Paul ricoeur symbolism of evil

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paul ricoeur symbolism of evil

The Symbolism of Evil by Paul Ricœur

The Primary Symbols: Defilement, Sin, Guilt
Phenomenology of Confession
Recapitulation of the Symbolism of Evil in the Concept of the
Servile Will
The Symbolic Function of Myths
The Drama of Creation & the Ritual Vision of the World
The Wicked God & the Tragic Vision of Existence
The Adamic Myth & the Eschatological Vision of History
The Cycle of the Myths
The Myth of the Exiled Soul & Salvation Thru Knowledge
The Symbol Gives Rise to Thought
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Published 02.01.2019


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Paul Ricœur

The Symbolism of Evil

Thank you! One of the foremost French Protestant thinkers of today undertakes in this learned book to recover the serviceability of myth--especially Biblical myth--for the understanding of man in his human and finite situation. He does so by examining the motif of evil in man, through what he calls a ""phenomenology of confession. The first half of the book treats of Defilement, Sin and Guilt, which form the ""cycle of infection""; in doing so, it draws upon and interprets the symbolism and mythology of the Old Testament, and St. Paul's use of that resource in his attempts to interpret the Gospel. The second part of the volume analyzes more incisively the nature of the symbolic function of myths, pointing out how the ""demythologizing"" process permanently severs myth from fealistic history, but also re-establishes it with a new dimension of meaning as symbol.


Paul Ricoeur — was a distinguished French philosopher of the twentieth century, one whose work has been widely translated and discussed across the world. In addition to his academic work, his public presence as a social and political commentator, particularly in France, led to a square in Paris being named in his honor on the centenary of his birth in In the course of his long career he wrote on a broad range of issues. In addition to his many books, Ricoeur published more than essays, many of which appear in collections in English. In it he seeks to give an account of the fundamental capabilities and vulnerabilities that human beings display in the activities that make up their lives, and to show how these capabilities enable responsible human action and life together. Though the accent is always on the possibility of understanding human beings as agents responsible for their actions, Ricoeur consistently rejects any claim that the self is immediately transparent to itself or fully master of itself.

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