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277 Throughout history, grand old prophets have been an endangered species. Old Testament Israelites stoned them or ran them out of town. Latter-­ day prophets in Nazi Germany ­were imprisoned or executed, notably the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His Letters and Papers from Prison—written from a military prison before he was transferred to a concentration camp, where he was executed—should be required reading. Bonhoeffer experienced the power of evil and manifested the power to resist it. The voice of Paul Tillich was also heard from pulpits and lecture halls in the late 1920s and early 1930s. While a member of the Religious Socialist movement and dean of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Frankfurt, Tillich published The Socialist Decision in early January 1933. Shortly after Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933, Tillich was dismissed from his academic position. A Frankfurt newspaper had named Tillich the embodiment of the enemy. Unlike Bonhoeffer, Tillich was married and the father of a young daughter, and now their lives ­ were in ChaptER 31 Art and Carol’s Garden 278 New Harmony, indiana danger. Weighed with the obligation to care for his family, he accepted the urgent invitations from Reinhold Niebuhr at Union Theological Seminary and Horace Friess at Columbia to immigrate to America and leave the breeding ground of tragedy of Nazi Germany. He, Hannah, and Mutie arrived in November of that year. Upon leaving Germany, Tillich identified with the biblical Abraham.1 The American theologian James Luther Adams had worked with Germans in Eu­ rope to stem the tide of Nazism, but they ­ were outnumbered and their lives threatened. Jim Adams, recollecting those years during a visit to New Harmony, told me of a prescient dream Tillich had experienced before leaving Germany of “sheep grazing in Potsdamer Platz amid its ruin.” Tillich witnessed this upon his brief return there after the close of the Second World War. When in New York, Tillich was reportedly surprised to see a newspaper article with a photograph of that very scene. Tillich’s persona is manifest in the doors I commissioned Herold Witherspoon to create in late 1967 that open into the Tillich Dining Room of the Red Geranium Restaurant (49 on town map).2 The sculptor used various woods to evoke a shepherd on one panel and a prophet on the other. The former pays homage to the young Tillich, his tenderness, innocence , and vulnerability toward life in his youth. The latter reveals Tillich as a thundering Jeremiah with an arm raised to denounce the foreign gods and false prophets of those turbulent days in Germany, a time not unlike our own. A wall of ­ ceiling-­ to-­ floor windows frames the park bearing his name in the distance.3 Tillich also rebuked those outside his country who followed the false prophets of shallow art. He rightly called their idea of art “kitsch.” To him, art, painting, and sculpture ­were not meant merely to please the eye and rock the mind to sleep. My ­ art-­ inebriated mother took me to museums in my impressionable youth, a preparation for a Tillichian concept of the role of art. When I was young, I was particularly moved by the sculptures of Auguste Rodin (at the Musée Rodin in the Hôtel Biron), for I could identify with a creator who had not catered to the expectations of polite society and the Pa­ri­sian art establishment. Critics and citizens of the early 1900s had grown so accustomed to the white marble and classic forms of antiquity that Rodin’s heroic bronze of Balzac was vehemently opposed in the press when it was first presented, and it was insulted by people well armed with tomatoes and rotten eggs. Above left, The Shepherd and right, The Prophet, © 1968 Herold Witherspoon. Photograph by Darryl D. Jones, 2013. Courtesy of Herold Witherspoon. Below. The wall of windows in the Tillich Dining Room provides a view of Paul Tillich Park. Photograph by Darryl D. Jones, 2013. 280 New Harmony, indiana True art breaks through smooth surfaces and deepens our understanding . Rodin’s works did that for me, and I’ve commissioned sculptures for New Harmony that engage our minds and reflect the period of history in which we live. No one has thrown vegetables or eggs at the statues I have placed outdoors in New Harmony. For the most part they have been ignored, perhaps for the same reason that Israelites plugged their ears to Jeremiah’s exhortations...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253016638
Related ISBN
9780253016249
MARC Record
OCLC
903357020
Pages
400
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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