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This paper employs Ricoeur’s hermeneutic approach to examine how fundamentalist religious communities shape personal and social identity. His biblical hermeneutics is used to analyze how narrative texts of various genres open a ‘fundamentalist’ world, while also challenging his monolithic emphasis on written texts. I argue that a wider variety of texts as well as rituals and other media must be examined, which all inform and display the fundamentalist world in important ways. Second, I employ his analysis of the formation of identity and action to understand how identity is framed and prescribed by fundamentalist communities for their members. Finally, I draw on Ricoeur’s account of symbolism and move from first to second naïveté to provide an account of how fundamentalist communities respond to modernity and the threat of Enlightenment rationality. I argue that, contra what Ricoeur proposes, earlier mythic language was highly polyphonic and not understood literally. Fundamentalist communities move to more literalist understandings in response to modernity. Thus, while Ricoeur’s hermeneutic approach is richly useful for a philosophical approach to religious fundamentalism, the close examination of this phenomenon enables a broadening of Ricoeur’s work on religion, symbolism and identity.
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2016.1242642
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Oneself as Another.Paul RICOEUR - 1992 - University of Chicago Press.

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Problems of Religious Luck: Assessing the Limits of Reasonable Religious Disagreement.Guy Axtell - 2019 - Lanham, MD, USA & London, UK: Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield.

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