Michael Purcell PhB PhL MA PhD FHEA
Senior Lecturer; Theology and Ethics
New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LXTelephone: +44 (0)131 650 8940
In continental Europe, they do things differently, but doing things differently and being able to deal with difference is not a bad thing.
Having been schooled in philosophy and theology in Leuven (Belgium) and Edinburgh, I maintain a keen interest in the relation of phenomenology and theology, and the phenomenology of religion.
What currently interests me is the possibility of a phenomenology of grace, of prayer, and of hope, and its fundamental theological articulation. I am also interested in pursuing phenomenology further, even to excess.
But I say too much already, for excessive claims must be made humbly and with humility. Theology, it seems to me, must be a very humble discipline which does not claim too much loudly or proudly.
I am also keen to revisit the existential-phenomenological philosophical/theological analyses of existence, evident in Sartre's philosophy and Niebuhr's liberal protestantism.
If I were to speak of my approach to, and love of, theology, I could do no better than repeat the words of Lady Study, the wife of Intelligence, when she directs the Dreamer to her cousin Learning in William Langland's story of Piers the Ploughman:
'Theology has always caused me a lot of trouble. The more I ponder and delve into it, the darker and mistier it seems to me to be. It is certainly no science for subtle invention, and without love it would be no good at all. But I love it because it values love above all else; and grace is never lacking where love comes first.'