Now I'm getting the chance to read books I didn't have time for before. Think of me whenever you see the slogan "So many books, so little time!" Now I've got the time.  Cheers, Fred.

The New Being

Book Number: 
Date Fred Read: 
July 2018
Fred's Rating: 
Paul Tillich
Total Pages: 
Nebraska Press

Paul Tillich (1886–1965), son of a Lutheran pastor, had a philosophy doctorate and was ordained in the Lutheran church. He is widely regarded as the leading Protestant theologian of the twentieth century. This book, first published in 1955, is the second of three collections of his sermons. (For his books I’ve read, click on his name.)

The Amazon website for the 2005 paperback edition I bought is

[None of the ISBN-10, ISBN-13, or ASIN numbers on Amazon’s websites for the three editions (Kindle, hardcover, or paperback) are recognized by Amazon, thus the ‘no image Circle' appears. I think this new change by Amazon is not good. However, you can see the images of this book's covers at the website above.]

The home page has a very brief summary that acknowledges Mary Ann Stenger (an associate professor of humanities studies at the University of Louisville and the coauthor of Dialogues of Paul Tillich). Her excellent 8-pp Introduction to The New Being is unavailable on Amazon’s websites for this book because this book doesn’t have the ‘Look inside’ option. But there is an excellent review by Steven H. Propp on the home page in the ‘Top customer reviews’ – you need to click on ‘Read more’ to get all the details in his lengthy review.

My paperback edition has a 1-p Preface by Tillich dated 1955, which I give next:

“This book contains sermons which I gave mostly in colleges and universities, especially in Union Theological Seminary, New York and in Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut, since the publication in 1945 of the first volume of my sermons ‘The Shaking of the Foundations.’

“The two titles: ‘The Shaking of the Foundations’ and ‘The New Being’ show the relation of the main problems of the first to those of the second volume. ‘The New Being’ is, so to speak, the answer to the questions developed in ‘The Shaking of the Foundations’.

“I want to express my thanks to Miss Mary Heilner to whom this volume is dedicated and who in this as in the first volume helped me eliminate Germanisms and other stylistic shortcomings and advised me in the organization of the whole book.

“In the main, quotations from the Bible are given according to the Revised Standard Version, copyrighted 1946 and 1952, with the kind permission of the copyright owner, Division of Christian Education, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.”

Since I have referred above to the detailed review by Steven H. Propp and since the 8-pp Introduction is too many pages for me to type here, I don’t have much to add in this review. But I did note that this second volume never referred to ‘the wrath of God’ that appeared a few times in the first volume. This may well be because the three key concepts in this second volume are Love, Freedom, and Fulfillment. This is clearly shown in the book’s 2-pp Contents, which I give below in the three Parts.

Part I: The New Being as Love (pp 1-59): Ch. 1 – ‘to Whom Much is Forgiven …”; Ch. 2 – The New Being; Ch. 3 – The Power of Love; Ch. 4 – The Golden Rule; Ch. 5 – On Healing (I and II); Ch. 6 – Holy Waste; Ch. 7 – Principalities and Powers.

Part II: The New Being as Freedom (pp 63-138): Ch. 8 – What is Truth?; Ch. 9 – Faith and Uncertainty; Ch. 10 – By What Authority; Ch. 11 – Has the Messiah Come?; Ch. 12 – He Who Believes in Me …’ Ch. 13 – Yes and No; Ch. 14 – Who Are My Mother and Brothers …?; Ch. 15 – All Is Yours; Ch. 16 – Is There Any Word From the Lord?; Ch. 17 – Seeing and Hearing; Ch. 18 – The Paradox of Prayer.

Part III: The New Being as Fulfillment (pp 141-179): Ch. 19 – The Meaning of Joy; Ch. 20 – Our Ultimate Concern; Ch. 21 – The Right Time; Ch. 22 – Love Is Stronger Than Death; Ch. 23 – Universal Salvation.

I chose to quote from Ch. 2 – The New Being – mainly to indicate why Tillich chose this to be the title of this second volume. I give only the first two paragraphs of this 10-pp chapter:

“If I were asked to sum up the Christian message for our time in two words, I would say with Paul: ‘It is the message of the New Creation in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians.' Let me repeat one of his sentences in the words of an exact translation: ‘If anyone is in union with Christ he is a new being; the old state of things has passed away; there is a new state of things.’ Christianity is the message of the New Creation, the New Being, the New Reality which has appeared with the appearance of Jesus who for this reason, and just for this reason, is called the Christ. For the Christ, the Messiah, the selected and anointed one is He who brings the new state of being.

“We all live in the old state of things, and the question asked of us by our text is whether we also participate in the new state of things. We belong to the Old Creation, and the demand made upon us by Christianity is that we also participate in the New Creation. We have known ourselves in our old being, and we shall ask ourselves in this hour whether we also have experienced something of a New Being in ourselves.”

I stop quoting here, for the third paragraph is a bit over two pages long. I chose Ch. 2 to quote from because Paul Tillich’s discussion of the New Being is very important for his theology. Chapter 2 is quite detailed as he answers the questions he has raised about all that this means for us today.

I’ve reread this book; some chapters I’ve reread twice. This second volume of his sermons is a very insightful book, and also very deep. I rate it at five stars. (Next I will review his third collection.)