Narrative Expresses Being: An Ontology of the Self in Community

John L. Meech

in Paul in Israel's Story

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195306941
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199785018 | DOI:

Series: AAR Academy Series

 Narrative Expresses Being: An Ontology of the Self in Community

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Narrative articulates the self, yet the self is not its narrative. Is there a discourse that is not just another narrative but that can articulate the being of the self? At the end of his hermeneutics of the self, Ricoeur constructs a multi-layered ontology of the self whose fragmented nature reflects the halting path of the itinerary. Yet after certain extraordinary encounters (like Paul’s encounter with the crucified and resurrected Christ) the community’s story may have to be retold to let the suffering other come into phrases. How does an ontology of the self fare in such encounters? This chapter argues that an ontology of the self is the correlate of a conversation in a community. The real that resists being interpreted otherwise can only be articulated properly when one considers simultaneously the self, the other and the community in which they meet — a community that, correlatively, only appears where self and other meet. Such an ontology of the self in community could be superseded, but only at the expense of a profound challenge to the community’s self-understanding.

Keywords: alterity; hermeneutics; ontology; otherness; phenomenology; Paul Ricoeur; transcendental

Chapter.  13044 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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