The Gift of the Other: Levinas, Derrida, and a Theology of Hospitality
BY Andrew Shepherd (2014)
FOREWORD BY Steven Bouma-Prediger
Imprint: Pickwick Publications
Series: Princeton Theological Monograph Series
We live in an age of global capitalism and terror. In a climate of consumption and fear the unknown Other is regarded as a threat to our safety, a client to assist, or a competitor to be overcome in the struggle for scarce resources. And yet, the Christian Scriptures explicitly summon us to welcome strangers, to care for the widow and the orphan, and to build relationships with those distant from us. But how, in this world of hostility and commodification, do we practice hospitality? In The Gift of the Other, Andrew Shepherd engages deeply with the influential thought of French thinkers Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida, and argues that a true vision of hospitality is ultimately found not in postmodern philosophies but in the Christian narrative. The book offers a compelling Trinitarian account of the God of hospitality–a God of communion who “makes room” for otherness, who overcomes the hostility of the world though Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and who through the work of the Spirit is forming a new community: the Church–a people of welcome.
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