The self in the mirror of the Scriptures: the hermeneutics and ethics of Paul Ricoeur

Ford, Amanda Kirstine (2012) The self in the mirror of the Scriptures: the hermeneutics and ethics of Paul Ricoeur. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In 'Oneself as another' Paul Ricoeur considers the nature of selfhood concluding that it can only be understood as polyvalent. He uses narrative identity to show that because selves both “act and suffer” human identity is intimately tied with encounter with the Other. The ethical dimension is explored in a mediation between Aristotelian teleological ethics and Kantian deontological morality, resulting in phronēsis or practical wisdom. The book ends with a number of aporias, including the problem of identifying the internal voice, heard in the conscience – the voice of attestation. In a related paper, which provided the impetus for this thesis - “The self in the mirror of the Scriptures” - Ricoeur considers the issues of identity from a religious perspective.

The thesis critically reviews the development of Ricoeur’s thought, moving from philosophy through hermeneutics to ethics, and its implications for theology, moving from questions of the will, to biblical hermeneutics and Christian ethics. It questions the concept of narrative identity and is particularly concerned with the place of the incompetent narrator in community. It concludes that we must take seriously Ricoeur’s insistence that biblical faith adds nothing to the consideration of what is good or obligatory, but belongs to an economy of the gift in which love is tied to the naming of God. However, to consider what this might mean in pastoral and ethical terms for those who understand themselves as summoned selves, and seek to find their image in the mirror of scripture, the thesis concludes with extended exercise in biblical hermeneutics, drawing on Ricoeur’s consideration of genre as a poetic mode. The thesis suggests that the comic parables help us to hope for more than we experience in our frailty, while the tragic parables illuminate our incapacity and enable us to forgive others their failure.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Thiselton, A.
Milbank, A.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 12634
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2012 15:36
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 00:54

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