Dread Hermeneutics: Bob Marley, Paul Ricoeur and the Productive Imagination.

Black Theology 15 (2):157-175 (2017)
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This article presents Paul Ricœur’s hermeneutic of the productive imagination as a methodological tool for understanding the innovative social function of texts that in exceeding their semantic meaning, iconically augment reality. Through the reasoning of Rastafari elder Mortimo Planno’s unpublished text, Rastafarian: The Earth’s Most Strangest Man, and the religious and biblical signification from the music of his most famous postulate, Bob Marley, this article applies Paul Ricœur’s schema of the religious productive imagination to conceptualize the metaphoric transfer from text to life of verbal and iconic images of Rastafari’s hermeneutic of word, sound and power. This transformation is accomplished through what Ricœur terms the phenomenology of the iconic augmentation of reality. Understanding this semantic innovation is critical to understanding the capacity of the religious imagination to transform reality as a proclamation of hope in the midst of despair.

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