Re-Imagining Text - Re-Imagining Hermeneutics
Keywords:Paul Ricoeur, Hermeneutics, Text, Interpretation, Dasein, Productive Imagination
With the advent of the digital age and new mediums of communication, it is becoming increasingly important for those interested in the interpretation of religious text to look beyond traditional ideas of text and textuality to find the sacred in unlikely places. Philosophical and theological hermeneutics have been invigorated by a de-regionalization of the interpretation of texts that corresponds with this journal’s mandate to “cross traditional boundaries, bringing different disciplinary tools to the process of analysis and opening up a sustained dialogue between and among scholars and others who are interested in religion, textuality, media, and mediation and the contemporary world.” Paul Ricoeur’s phenomenological reorientation of classical hermeneutics from romanticized notions of authorial intent and psychological divinations to a serious engagement with the “science of the text” is a hermeneutical tool that opens up an important dialogue between the interpreter, the world of the text, and the contemporary world in front of the text. This article examines three significant insights that Paul Ricoeur contributes to our expanding understanding of text. First under scrutiny will be Ricoeur’s de-regionalization of classic hermeneutics culminating in his understanding of Dasein (Being) as “being-in-the-world,” allowing meaning to transcend the physical boundaries of the text. Next, Ricoeur’s threefold under-standing of traditionality/Traditions/tradition as the “chain of interpretations” through which religious language transcends the temporal boundary of historicity will be explored. The final section will focus on Ricoeur’s understanding of the productive imagination and metaphoric truth as the under-appreciated yet key insight around which Ricoeur’s philosophical investigation into the metaphoric transfer from text to life revolves.
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