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Title: Gloria Dei, Homo Vigilans
Subtitle: Waking up to Grace in Rahner and Levinas
Author(s): PURCELL, Michael
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 21    Issue: 3   Date: Fall 1996   
Pages: 229-260
DOI: 10.2143/LS.21.3.542228

Abstract :
The debate regarding the relationship between grace and nature preoccupied theologians in the earlier part of this century, but since the emergence of Karl Rahner's notion of the supernatural existential, relatively little seems to have been written. Rahner's contribution, however, although it seeks to maintain fidelity to the tradition's insistence on the sheer gratuity of the divine initiative, has not found universal acceptance. This article recognizes the value of Rahner's contribution but wonders whether the problems surrounding the relationship between grace and nature and the solution offered by Rahner can be articulated in the language of Levinas, not by way of mere translation, but in terms of a new grammar. Stephen Duffy writes, 'creatures, and more especially humans, are the grammar of God's potential Self-utterance.' A Levinas-inspired reflection on the phenomenology of human existence as an awakening might be able to offer an insight into the relationship between nature and grace in terms of wakefulness and awaking, such that not only can one say with Irenaeus that 'the glory of God is a person fully alive,” but also “the glory of God is a person fully awake.'

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