a1 Professor of Religious Studies, Nora University of Education, Nara, Japan
In Volume i of his Systematic Theology, Paul Tillich says, ‘Being precedes nonbeing in ontological validity, as the word “nonbeing” itself indicates’ (p. 189). He also says elsewhere, ‘Being “embraces” itself and nonbeing’, and ‘Nonbeing is dependent on the being it negates. “Dependent”—points first of all to the ontological priority of being over nonbeing’ (The Courage to Be, p. 34, p. 40). Tillich makes these statements in connection with a tendency among some Christian thinkers to take God as Being itself. The same understanding of the relation of being and non-being can be discerned in major strands of Greek philosophy through the ideas of to on and me on. Although Greek philosophy and the Christian movement have different starting points in time, in geographical locale, in conceptual orientation, Tillich's statements demonstrate the manner in which the two strands have, to a significant degree, merged, and his comments reflect a basic under standing (if not the basic understanding) of being and nonbeing in the West.