The Drama of Ricoeur's Philosophy: A Drama of Metaphor

Dissertation, Graduate Theological Union (1987)
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Abstract

The thesis of my dissertation can be concisely stated in the following propositions. First, everything in Ricoeur's philosophy comes from and everything returns to drama. Second, everything in Ricoeur's philosophy comes from and returns to metaphor insofar as Ricoeur thematizes metaphor as a drama. Third, everything in Ricoeur's philosophy finds its focal point in what Ricoeur calls "the drama of the Cross" which is a "cosmic drama" involving the salvation of humanity. My ultimate claim--the meaning of which will need to be clarified--is that Ricoeur's philosopy is a "metaphor of drama"--a somewhat different claim than the equally valid claim that it is a "drama of metaphor"--a claim that is itself, of course, a metaphor--a "metaphore vive" to use the title of Ricoeur's book La metaphore vive --that is in need of being "unpacked" so as to bring out what Ricoeur would call its semantic potential. More specifically, I will claim that Ricoeur's philosophy is a "metaphor of drama" of the "drama" of reality whose focal point is the "drama of the Cross." ;The first two propositions can be reduced to the single proposition that the "metaphor of drama" provides a powerful hermeneutic key by which to interpret Ricoeur's overall philosophy. The third proposition can likewise be rephrased to say that everything in Ricoeur's philosophy finds its ultimate point of orientation in Jesus Christ--whom Ricoeur calls "the Poem of Christ"--who may be understood as a "metaphor of drama" in that Christ is the "metaphor" or "image" of God and the meaning of the "event" of Christ is precisely that of "the drama of the Cross." ;My reading of Ricoeur's philosophy may thus be said to be oriented by the single hermeneutic key of what I have called the "metaphor of drama"--a phrase that is highly overdetermined in that it is meant to be read itself being a living or dramatic metaphor of what Ricoeur's philosophy is like. I do not claim that my reading of Ricoeur is the only way in which Ricoeur's philosophy can be properly understood. But I do claim that my reading or interpretation of Ricoeur in terms of the "metaphor of drama" offers an exciting and an illuminating way to make sense of Ricoeur's multifaceted philosophy that has been in the making from the late 1940s to the present

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