Truth or Meaning: Ricoeur versus Frei on Biblical Narrative

Journal of Religion 66 (2):117-140 (1986)
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Of the theologians and philosophers now writing on biblical narrative, Hans Frei and Paul Ricoeur are probably the most prominent. It is significant that their views converge on important issues. Both are uncomfortable with hermeneutic theories that convert the text into an abstract philosophical system, an ideal typological structure, or a mere occasion for existential decision. Frei and Ricoeur seem knit together in a common enterprise; they appear to be building a single narrative theology. I argue that the appearance of symmetry is an illusion. There is a fundamental conflict between the ‘pure narrativism’ of Frei and the ‘impure narrativism’ of Ricoeur. I give reasons for thinking that Ricoeur’s is the stronger position.
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