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The Courage to Be (The Terry Lectures Series) [Kindle Edition]

Paul Tillich , Peter J. Gomes
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this classic and deeply insightful book, one of the world’s most eminent philosophers describes the dilemma of modern man and points a way to the conquest of the problem of anxiety. This edition includes a new introduction by Peter J. Gomes that reflects on the impact of this book in the years since it was written.

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In this classic and deeply insightful book, one of the world's most eminent philosophers describes the dilemma of modern man and points a way to the conquest of the problem of anxiety. This edition includes a new introduction by Peter J. Gomes that reflects on the impact of this book in the years since it was written.

About the Author

Paul Tillich (1886–1965) was a world-renowned philosopher and theologian.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
166 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich with good ideas November 5, 2002
This book has more good ideas in it than clam chowder has calories. It's packed into every page, every line. Tillich is concerned with how the question of finding the courage to face up to existential doubts about death, meaninglessness, and guilt are tied to the ontological questions of being versus nonbeing. How can we affirm our existence when it seems so temporary, meaningless and full of moral failure? Tillich explores with incredible freshness and insight age old strategies, from Spinoza to the Stoics (his discussion of the Stoics alone is worth the price of the book). He gives a brilliant account of how people find the courage to overcome existential anxiety through particpation in groups and through individual strategies like existentialism. Finally, he explores the theological implications in a way that may challenge anyone who has stereotyped Tillich as a mouthpiece for Christianity. The book is excellently written, never dumbed down but always graspable. He also litters the book with brilliant asides on subjects like the history of existential angst and its relations to social relations and a great exploration of existential art. Don't pass this one up.
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82 of 91 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Courage to Despair November 20, 2001
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tillich's ultimate concern is what determines our being or non-being. The "shock of nonbeing" and the ensuing anxiety allows Tillich to categorize three types of anxiety (fate and death, emptiness, and guilt). I thought his history of anxiety, starting with the Stoics ("the only real alternative to Christianity in the Western world") was remarkable (though at times a rough read). Influenced by Heidegger and Kierkegaard("to confront his existence alone") he drives on to the inevitable search for God. For Tillich, the "Courage to Be" is partly the courage to despair, and avoid the "Neurosis is a away of avoiding non-being by avoiding being". He is also influenced by Freud and psychoanalysis (called "depth psychology" in the book), which in our day of Prozac and behavioral psychology is refreshing.
The nature of the discussions, being, nonbeing, subjectivity, objectivity make for difficult reading with double negatives (eg. "Nonbeing is no threat because finite being is, in the last analysis, nonbeing"). If one can wade through the language, there a lot of insight.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tillich makes the world look shimmeringly alive. September 9, 2000
By DJ Rix
"It takes tremendous courage to resist the lure of appearances. The power of being which is manifest in such courage is so great that the gods tremble in fear of it." Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be.
Paul Tillich's ideas are a response to existentialism, German philosphy, modern physics & the success of totalitarian movements in Germany, Russia & Italy. He is a bridge between the 19th Century & the growth of new theological thought in latter part of the Twentieth.
Tillich is not all that difficult to understand in The Courage to Be. However, it's unfortunate that his three wonderful collections of sermons (The Shaking of the Foundations; The New Being; The Eternal Now) are out-of-print, as these are his best introductions.
Readers coming to Tillich will have to grapple with the common metaphors of Christian faith. For Tillich, the concepts of Heaven & even an afterlife are not terribly important, as they imply a continuation of life in time that he is not able to accept scientifically or on faith. So one meets those lovely semi-metaphors of "being itself," "non-being" & "ground of being" that, for me at least, were a more clear explanation of how I experience the world than God the "Father" or Holy Ghost.
This makes Tillich a crucial step into Feminist & Language theology, although he couldn't quite make the big leap himself.
Basically, Tillich says we're stuck in an undefinable present that moves creatively into an unknown future in which nothing is a given but the fact that we are alive right now, so what do we intend to do about it? This is "being" & being, above all else, requires courage; the courage of early Christians facing the axe or the fire.
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68 of 79 people found the following review helpful
I first read this book in high school, then in seminary, in graduate psychology classes, and several times since then. Each time I read it I gain insight and growth. Tillich will challenge your intellect and force you to think. He defines courage in a way that will change you if you take it to heart. This is a book that you will need to read several times to apperciate it's depth, but it is well worth it. I often feel I obtain a higher leval of consciousness and often I feel in an altered state after reading and pondering Tillich's writting. Tillich outlines fundemental concepts for existentialist and modern theology. Starting with Tillich's books of sermon is a good work up to this book.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic! February 11, 1998
By A Customer
Tillich is one of the most creative and influential theologians and philosophers of the twentieth century. He is particuluarly influential here in America. When this book was first issue it was recognized as one of the great books of popular philosophy/theology yet written. In it, Tillich takes the reader through the different ways a person can be (essentially different ways of living). The reader will find this book not only useful in terms of their own self evaluation and helping others, but they will find it a book that, when properly understood, changes peoples lives. A word to the wise: Many people have complained that this book is a little difficult to read at first. This is because Tillich uses terminology which he has invented. He is not always good about telling the reader know what he means. However, after you read more and more of the book you get a good grasp of what he means. Stick with it. You wont be sorry.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a challenge to understand but well worth the effort
Published 3 days ago by james m. yerkes
5.0 out of 5 stars The place to begin on a workable and beautiful philosophy.
In college and seminary in the 1960s I was totally enamored with Paul Tillich. I read everything by him and about him that I could get my hands on. Read more
Published 27 days ago by William P. Shackleford, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Biblical Theology Scholastic Information for the Pragmatic Practitioner. Outstanding Book!
Published 4 months ago by Anita Griffin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My book club and I will love reading this book. Thanks for sending it in a timely manner.
Published 4 months ago by womenfor Christ
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Cannot overstate importance of this book!
Published 5 months ago by Doctor M
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Theologian
This collection of essays, actually a series of lectures, gives a clear summary of the ideas of one of the great theologians of the 20th Century. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Slips01
3.0 out of 5 stars Deep
It was a bit deep - lots of history of philosophy, but by the end it became more relevant to me.
Published 6 months ago by Alice Worman
5.0 out of 5 stars The courage to exist as a being with purpose.
The best analysis of the relation between our existential being and it's relation to the transcendent by arguably the most brilliant theologian of the past century. Read more
Published 7 months ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought Provoking
This was a gift I gave to a member of my family. I read the book many years ago and found it inspiring. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ellery Green
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to understand
I am Japanese guy, without Christian tradition.
For me it is very difficult to understand this book.
I gave up for reading half way around.
Published 9 months ago by Second to NUN
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