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Paul Tillich (1886–1965)

Author of The Courage to Be

160+ Works 11,325 Members 57 Reviews 17 Favorited

About the Author

Paul Johannes Tillich was born into a German Lutheran pastor's family in that part of Germany that is now Poland. He attended several universities, earning the doctorate in philosophy in 1910, then taught at several more from 1919 to 1933. Removed from his professorate at Frankfurt by the Nazi show more government, he emigrated to the United States, with the encouragement of Reinhold Niebuhr, and taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York (1933--55), Harvard University (1955--62), and the University of Chicago (1962--65). The fullest biography, including some fairly lurid material of a psychosexual nature, can be found in the appreciative work by Wilhelm and Marion Pauck. The student who wants to encounter Tillich at his most succinct might turn to The Courage To Be (1952) or The Theology of Paul Tillich (1982). He is sometimes classified as Neo-orthodox, but that label does not fit him as well as it does Karl Barth, who had small regard for Tillich's "theology of correlation," where responding to the world's questions is seen as the proper way of practicing theology. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Paul Tillich

The Courage to Be (1952) 1,993 copies
Dynamics of Faith (1957) 1,604 copies
Systematic Theology, vol. 1 (1951) 637 copies
The New Being (1955) 554 copies
Theology of Culture (1959) 476 copies
The Eternal Now (1963) 459 copies
Systematic theology (1951) 380 copies
Morality and Beyond (1963) 287 copies
The Essential Tillich (1987) 212 copies
The Protestant Era (1948) 184 copies
On the Boundary: an Autobiographical Sketch (1966) — Author — 163 copies
My Search for Absolutes (1967) 103 copies
The future of religions (1966) 100 copies
The Religious Situation (1925) 94 copies
What Is Religion? (1969) 61 copies
Theology of Peace (1990) 58 copies
On Art and Architecture (1987) 31 copies
The Socialist Decision (1605) 26 copies
Political Expectation (1971) 25 copies
The world situation (1965) 14 copies
The Kingdom of God and History (1938) — Contributor — 9 copies
Ausgewählte Texte (2008) 6 copies
Julgus olla (2021) 3 copies
Symbol und Wirklichkeit (1986) 3 copies
Religioossed ked (2009) 2 copies
Textos Selecionados (1900) 2 copies
No Limite (2018) 2 copies
Documents biographiques (2002) 2 copies
Teksten van Paul Tillich (1998) 2 copies
Dieu au-dessus de dieu (1997) 1 copy
Mestwo bycia (2014) 1 copy
Le Nouvel Être (2022) 1 copy
all 1 copy
Paul Tillich 1 copy
Frühe Werke (2013) 1 copy

Associated Works

Four Existentialist Theologians (1958) — Contributor — 175 copies
Charlotte : a diary in pictures (1963) — Introduction — 26 copies
Philosophy now : an introductory reader (1972) — Contributor — 24 copies
Religion et culture — honoree — 1 copy


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Tillich, Paul Johannes
Date of death
Burial location
New Harmony, Indiana
Country (for map)
Starzeddel, Province of Brandenburg, Prussia, German Empire (now Starosiedle, Poland)
Place of death
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Places of residence
Berlin, Germany
Marburg, Germany
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
New York, USA
Starosiedle, Poland
professor (Theology, Union Seminary)
professor (Harvard University)
Taubes, Susan (student)
May, Rollo (student)
Awards and honors
Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels (1962)
Short biography
Paul Tillich is generally considered one of the century's outstanding and influential thinkers. After teaching theology and philosophy at various German universities, he came to the United States in 1933. For many years he was Professor of Philosophical Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, then University Professor at Harvard University. His books include Systematic Theology; The Courage to Be; Dynamics of Faith; Love, Power and Justice; Morality and Beyond; and Theology of Culture. (taken from http://www.religion-online.org/showbo...)



One of the world's most renowned theologians and philosophers of religion, Dr Paul Tillich discusses in this book certain points of view considered by him to be decisive as an approach to Christianity and its encounter with world religions: the emphasis on and the characterization of quasi-religions; the elaboration of the universalist element in Christianity; the suggestion of a dynamic typology; the dialogical character of the encounter of high religions; and the judgment of Christianity against itself and its openness for criticism from other religions and from quasi-religious.… (more)
PendleHillLibrary | 1 other review | Feb 9, 2024 |
The wound that Rudra’s arrow opened in Prajāpati’s groin [. . .] The idea that in some future time that tattered edge of bleeding flesh might close was enough to suggest the possibility of a higher level of fullness, something in respect to which the fullness of the Beginning seemed crude and stifled. It didn’t matter whether that further fullness turned out to be (as indeed it would) unattainable. — Ka, Roberto Calasso

On New-Age Motivational Gurus

A short time ago I had the privilege to attend a seminar on, "Mastering Creative Energy: Unlocking Da Vinci and your Super Qi". Afterward, I was happy to have unleashed my Super Qi, though in the moment I had wondered, "why is it always necessary to reach for the top shelf of historical (action) figures." Why is it that these seminars never have as their subject a certain minor Franciscan who, after having extruded his life's work into five unread illuminated volumes, has produced a short commentary on one of the esoteric Saints which is to be his first and only true opus (in the sense of an indeterminate "truth" which continues to elude us (around the corner)). Surely it had required a great mustering of Super-Qi for this scholar to vault himself over such Scholastic mediocrity. When had Da Vinci ever required such gaseous assistance. And surely we should be satisfied merely to have unlocked Normal Qi, which ought to be sufficient for all but the most severe of our personal troubles. (Such quibbles were expunged when the Holy Spirit (Super Qi) filled my body).

