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A Reading of Ephesians in the Light of the Hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur

Kerridge, Benjamin (2015) A Reading of Ephesians in the Light of the Hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur. MPhil thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

This thesis applies the hermeneutics of Paul Ricoeur to the Epistle to the Ephesians with the aim of investigating how the reader might live her life in response to the text. Ricoeur’s concept of narrative identity is used as a theoretical framework for exploring the existential appropriation of the text by the reader. The first half of the thesis is an introduction to, and critical engagement with, the basic principles of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics: the autonomy of the text, the relationship between biblical texts and history, and the referential quality of metaphor and narrative. In the second half of the thesis these principles are applied to Ephesians. Paul’s identity as the one who testifies to the revelation, and his status as a paradigm of a life lived out in response to the narrative of the text, is explored. Then the focus shifts to the reader, and her appropriation of the life of Christ. Ricoeur’s summary of the Christian life, as an interchange of death and childhood, is tested against the metaphors of spiritual death and childhood in the text to discover whether the Epistle can sustain Ricoeur’s reading. Both a Freudian and a feminist hermeneutic of suspicion are employed to test the status of the Father in relation to the reader as she takes on the sonship of Christ. Finally the ethical implications of the new narrative identity of the reader are explored, using the narrative ethics set out in Oneself as Another as a prism for reading the ethics of Ephesians, with special attention to the problematic passages on slavery and patriarchal marriage. The conclusion reflects upon the ultimate aim of Ricoeur’s hermeneutical strategy: to reach a second naiveté where, beyond the practice of criticism, the text calls the reader.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Biblical Studies (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
Depositing User: The Revd Benjamin Kerridge
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2016 15:51
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2016 15:51
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12469

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