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

Michael Purcell

in The Exorbitant

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230150
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235711 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

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

Show Summary Details


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

Chapter.  9264 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.