Ricoeur, Paul

(1913-2005)
   A French Christian philosopher, Ricoeur was principally concerned with hermeneutics. Before serving in the Second World War (during which he was captured by the Germans), he studied under Gabriel Marcel at the Sorbonne; after the war he returned to the Sorbonne, but moved in 1965 to become a professor of philosophy at the newly established university in Nanterre. He also succeeded Paul Tillich as Professor of Philosophical Theology at the University of Chicago. Ricoeur was a prolific writer, producing some 20 books and 600 essays in all. In his work Ricoeur stressed both the 'willingness to expose and to abolish idols' and the 'willingness to listen with openness to symbolic and indirect language'. He also emphasised the difference between persons and objects (while insisting that this did not provide any commitment to substance dualism), and wrote much on the nature of metaphor and narrative. Although he gave the Edinburgh Gifford lectures in 1986, Ricoeur did not apply his hermeneutical approach to many explicitly Christian themes; his 1967 work The Symbolism of Evil is his most famous foray into this area, though he also cowrote Thinking Biblically (1998) with Andre´ Lacocque.
   Further reading: Kearney 2004; Lacocque and Ricoeur 1998; Ricoeur 1967, 1977, 1981, 1991, 1996 and 2004; Thompson 1980

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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