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Durham e-Theses
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Existentialist themes in the interpretation of "faith": by Bultmann and Tillich

Rees, Anthony John (1976) Existentialist themes in the interpretation of "faith": by Bultmann and Tillich. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The aim of this thesis is to assess the influence of existentialism on the interpretation of faith presented by Bultmann and Tillich and evaluate their use of this existentialist thought. First, we show that the general character of existentialism may be classified into two broad themes: the Place of the Individual, which shows his concern for his understanding of himself and his relation to others; and Existentialia, which describe the various modes of existence of the individual, his feelings and experiences. We then show that Bultmann and Tillich are particularly indebted to four existentialists: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers, and Heidegger, We therefore proceed to outline the relevant doctrines of these philosophers, thus discovering numerous existentialist themes. Next, we use the broad themes discovered in Chapter One as the framework for our analysis of Bultmann's and Tillich's existentialist interpretation of faith. In this analysis, we elicit several existentialist themes used by Bultmann and Tillich, noting that these have similarities with those of the four existentialists reviewed previously. We argue that all these existentialist themes of Bultmann and Tillich are derived from, or parallel to, those of our four existentialists; the interpretation of faith offered by Bultmann and Tillich is thus existentialist both in general approach and in particular historical derivation. This result is confirmed when a brief comparison is made with the concepts of faith held by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Jaspers and Heidegger. We argue that it is both valid and positively helpful to formulate an existentialist interpretation of faith such as is expounded by Bultmann and Tillich. Despite some criticism of such an approach, we conclude that Bultmann and Tillich have in fact made a valuable contribution to our analysis and understanding of faith.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1976
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:28

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