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Michael Purcell, Levinas and Theology

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Michael Purcell's Levinas and Theology is an original and stimulating exposition of one of the most difficult French philosophers of recent years. Drawing predominantly on Levinas' phenomenological roots, Purcell analyses a number of theological concepts (notably liturgy, incarnation and grace) through a broadly Levinasian lense. While Purcell's book deserves serious attention, especially by those working in 'continental' theology, there are three areas which would have benefited from further analysis: whether Levinas reduces 'religion' to ethics; how the (alleged) radical 'otherness' of the other is supposed to be ethically motivating; whether Levinas' work can truly accommodate the concept of salvation. These are the areas I will pursue here.

Affiliations: 1: University of Aberdeen, UK


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