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Reflections on God’s Missiological Purpose at Babel

To conclude, if I am reading correctly, he seems to suggest that those neighbours—those who are most other than us—signify the Otherness of God. How might this provide a sharpened and Christian missional meaning to Derrida’s suggestion that God “pleads for a translator” of humanity’s “babel?” A second question emerges from the tradition that describes the Pentecost festival as commemorating the giving of the Law. What kind of moral imperatives of the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit might we discern, from fusing together Derrida’s and Lévinas’ respective reflections?


For Further Reading:

One translation of Jacques Derrida, “Des Tours de Babel” is available here:

Hinne Wagenaar, “Babel, Jerusalem, and Kumba: Missiological Reflections on Genesis 11:1-19 and Acts 2:1-13,” International Review of Mission 92, no. 366 (2003): pp. 406-421; esp 411-413.


Image: Tower of Babel (1594) by Lucas Van Valckenborch. Via Wikimedia Commons.

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Category: In Depth, Spring 2015

About the Author: Monte Lee Rice is a Pentecostal minister based in Singapore who served in churches and Bible colleges as a pastor, church planting director, and theological educator. He has ministered within some 15 nations in Southeast Asia and Africa, and graduated from Asia Pacific Theological Seminary with a M.Div. in theology (summa cum laude, 2002). He is an independent scholar in Pentecostal theology, co-administers the Pentecostal Theology Worldwide Facebook group, and is impassioned towards the global renewing of Pentecostal spirituality, its theological tradition, and its ecumenical promise for the Church worldwide. Visit his blog at: LinkedIn Twitter: @MonteLeeRice.

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