1. The Nature of Life: Narrative
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In this chapter, I will explore Ricoeur’s theory of narrative that affirms human life is narrative that demands composition. His account of narrative aims to provide human life unity and meaning. Meaningful actions are those that can be composed into readable texts. And for Ricoeur, an inseparable relation between narrative and life can be established. He bases this relation upon the pre-narrative qualities of life. Appropriating Ricoeur, I will argue that Scripture is the narrative composition of divine-human revelatory experience into readable text. Through interpretation, the narratively composed experience can become a revelatory event for subsequent readers. Thus all meaningful experience requires narrative composition, and narratively composed experience needs interpretive processes if it is to be translated into the present.
Narrative Form of Life: A Debate
Narrative theorists agree on the importance of narrative in human life and culture. Nevertheless, they differ in their opinion as to the nature of this narrative role. What is the precise relationship between narrative and human experience? Is human life essentially narrative oriented? Or “is narrative extrinsic to human ← 11 | 12 → experience”? Philosophical, literary and theological narrative researchers establish this vital relation between narratives and human life. Louis Mink, Hayden White, Alasdair MacIntyre, David Carr and Paul Ricoeur have explored this extensively. They hold several ideas in common in analysing the nature of narrative. But it is interesting to observe Mink and White arguing for the extrinsic nature of the narrative form in human existence. Human experience...
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