Essays on Biblical Interpretation by Paul Ricoeur

By Paul Ricoeur

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Should we really attend above all else to the question of the 49 narrator? Theoreticians of narrative discourse have noted that in narration the author often disappears and it is as though the events recounted themselves. 1 Every linguistic form of autobiography is banished. There is no longer even a narrator: "events are posited as though they were produced to the extent that they appeared on the horizon of history. No one speaks here. "2 Can we annul this specific feature of narration by advancing the trivial argument that someone nevertheless wrote it and that he stands in a relation to his text analogous to that of the prophet and the double author of prophecy?

The opposition between explanation and understanding that came from Dilthey and the opposition between the objective and the existential that came from an overly anthropological reading of Heidegger were very useful in a first phase of the problem. But, once the intention is to grasp in its entirety the problem of the 42 understanding of faith and the language appropriate to it, these oppositions prove to be ruinous. Doubtless it is necessary today to award less importance to Verstehen ("understanding"), which is too exclusively centered on existential decision, and to consider the problem of language and of interpretation in all its breadth.

Doubtless it is necessary today to award less importance to Verstehen ("understanding"), which is too exclusively centered on existential decision, and to consider the problem of language and of interpretation in all its breadth. I am not formulating these questions against Bultmann but with the aim of thinking more adequately what remains unthought in Bultmann. And I am doing this for two reasons. First of all, his work as a New Testament exegete has an inadequate basis in his hermeneutic philosophy.

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