Though I continue to be exceptionally permissive of such new-age sloganeering. As long as such movements capture more than a cynical adherence, they continue to remind us that "Ontology is Generous," as long as we continue to recognize such movements to be empirically false (First Upbuilding Discourse). That Ontology is always permitting a popular belief in anodyne falsehoods suggests a surplus value which has not yet been exploited; something which continues to lie fallow for "the lily of the field and the bird of the air." This is a nutriment which depends upon an ontological tension (potential energy), which evaporates if we consider the mystical notion to be true in earnest, which would, in a horror-film moment, have the scales fall from our eyes in view of all the lonely hospital dead — starved-to-death of Super Qi.

Saved from our decay.
Admire that perfect skeleton,
those veins, that skin like cellophane.
Take them and press them in a book.
Dare we behave as if the meek
will mark the places of the wise?

On Tillich
Everything is within the sacrifice. With the sacrifice one heals the sacrifice. I say this so that you might not imagine it easy to escape from sacrifice. In every sacrifice there is the uncertainty [anxiety] of a journey toward an unknown destination." — Ka, Roberto Calasso

As much as the spontaneous appearance of Da Vinci should rouse our suspicion, the peep show sequence that is the so-called "History of Philosophy" has always been un-believable. The arrangement of "Great Philosophers" into easy continuity (dubious) so that we might demonstrate the "Progression of an Idea" is always an extraneous movement. If the final idea were enough, it would be sufficient to have it at once. Rather, we are always building connections "ligatures" between discrete points. The construction of the connection/ligature, rather than incidental to the Tillich text, is necessary form of response to the sub-text that the original wound (from Rudra) is not closed. The secret promise of the ligature (i.e. History of Philosophy) is something that can tie closed that wound at the origin. We are therefore pursuing "the fullness of the Beginning" by drawing the progression of ideas from Beginning (unknowable) to End (unknown), yet every such text becomes a demonstration of the work which is the wound itself.

The role of the Brahman is to take the wound into himself and neutralize it in the sacrifice. We have not yet "gone beyond" the sacrifice, since this sacrifice is precisely what is occurring in the Text. In ontic/spiritual/moral categories a sure victory cannot be had for nothing. Regarding the "[anxiety] of a journey toward an unknown destination," Tillich delineates, "[the anxiety] of fate and death, that of emptiness and loss of meaning, and [the anxiety] of guilt and condemnation." Like the Pharmakos (in the Derridean sense of a poison/cure with the person to be condemned under erasure), Tillich produces a solvent which dissolves the problematic of these categories, which is the (fraught) psychological turn towards "Courage."

In the Kierkegaardian sense, Courage is perhaps the hardest thing in the world ("No such person one was ever comforted by the phrase, 'One does what one can,'"'(what/how much is that?)), so how is it that Tillich can produce it so cheaply. We have a foreboding, such as when reading those awful works of Apologetics, which all begin meekly enough, yet somehow find a way to conclude with a raunchy Broadway number (and, not infrequently enough, the Sieg Heil. (I do not wish to Pharmakos-the-Well, so to speak.)) Tillich would like to help us to Courage (Faith). Rather than a Kierkegaardian "swimming in 20,000 fathoms of water," we can stand on the shore and practice our movements, or perhaps merely study them on television. Tillich's Courage, which is a negative category without ethical/eschatological content, and which at worst breaks even (this is also the quality of the "sure investment"), is taken back into the sacrifice, which it does not escape for having been bought too cheaply. As the body of the Brahman digests the sacrificial offering, so is Tillich's courage dissolves into a pure cellularity. The cellular structure of the body, which cannot help but continue to exist, is the only necessary actor, and the Ground:

"He who is in the grip of doubt and meaninglessness cannot liberate himself from this grip; but he asks for an answer. He asks for the ultimate foundation of what we have called the courage of despair. There is only one possible answer: namely that the acceptance of despair is in itself faith and on the boundary line of the courage to be. [...] The paradox of every radical negativity, is that it must affirm itself in order to be able to negate itself. Even in the despair about meaning being affirms itself through us. The act of accepting meaninglessness is in itself a meaningful act. It is an act of [courage]."

"Laugh at the stupidities of the world or weep over them, you will regret it either way." Doubt or do not doubt, the negative act is still a positive act (in the "can't do nothing" sense), and non-courage is still a kind of courage (Hegelian, this). We continue to be dependent, then, on Ontology's Generosity for allowing us to continue to walk on solid Ground, though, by rights, we should pass right through.

Nothing I fear
has ever harmed me, why should you?
… (more)
Joe.Olipo | 14 other reviews | Sep 19, 2023 |
autobiographical sketch
SrMaryLea | 2 other reviews | Aug 22, 2023 |

Here Tillich is in part responding to critics of his use of philosophy within religion, and lays out an argument for how the Bible repeatedly points towards the ontological. He covers a lot of meaty ground in very few pages, and I can't help but feel it should have been longer. That being said, it's very readable, even if he loses me at points.

I recently read The Courage to Be, which perhaps made this feel all the more palatable, but this still seems like a good primer, despite coming after. Courage to Be is more rigidly philosophical and barely theological in its bulk, but this feels more balanced and accessible by comparison.

It's amazing how someone so confusing can remain so compelling.
… (more)
TheScribblingMan | 1 other review | Jul 29, 2023 |



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