Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ricoeur’


February 27th 2013 marked Paul Ricoeur’s 100th Birthday.

“Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005) is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished philosophers of the twentieth century. In the course of his long career he wrote on a broad range of issues” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).

As Wikipedia writes:

Paul Ricœur (27 February 1913 – 20 May 2005) was a French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutics. As such his thought is situated within the same tradition as other major hermeneutic phenomenologists, Martin Heidegger and Hans-Georg Gadamer. In 2000 he was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for having “revolutionized the methods of hermeneutic phenomenology, expanding the study of textual interpretation to include the broad yet concrete domains of mythology, biblical exegesis, psychoanalysis, theory of metaphor, and narrative theory.”


Ricoeur was also from the French Reformed tradition and helped articulate phenomenology and hermeneutics in a way conducive to the Protestant emphasis on the primacy of the word in proclamation.  As Ricoeur wrote: “It is the text, with its universal power of world disclosure, which gives a self to the ego.”

Kevin_VanhoozerRicoeur has been influential on the thought of several Reformed theologians today; namely Michael Horton (People and Place; Pilgrim Theology) and Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Drama of Doctrine; Remythologizing Theology).


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The parables recount stories that could happen and even that have happened. But it is precisely this realism of situations, characters, and predicaments that sets off the eccentricity of the behavior that the kingdom of God is compared to. The extraordinary within the ordinary, such is the logic of meaning in the parables. Consider, for example, the extravagance of the the landlord in the parable of the evil tenants. After having sent his servants, he sends is son. What Palestinian landowner would act in such a foolish way? And what of the host in the parable of the great banquet who searches in the streets for guests to replace those who had been invited? Or the father in the parable of the prodigal son? Does he not exceed all the boundaries of complacency? – Paul Ricoeur, Figuring the Sacred, 60. 

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