D. Rodkey, “Beating ‘God’ to Death: Radical Theology and the New Atheism.” In Religion and the New Atheism: A Critical Appraisal, ed. Amarnath Amarasingam (Boston: Brill, 2010): 25–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 24.
    For an example of how Tillich has been situated within the history of the developing field of Religious Studies, see Walter H. Capps, Religious Studies: The Making of a Discipline (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1995), especially 30–35. For a discussion of the notion of “secular theology” and its place within the academic study of religion, see two special issues of The Council of Societies for the Study of Religion Bulletin (April 2008) vol. 37, no. 2, and (September 2008) vol. 37, no. 3.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    For instance, John Thatamanil, The Immanent Divine: God, Creation, and the Human Predicament (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006). See also, Capps, Religious Studies, 289–296.Google Scholar
  16. 30.
    Catherine Malabou, The Future of Hegel. Plasticity, Temporality and Dialectic, trans. Lisabeth During (Abingdon: Routledge, 2005), 134, 145, 155.Google Scholar
  17. 32.
    John D. Caputo, Demythologizing Heidegger (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1993), 28.Google Scholar
  18. 35.
    See Catherine Malabou, Plasticity at the Dusk of Writing: Dialectic, Destruction, Deconstruction (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 17–29.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Russell Re Manning 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey W. Robbins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations