ECONOMY OF “INVISIBLE DEBT” AND ETHICS OF “RADICAL HOSPITALITY”: Toward a Paradigm Change of Hospitality from “Gift” to “Forgiveness”
Article first published online: 18 MAY 2010
© 2010 Journal of Religious Ethics, Inc.
Journal of Religious Ethics
Volume 38, Issue 2, pages 243–267, June 2010
How to Cite
Ahn, I. (2010), ECONOMY OF “INVISIBLE DEBT” AND ETHICS OF “RADICAL HOSPITALITY”: Toward a Paradigm Change of Hospitality from “Gift” to “Forgiveness”. Journal of Religious Ethics, 38: 243–267. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2010.00428.x
- Issue published online: 18 MAY 2010
- Article first published online: 18 MAY 2010
- radical hospitality;
- Jacques Derrida;
- Friedrich Nietzsche;
- invisible debt;
- economy of debt;
- ethics of hospitality
The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct a Christian theology of “hospitality” through a critical reading of Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche as well as through an in-depth biblical and theological reflection on the ethics of hospitality. Out of this reconstructive investigation, I propose a new Christian ethics of hospitality as a radical kind. As a new paradigm, this radical hospitality is distinguished from other types in that it is no longer conceived on the model of “gift”. The new Christian ethics of hospitality is rather reconstructed on the model of “forgiveness” by critically appropriating the concept of “invisible debt” that lies between the hosting citizens and the migrants in the senses of “you owe us your presence” and “I owe you my security and success.” While the hospitality of the gift defines the relationship between the hosting citizens and the migrants as givers and givees, the new paradigm of hospitality identifies this relationship as between creditors and debtors. In this regard, a new Christian hospitality called for unto citizens of the hosting society is a radical kind that challenges them to transcend the creditor-debtor consciousness.