Michael and Paulus

Tradition and Discovery 35 (3):21-39 (2008)
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Abstract

Polanyi’s and Tillich’s unique dialogue of February 1963 is systematically exegeted, its provenance and aftermath traced and its disappointing but challenging outcome inventoried. Mutual lack of preparation flawed the Berkeley meeting along with Tillich’s severe preoccupation. Polanyi had valued Tillich’s basic theology but never delved into the latter’s important conceptualization of science, wherein Polanyi’s own concerns are significantly broached. Tillich had barely heard of Polanyi, while under the surface was widedisparity in the meaning of faith. Afterwards, having meaninglessly blandished, they ignored each other, though the late Tillich espoused freedom in faith in a way that would have opened him to Polanyi’s help and the latter desiderated a panentheistic endorsement of human creativity as part of his Pauline envisagement of satisfying and open ended faith— which was just what Tillich became intent upon in the denoument of his system. Destined lovers who tragically fail to connect, they leave their respective societies with a truly proactive heritage, since the cultural crisis they combatted has if anything worsened

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