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Ricoeur’s project is an elaborate search for identity and self-understanding through the medium of texts. In his thought, the self stands inseparably linked with narrative. Identity emerges from narrative through a creative process of interpretation. This interpretive process opens up the world of the text and uncovers the “textual” form of reality. It also elicits from the text new possibilities of human being in the world, set against a horizon of narrative hope. The reality that comes in this way through language redescribes human existence and reorganizes the shape of life by stretching it temporally toward the future. Here a self comes to understand itself in terms of its total possibility, so that a reshaped identity emerges in the present against the horizon created by the text.
This book presupposes agreement with several theologians that contemporary Christian theology1 must look for new ways to appropriate the biblical text and to address the questions of human existence and identity. I argue that Ricoeur’s philosophical project, consisting of his philosophical anthropology, narrative theory, hermeneutic philosophy and linguistic theories, can be an effective conversation partner with Christian theology. His philosophical project can provide insights to sharpen the methods of theological reflection. Engaging Ricoeur as a dialogue partner can help theology to appropriate the biblical text in a creative way, and to formulate a theoretical framework for understanding the relation between text ← 1 | 2 → and self. The result is a theology which addresses an enlarged sense of identity in...
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