The concept of "the human" in the work of Hermann Hesse and Paul Tillich
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"The Concept of 'the Human' in the Work of Hermann Hesse and Paul Tillich" is an interdisciplinary study in theology and literature. Three chapters each on Hesse and Tillich discuss the life work, and critical significance of both men. The seventh chapter compares their similarities and their contrasting views. In his work Hermann Hesse singles out the artist as the best example of true personhood and believes that individuals become fully human by being aesthetes, possessing ironic humor, learning to love unconditionally, expressing themselves while at play, transcending themselves through magical thinking, i.e., bringing into harmony the polarities of life, and finally, by assuming ethical responsibility for life to the point of sacrificial service. In the work of Paul Tillich existential man experiences estrangement, but essential man possesses a vision of wholeness and therefore of potentiality. However, maturity is to be found in becoming reconciled. Jesus as the Christ is the New Being who reunites man with God, Sanctification describes what it means to be fully human, and participation in a theonomous culture requires that one help make human life more human for others. The final chapter compares the life and work of Hesse and Tillich and concludes; both men have a tripartite view of human nature, they recognize the ambiguities of life as well as the demonic element in man, perfection is beyond an individual's grasp hut fulfillment is not, and both men are humanists who oppose dehumanization. They differ in that Tillich is more interested in ontology than in psychology, Hesse stresses self-realisation, whereas Tillich: stresses becoming whole by way of reunion with Being-itself. Hesse appreciates the aesthetic and ethical stages of life but lacks Tillich's emphasis on the depth dimension. Hesse's answer to the human situation is autonomous rather than theonomous as advocated by Tillich. The implications of both Hesse's and Tillich's thought include the following: becoming fully; human is a lifelong process; man is most human when he reflects his best self or the image of God; being human must address itself to the perennial problems of man (sin, suffering, and death); anthropology rather than dogmatic theology is the arena in which the theological enterprise should take placer and finally. the contemporary church needs to be aware of the necessity for both personal religious experience and social action.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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