Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Self and Salvation. Being Transformed

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Self and Salvation. Being Transformed

Article excerpt

Self and Salvation. Being Transformed. By David F. Ford. Cambridge Studies in Christian Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. xiv + 298 pp. $64.95 (cloth); $22.95 (paper).

David F. Ford, currently Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, will be known to many as the editor of the textbook The Modern Theologians. His latest offering, Self and Salvation, is not a textbook, but a delightful and thought-provoking essay. His main dialogue partners are Emmanuel Levinas, Eberhard Jungel and Paul Ricoeur, in conversation with whom he develops an idea of the self under the transforming process of salvation, centering on the theme of "facing" in relation to others, and principally in relation to the face of Christ.

Ford provides a feast of approaches to this theme-philosophical, theological, hermeneutical, biblical, practical and historical-with the aim of describing a "polyphony" before the face of God. Such polyphony reflects the divine "economy of superabundance" in numerous irreducibly particular ways. This particularity is structured by the logic of "facing," a logic which is Trinitarian. In facing the other I am both drawn out in responsibility to the other and united with the other in joy. Unity precedes differentiation, as the ethical imperative towards the other is formative both of my relationship to the other and of my selfhood. This Trinitarian ethic of selfhood is not original, but is derived from Jungel, and Levinas and Ricoeur read in dialogue with Jungel. Rather, Ford's original claim is that "facing" can become the basis for a theology of salvation rather than merely its application; it is the form of salvation inseparable from its content. …

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