Paul Ricoeur between Theology and Philosophy
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Paul Ricoeur between Theology and Philosophy : Detour and Return

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Paul Ricoeur (1913-2005) remains one of philosophy of religion's most distinctive voices. Ricoeur was a philosopher first, and while his religious reflections are very relevant to theology, Boyd Blundell argues that his philosophy is even more relevant. Using Ricoeur's own philosophical hermeneutics, Blundell shows that there is a way for explicitly Christian theology to maintain both its integrity and overall relevance. He demonstrates how the dominant pattern of detour and return found throughout Ricoeur's work provides a path to understanding the relationship between philosophy and theology. By putting Ricoeur in dialogue with current, fundamental, and longstanding debates about the role of philosophy in theology, Blundell offers a hermeneutically sensitive engagement with Ricoeur's thought from a theological perspective.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 230 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 17.78mm | 362.87g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253221900
  • 9780253221902
  • 591,099

Review quote

The principal aim of this perceptive study is to demonstrate that Karl Barth's theology and Paul Ricoeur's philosophy are productively compatible. Specifically, Blundell (Loyola Univ., New Orleans) argues that theology can profitably employ Ricoeur's signature strategy of 'detour and return,' particularly the latter's notion of narrative identity that distinguishes between selfhood and sameness, in order to show that the real as opposed to the phenomenal human self is authentically constituted only within the overarching Christian 'meganarrative' of immutable creaturely sin and everlasting redemption through Jesus. Such an appropriation, Blundell maintains, would significantly help to restore theology's dwindling importance and prestige in the eyes of a skeptical academy and an indifferent public, and to render theological discussions a discourse that simultaneously possesses conceptual integrity and a pressing relevance to terrestrial affairs. Blundell is also superb at mapping the contours of Ricoeur's extensive corpus, which effectively blends three major modes of analysis--reflexive, phenomenological, and hermeneutical--with an abiding respect for the distinction between philosophy and religion. In Blundell's eyes, theology and philosophy can engage each other advantageously, without either succumbing to the other. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers. -- ChoiceH. I. Einsohn, Middlesex Community College, February 2011 "Blundell is... superb at mapping the contours of Ricoeur's extensive corpus, which effectively blends three major modes of analysis-reflexive, phenomenological, and hermeneutical-with an abiding respect for the distinction between philosophy and religion. In Blundell's eyes, theology and philosophy can engage each other advantageously, without either succumbing to the other... Highly recommended." -Choice "This book is well written, concise, and clear. It provides a cogent account of theological debates while at the same time making Ricoeur accessible... Those involved with Ricoeur scholarship will no doubt find Blundell's study a valuable resource for drawing a clear line of intellectual development in Ricoeur's thought." -Philosophy in Review "Blundell's book is a valuable addition to the literature on Ricoeur. It will be of interest to theologians concerned with the methods of theology, philosophical hermeneutics, or the place of theology in the academy." -Religious Studies Review "The terms of engagement of theology and philosophy in the contemporary academy are of considerable interest, along with the figure of Ricoeur and the subject of hermeneutics generally... Highly engaging, well-structured, lucid." -Jim Fodor, St. Bonaventure University "Boyd Blundell calls readers to create a narrative unity of life amidst the incommensurabilities of everyday existence. With deft skill, he integrates biblical criticism, philosophical commentary, and theological insight, showing how the construction of narrative identity is elucidated by Ricoeur's philosophy of the intersubjective self. Innovative, invigorating, beautifully written, carefully researched, and highly recommended." -Mark Wallace, Swarthmore College "Blundell impressively weaves together three lines of inquiry while ably engaging a diverse number of interdisciplinary conversation partners. First, the book offers a convincing and appropriately limited account of the relationship between philosophy and theology that moves the conversation forward in helpful ways. Second, it adds to recent work about the debate between theological revisionists and postliberals. Finally, it provides an account of Ricoeur's thought that should be of interest to anyone who wants an intermediate level presentation of Ricoeur's philosophical hermeneutics. The three lines are put together in a textured, careful, smart, elegantly written, and theologically suggestive argument." -Review of Metaphysics "Blundell impressively weaves together three lines of inquiry while ably engaging a diverse number of interdisciplinary conversation partners. First, the book offers a convincing and appropriately limited account of the relationship between philosophy and theology that moves the conversation forward in helpful ways. Second, it adds to recent work about the debate between theological revisionists and postliberals. Finally, it provides an account of Ricoeur's thought that should be of interest to anyone who wants an intermediate level presentation of Ricoeur's philosophical hermeneutics. The three lines are put together in a textured, careful, smart, elegantly written, and theologically suggestive argument." -thefreelibrary.com "Boyd Blundell offers a helpful introduction to the structure of the philosopher's expansive, multidimensional thought which entailed significant forays into philosophy of religion, theology, psychoanalytic theory, and biblical studies. Ricoeur's favorite dictum was: 'to explain more is to understand better' and Blundell endeavors to embody this." -The Heythrop Journalshow more

About Boyd Blundell

Boyd Blundell is Assistant Professor of Ethics in the Department of Religious Studies at Loyola University New Orleans.show more

Table of contents

Preface and AcknowledgmentsAbbreviationsIntroductionPart 1. The Main Road 1. Fundamental Loyalties 2. Theology, Hermeneutics, and Ricoeur's Double LifePart 2. Detour 3. Prefiguration: The Critical Arc and Descriptive Identity 4. Configuration: The Narrative Arc and Narrative Identity 5. Refiguration: Ricoeur's "Little Ethics"Part 3. Return 6. Chalcedonian Hermeneutics 7. Theological Anthropology: Removing BracketsConclusionNotesWorks CitedIndexshow more

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