Engaging Paul Ricoeur’s work on memory, history, and forgetting : in search of an adequate methodology for church and theological historiography

Van Tonder, Helené (2010-12)

Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Life in the present is never only about the present, but notably also about the past and the future. In this study the problematic of the representation of the past is addressed in search of a responsible historical hermeneutic. It is argued that historical hermeneutics is about the past, the present and the future, and, above all, the relation that exists between them. Historical hermeneutics facilitates our understanding of the past from our position in the present and creates meaningful ways in which we may anticipate the future. In this study I aim to contribute to the development of responsible historical hermeneutic for church and theology, especially in South Africa. To do so, I engage with the magisterial work of the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, Mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli who, I believe, proposes valuable signposts for us to reckon with on our way to a responsible historical hermeneutic. A general introduction is given to theological historiography and the development thereof in South Africa, pointing towards reasons why it is important for responsible historical hermeneutics to exist. The work of Paul Ricoeur is introduced as a valuable partner to dialogue with in this respect. A brief intellectual biography is given regarding Ricoeur’s work in order to indicate where and how his last work fits into and forms a part of his life’s work. The third chapter of the study is an outline and discussion of Ricoeur’s work, Memory, History, Forgetting. The discussion follows the order of Ricoeur’s work itself, and I try to indicate the main lines in Ricoeur’s argument, yet giving credit to him for the thorough way in which he deals with the respective themes by engaging the disciplines of philosophy, history, sociology, neurosciences etc. Subsequently I propose certain themes from Ricoeur’s work that is important for the church historian and historical theologian as signposts towards an adequate historiographical methodology.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Lewe in die hede het nie net met die hede te make nie, maar op ‘n besondere manier ook met die verlede en die toekoms. In hierdie studie word die problematiek van die representasie van die verlede aangespreek in ‘n poging om verantwoordelike historiese hermeneutiek te bevorder. Die argument word gevoer dat historiese hermeneutiek te make het met die verlede, die hede, en die toekoms, en bowenal die verhouding waarin dit met mekaar staan. Historiese hermeneutiek fasiliteer ons verstaan van die verlede vanuit ons posisie in die hede en skep betekenisvolle maniere waarop die toekoms geantisipeer kan word. Die studie het ten doel om by te dra tot die ontwikkeling van verantwoordelike historiese hermeneutiek vir die kerk en vir teologie, veral in Suid-Afrika. Met hierdie doel voor oë, word die grootse werk van die Franse filosoof Paul Ricoeur, Mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli, bestudeer. Die bruikbare bakens op weg na verantwoordelike historiese hermeneutiek wat Ricoeur voorstel, word uitgewys. ‘n Algemene inleiding tot teologiese historiografie en die ontwikkeling daarvan in Suid-Afrika word gegee, en die belangrikheid van verantwoordelike historiese hermeneutiek sodoende uitgewys. Die werk van Paul Ricoeur word daarna ingelei as ‘n waardevolle bron in hierdie gesprek. ‘n Opsommende intellektuele biografie van Ricoeur se werk word gegee om aan te dui waar en hoe Ricoeur se laaste werke aansluit by sy ander werke. Die derde hoofstuk van die studie is ‘n uiteensetting en bespreking van Ricoeur se werk, Mémoire, l’histoire, l’oubli. Die bespreking volg die verloop van Ricoeur se werk self, en daar word gepoog om die belangrikste lyne van Ricoeur se argument uit te lig. Terselfdertyd word erkenning gegee aan Ricoeur vir die deeglikheid waarmee hy met ‘n wye verskeidenheid temas en dissiplines omgaan: filosofie, geskiedenis, sosiologie, neurowetenskappe, ens. Ten slotte word sekere temas van Ricoeur se werk uitgelig wat belangrik is vir die kerkgeskiedkundige en die historiese teoloog as bakens op weg na ‘n voldoende historiografiese metodologie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5442
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