2020-02-20Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21529
Prophetic Criticism and the Rhetoric of Temporality
Paul Tillich’s Kairos Texts and Weimar Intellectual Politics
Sprach- und literaturwissenschaftliche Fakultät
The paper discusses Paul Tillich’s changing conception of a “prophetic critique” of contemporary culture and society through the notion of a “kairos”, the moment of fullfilled time. It shows how Tillich refers both to a specific notion of prophecy (developed in Max Weber’s reflections on charisma) and to a concept of eschatological time (developed in Karl Barth’s dialectical theology). In different texts from the 1920ies and the 1950ies, Tillich uses the idea of “kairos” for a critique of the “idols” of bourgeois culture that is both radical and urgent. However, read in their historic sequence, these texts also reveal the difficulty of upholding the urgency of such a critique over time – as a result, Tillich’s notion of “kairos” becomes more and more reflexive and self critical as the possibility of prophetic critique is concerned.
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This article was supported by the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.