Show Less
Restricted access

Textual Linguistic Theology in Paul Ricœur


Xavier Lakshmanan

In this work, Xavier Lakshmanan argues for a textual linguistic approach to Christian theology. The book takes its shape in conversation with Paul Ricœur’s philosophical thought, demonstrating how Ricœur’s hermeneutic philosophy can inform the way Christians interpret and appropriate biblical narratives without delimiting the potential of the text or eroding the distinctiveness of its language. The text can be appropriated in ways that address the fundamental questions of life. New meanings are constantly generated from the same text in order to describe and redescribe existence, and form human identity. The self is linked inseparably with narrative; every interpretation of narrative is at the same time a reinterpretation of the self and of its possibilities. In such interpretative processes, the reader interprets the text and the text interprets the reader at the same time through an interactive reading. Accordingly, the aim of interpreting the narratives is to open up the world of the text in front of the text and in front of the reader. Here what the text uncovers is the «textual» structure of existence itself. The reality that unfolds through language discloses the possibilities of existence, and in this way the text creates a future. A revised identity emerges against the horizon of that future to give a coherent and dynamic account of the self against a horizon of hope.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

2. The Narrative of Text: Life


| 35 →

The previous chapter explored the relation between narrative and life. It explored Ricoeur’s account of the way human actions can be composed into texts. By reading such texts, one can discover one’s own identity through an encounter with the world of the text. This process begins by making sense of the pre-narrative qualities in human experience. It ends by recreating a fresh human identity. The dynamism that sets this activity in motion is the act of reading, which is really a whole process of understanding, explaining, and appropriating the textual meaning.

In this chapter, by exploring the way Ricoeur’s interpretation theory has been formulated and applied in the context of understanding, I shall show how the narratively composed text projects a life. Ricoeur’s hermeneutics aims to develop a paradigm for all possible forms of understanding, culminating in existential self-understanding. This provides a framework that envisages human beings as hermeneutical beings. I shall explore this by focusing on Ricoeur’s works on interpretation theory, especially Hermeneutics and the Human Sciences and Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning. ← 35 | 36 →

A Hermeneutical Turn

Ricoeur’s idea of the receptive reading of texts results in a theory of self-understanding. At this point, there is a relationship between self-understanding and the interpretive process. Receptive reading is engaging with and interpreting the text. In this interactive situation, the text shows a possible life. This is the existential possibility of the self. The self’s understanding of its...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.