Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the twentieth century.
Albert Einstein (left, standing behind girl) and Paul Tillich (right, standing in front wearing glasses) at a conference in Davos, Switzerland on March 18, 1928. (Courtesy of Image Archive ETH-Bibliothek, Zurich).
Paul Tillich was born on August 20, 1886, in the province of Brandenburg in eastern Germany in the small village of Starzeddel. Tillich's Prussian father was a Lutheran pastor and his mother was from the Rhineland and more liberal, influenced heavily by Calvinist thinking. At an early age Tillich held an appreciation for nature and the countryside into which he had been born. Among the general populace, he is best known for his works The Courage to Be (1952) and Dynamics of Faith (1957), which introduced issues of theology and modern culture to a general readership. Theologically, he is best known for his major three-volume work Systematic Theology (1951–63), in which he developed his "method of correlation": an approach of exploring the symbols of Christian revelation as answers to the problems of human existence raised by contemporary existential philosophical analysis.
Paul Tillich’s life has been chronicled in a biography, a partially biographical book (Hopper, 1968), an autobiographical sketch (in On the Boundary), and two autobiographical essays (in Kegley and My Search for Absolutes).