Original scientific paper
Who Is a Stranger? Philosophical and Theological Considerations
In this paper, the phenomenon of the stranger is considered from a philosophical and theological point of view. In the introduction, a brief etymological analysis of the term stranger was made, after which it was pointed out that the term remains ambiguous in relation to others – strangers and beloved, but also in relation to ourselves and, finally, in relation to God. In the first part of the paper, we offer phenomenological and existential reflections on the structure of the encounter with the stranger, primarily through the categories of place/space as the central determinant of the stranger’s identity, then through the phenomena of the fearful and the fascinating, of change and wonder, of face and fear. In the second part of the paper, we consider the concept of the stranger with the help of Pope Francis’ encyclical Fratelli tutti, which harmoniously draws on philosophical accents but also offers a theological extension of understanding the encounter with the stranger as an encounter with the neighbor. Finally, we present a synthesis of philosophical and theological understandings of the concept of the stranger.
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