Remembering Paul Ricoeur

Of the various theorists of hermeneutics, Paul Ricoeur always frustrated me most. I would assent to roughly four-fifths of a point he makes, and then the remaining fifth would seem entirely off the mark. And in such frustrating prose! Give me a bracing, dense passage of Derrida any day, rather than the deadpan exposition of Ricoeur.

Yet I doubt that anyone has done more productive work, across the whole span of hermeneutical thought, in the twentieth century. Ricoeur affected everything; if you disagree with him, you still interact with him (whereas ideology fences off, say, Derrida from his dissenters). His reflections on time, identity, narrative, parables, interpretation, culture, all make a difference to participants in the discussion across the board. Dissent need not mean disrespect; all grace and peace be with Paul Ricoeur, now and forever.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. This is so funny. I love Ricoeur and have never understod the appeal of Derrida and yet our brains seem to operate in similar ways. I wonder why that is?

  2. Now I love Derrida, and I’m basing a blogological analysis methodology on deconstruction, as best I understand it.

    I don’t know why I can just read Derrida forever, comprehending 3 sentences every other page, yet it soaks in and my mind expands and I gain more insight as I read him.

    Ricouer? need to look into him. Derrida, Blanchot, Lacan, and Levinas have been my favorite intellectual stimulation.

    Theology? I don’t know if they’re considered theologians, but I favor Charles Finney, John Wesley, Luther, Barth, and Oswald Chambers.

    We need a high tech, special effects Pilgrims Progress film, BTW.

  3. Well, you’re already known throughout the galaxy for your 1337 light-saber skillz, so if we haft divvy them up, I suppose I get the lightning. Since I’m not on the dark side, though, do I get a different color of lightning? (Or does the answer depend on my having seen Revenge of the Sith, which I haven’t yet?)

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