"Journal of Education Culture and Society" 2015_1


The Courage To Be Anxious. Paul Tillich's Existential Interpretation of Anxiety


Ştefan Bolea

Babeş-Bolyai University, Faculty of Letters,
Strada Mihail Kogâlniceanu 1, Cluj-Napoca 400084, Romania

E-mail adress: stefan.bolea@gmail.com


                The similitude between anxiety and death is the starting point of Paul Tillich's analysis from The Courage To Be, his famous theological and philosophical reply to Martin Heidegger's Being And Time. Not only Tillich and Heidegger are concerned with the connection between anxiety and death but also other proponents of both existentialism and nihilism like Friedrich Nietzsche, Emil Cioran and Lev Shestov. Tillich observes that "anxiety puts frightening masks" over things and perhaps this definition is its finest contribution to the spectacular phenomenology of anxiety. Moreover, Tillich has some illuminating insights about the anxiety of emptiness and meaninglessness, which are important for the history of the existential philosophy. It is interesting how the protestant theologian tries to answer to Heidegger: while the German philosopher asserted that we must avoid fear and we have to embrace anxiety as a route to personal authenticity, Tillich notes that we should transform anxiety into fear, because courage is more likely to "abolish" fear.


Key words:

anxiety, fear, courage, death, existentialism, phenomenology, existentialism, nihilism, meontology, meaninglessness, authenticity


DOI: 10.15503/jecs20151.20.25  pdf full version