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The ExorbitantEmmanuel Levinas Between Jews and Christians$
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Kevin Hart and Michael A. Signer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230150

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230150.001.0001

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The Prevenience and Phenomenality of Grace; or, The Anteriority of the Posterior

The Prevenience and Phenomenality of Grace; or, The Anteriority of the Posterior

Chapter:
(p.150) The Prevenience and Phenomenality of Grace; or, The Anteriority of the Posterior
Source:
The Exorbitant
Author(s):

Michael Purcell

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823230150.003.0009

This chapter argues for a phenomenology and theology of grace on the basis of response, bringing the theological understanding of grace as prevenient into conversation with Levinas's notion of the posteriority of the anterior. Levinas may be seen to be suspended between the Jew and the Christian, but always situated in the ethical decision that needs to be made when faced with the other person, who is always enigmatic and always comes first. There is covenantal continuity. God goes back neither on his promises nor on his call and the election that comes in its wake. But God does not hide behind the other person; rather, God is accessible by way of the incarnate other person, who could be—might be—any other person, for the other always approaches in the guise of a stranger, like the visitors to Abraham and Sarah at the Oak of Mamre. Illeity is integral to, but not apart from, the mystery of the human, which mystery, in its irreducibility, is the trace in the face.

Keywords:   Emmanuel Levinas, Jews, Christians, theology of grace, ethics

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