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Philosophy and Theology

Volume 23, Issue 1, 2011

Tyler Tritten
Pages 29-52

First Philosophy and the Religious
Tillich on Theonomy

This article responds to Merold Westphal’s assertion that Paul Tillich suffers from “ontological xenophobia.” Westphal 1) subverts Tillich’s Augustinian/Thomistic typology into a Neoplatonist/Augustinian one and 2) critiques Tillich via Levinasian alterity. In response I show that 1) Westphal has misunderstood Tillich’s notion of Augustinianism insofar as he minimizes the role of estrangement in this viewpoint and that 2) Tillich’s notion of personhood and responsibility are anything but incompatible with Levinasian Ethics as First Philosophy. Tillich’s endorsement of theonomy in contradistinction to autonomy and heteronomy overcomes both the arbitrariness of pure autonomy and the tyranny of pure heteronomy.

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