It is a bit disappointing. Perhaps it's just me.
Tillich tried to do his ontology project via his quest in handling the development of the issue of courage. That is a good start and indeed start of promising. With his highly acclaimed status I hold such a high expectation on this book.
The first part of the book is a bliss; in this section Tillich tried to offer three different kinds of anxieties, as anxiety is the counter part of courage, which dominates in different period of the European civilization. He dated back the issue to the time of Plato, then proceeded to medieval age and finally concluded with his contemporary, which more or less the time of cold war.
Yet the second half of the book is a bit disappointing. He tried to offered his own view on how courage should be appropriated to cope with different kind of anxieties. Basically Tillich tried to argue a participating courage yet not losing oneself to the group. He tried to give a middle way of courage of being. This hypothesis in itself sounds fine with me (whereas I would probably say this is the only way) yet his discourse with existentialism really get my nerve. Perhaps in his times existentialism was such a hype that he can't help but keep referring to the yet-developing ideologies. At least, I would not count Heidegger as an existentialist; yet as mentioned, you can see Tillich did under deep influence of Heidegger's notion of being-with, otherness and worldliness. Sadly as I put, by Tillich's time the depth of Heidegger is yet to be fully unfolded. So Tillich's argument, to me, is a bit repetitive or even superficial. (yeah i know will be condemned by many by jumping such a egoistic conclusion... anyway)
Still this book really enables me to understand how Tillich earns his acclamation as the cultural theologian of our days. His presentation in how arts and literature could tackle anxieties again, is a bliss to read. (though the coverage is very short)
in general i like the book, but due to the some a priori limitation, i would see The courage to be is for casual reading; for serious theologian writing, sadly it won't be included in the list.
Nevertheless, I like his notion of accepting "nonbeing" as the ultimate courage. The very last chapter is a decent roundup. =)...Continua