On 3/4/15, we were joined by our former guest Law Ware to discuss two 1973 Paul Ricouer essays on applying hermeneutics to religion: “The Critique of Religion” and “The Language of Faith.” Listen to the episode now.
“The Critique of Religion” advised religious folks that they need to take the criticisms of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud seriously. He conglomerates them all in a description of “false consciousness”: Granted that you believe what you do because it seems sensible in some sense for you, where does this “sense” come from? What are the psychological and social factors behind your accepting what you do, and are they covering things that you should be aware of, and which would likely change your beliefs if unearthed?
In “The Language of Faith,” Ricoeur outlines what is need to engage religious texts and ideas after they’ve undergone such a Critique, and the focus is on symbolic language, much as for Jaspers. If the occurrence of a literal, bodily resurrection of Christ is pretty unlikely, then how else can we take this “truth” as a calling for life without putting our critical faculties on hold?
There’s lots more to say, but given that the episode will be released in just a few days at this point, I’ll leave it there; the readings are short enough that you should read along.
The Ricoeur essays can be found in the 1978 collection The Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur: An Anthology of His Work, or you can read them online here and here.
We also refer on the episode to Rudolph Bultmann’s essay “Kerygma and Myth,” by Rudolph Bultmann, which you can read here.
On 3/15, Law will rejoin most of us to discuss Jesus’s Parables, including a commentary by Ricoeur, “Listening to the Parables of Jesus” from 1974, which is the next essay in the same collection, or you can read it here. We’ll have some additional readings for that episode, but I’ll post those later.