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Original scientific paper

Ricœur’s hermeneutics of the biblical text

Jadranka Brnčić

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French philosopher Paul Ricœur dealt with the problem of text in the framework of the hermeneutical phenomenology which discussed the range and limits of speculative thinking. In discourses which are competitive to philosophy – psychoanalytical, symbolic, and hermeneutical – he investigated the understanding and selfunderstanding of human ‘being-in-the-world’ to which one comes through the beltway of the interpretation of a text. Te article tries to display the principles of Ricœur’s ‘educated exegesis’ in a double horizon: the horizon of hermeneutical refection which does not deal with defnitive dogmatic expressions, and the horizon of faith which is being tested through texts while observing these texts from a certain distance, respecting their inner polyphony in expressing the confession of faith, the concept of time and the understanding of the history of salvation.
Ricœur’s thesis exemplifes that what is specifc for biblical thought can be seen underneath layers of text, as in the following: Name of God, the events in Hebrew history, the Kingdom of Heaven, Christ’s resurrection as a revelation of the meaning of hope. All these key moments of the biblical texts, through the act of reading are able to transform the ‘subjective’ existence of a reader.
By transferring the theological refection from the unanimous into polyphonic discourse, Ricœur deconstructs the monolith character of revelation and enables for its polysemics to be seen, thus destroying every form of totalitarian authority that would tend to ‘own’ the revealed truth. Te diversity of biblical genres complexes the moral problematic: since the biblical text ofers a wide range of understanding of the origins and forms of morality in which ethics cannot be reduced to moral norms, it is impossible to adopt a certain dogmatic position by which something like Christian ethics would exist. Ethics is not a framework set by Law, it is foremost the personal responsibility of a free conscience. The word ‘God’ on the other hand, refers to a search for universality beyond the plurality of its modalities of exposure in the biblical text, thus preventing that God is reduced into an idol. Te analogical form of nomination makes the very matrix of theological language as a metaphorical language, which makes possible a certain poetic theology.


Biblical hermeneutics, narrative identity, discursive modus of the Old and New Testament, polyphonic concept of revelation, confict and convergence of interpretation

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