A Ricoeurian Revision of Postliberal Homiletics Open Access

Pape, Lance (2010)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/kp78gg780?locale=en
Published

Abstract

Abstract
A Ricoeurian Revision of Postliberal Homiletics
By Lance Pape
This dissertation argues that the hermeneutical theory of Paul Ricoeur offers a more
suitable bridge than that of Hans Frei between Karl Barth's theology of the Word and a
practicable homiletic. Specifically, it argues that Ricoeur's approach can be deployed to
revise Charles Campbell's postliberal homiletic (which is based on Frei), and fund a more
adequate understanding of biblical preaching that accounts for 1) the role of poetics in
proclamation, 2) the role of context in the appropriation of biblical meaning, and 3) the
status of biblical and preached truth claims. Frei's approach to biblical narrative is
explored, followed by a discussion of Campbell's homiletical appropriation of his work.
Ricoeur's alternative approach is then developed and used to complement and revise that
project. Ricoeur's theory of metaphor, his phenomenology of reading, and his
understanding of narrative in terms of threefold mimesis provide the theoretical
framework for an account of the text-to-sermon process that takes seriously the
possibility of the Bible mediating a word to the human situation from beyond the human
situation. The preacher's hermeneutical task is cast as a "surrogate reading" of the
biblical text on behalf of the congregation. In turn, the sermon is understood as a
performed communal interpretation in which the preacher is obliged to honor three
"debts" corresponding to Ricoeur's threefold mimesis: the preacher works under a "debt
to the actual" prefigured self-understanding of the congregation (mimesis1), a "debt to the
real" presence of God to which the biblical text bears witness through the configuration
of its plot (mimesis2), and a "debt to the possible" refigured self-understanding made
available to the church through its encounter with the biblical text mediated by the
sermon (mimesis3). The dissertation demonstrates how these analytical categories can be
used to describe and critique two sermons, and concludes by indicating some other ways
Ricoeur's mimetic approach can be developed fruitfully in relation to homiletical theory.

Table of Contents

ILLUSTRATIONS ............................................................................................................. v

CHAPTER 1. THE SCANDAL OF HAVING SOMETHING TO SAY ........................... 1
The Scandal of Preaching After Christendom ................................................................ 1
The Scandal of Preaching Before Christendom.............................................................. 6
Is it Safe to Preach the Cross?......................................................................................... 9
Embracing the Scandal of Having Something to Say ................................................... 15
The "Third Thing" ........................................................................................................ 19
Task and Method........................................................................................................... 23

CHAPTER 2. HANS FREI ON HOW TO READ DURING AN ECLIPSE ................... 28
Hans Frei and The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative .......................................................... 30
The Literal Sense...................................................................................................................30
The "Great Reversal" ........................................................................................................... 37
"Realistic" Narrative............................................................................................................40
Mark 2:1-12 as a Test Case .................................................................................................. 44
The Resurrection, Truth, Facts, and History ........................................................................49
Another Wrong Turn? ........................................................................................................... 59
How to Preach During an Eclipse ................................................................................. 64
A Postliberal Homiletic.........................................................................................................64
Limited Options ..................................................................................................................... 70

CHAPTER 3. PAUL RICOEUR AND THE WORLD OF THE TEXT .......................... 78
Paul Ricoeur in Perspective .......................................................................................... 81
Ricoeur and Frei: Different Lives ......................................................................................... 82
Ricoeur and the "Long Route" through Hermeneutics ........................................................ 84
Ricoeur on Language .................................................................................................... 88
Metaphor ............................................................................................................................... 89
Poetic Reference.................................................................................................................... 97
Ricoeur on Textual Discourse..................................................................................... 106
The World of the Text..........................................................................................................107
The Reader in the World in Front of the Text .....................................................................117

CHAPTER 4. A RICOEURIAN REVISION OF POSTLIBERAL HOMILETICS ...... 124
Paul Ricoeur on Biblical Discourse ............................................................................ 124
Biblical Discourse as Poetic Discourse..............................................................................124
History, Testimony, and "Letting Go"................................................................................131
Ricoeur on Narrative................................................................................................... 138
Threefold Mimesis...............................................................................................................142
A Depiction of Threefold Mimesis: The Telling of the "Good Samaritan" Parable..........148
The Mimetic Cycle: Progressive or Vicious?......................................................................153
Ricoeur and Frei in Conversation ............................................................................... 159
Common Ground.................................................................................................................159
Reference, Truth, and Meaning...........................................................................................163
Context ................................................................................................................................173
Poetics ................................................................................................................................. 175

CHAPTER 5. PREACHING AS THREEFOLD MIMESIS ........................................... 181
Hermeneutics and Homiletics ..................................................................................... 182
Text and Preacher ...............................................................................................................182
Sermon and Congregation ..................................................................................................184
Preaching as Threefold Mimesis ................................................................................. 185
Preaching as Mimesis1 ........................................................................................................186
Preaching as Mimesis2 ........................................................................................................192
Preaching as Mimesis3 ........................................................................................................196
Threefold Mimesis in Action ...................................................................................... 200
An Analysis of "Pain Turned to Newness" .........................................................................200
An Analysis of "Lost" .........................................................................................................208
Conclusion: Toward a Mimetic Homiletic ................................................................. 214

APPENDIX..................................................................................................................... 220
Sermon Manuscript: "Pain Turned to Newness" ........................................................ 220
Sermon Manuscript: "Lost" ........................................................................................ 228

BIBLIOGRAPHY ........................................................................................................... 234

About this Dissertation

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Subfield / Discipline
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Keyword
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files