From a Liminal Place: An Asian American Theology // Sang Hyun Lee.


Originally known for his impressive scholarship on the philosophical theology of Jonathan Edwards, Sang Hyun Lee takes a more autobiographical note and pens this short appetite-whetter: From a Liminal Place.

For Sang Hyun Lee, liminality has a narrow definition drawn from anthropologist Victor Turner: “A transitional time in which persons are freed from social-structure hierarchy and role playing and, therefore, may be more open to what is new, experience a close communion with other persons (communitas), and become capable of prophetic critique of the existing social order” (Preface). What makes liminality different from marginality is the creative potential of the former (I believe Sang Hyun Lee is making this distinction to clarify what he saw as a confusion of Jung Young Lee’s Marginality. For Jung, “marginality” describes both the negative and positive sides of being on the peripherals of power centers). This creative potential of liminality is ultimately, I believe, for communitas. Communitas seems to be akin to Martin Buber’s Ich Und Du (“I and Thou”) encounter. At the root of it all, Sang Hyun Lee cements his liminality-communitas construal on his understanding of what the Triune God does in history according to Edwardian philosophical theology. In short, the Triune God “repeats” his infinite, inner-trinitarian in creation’s time and space. The result will be the Triune communitas established in creation.

I find Sang Hyun Lee’s proposal intriguing but wanting. However, 150 pages is not nearly enough space to fully develop his thoughts–a problem he is very much aware of.


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