Reading Religious Ritual with Ricoeur: Between Fragility and Hope creates a dialogue between Ricœur’s hermeneutic philosophy and the interpretation of human ritual practices, especially as such practices are manifested within the context of Christian liturgy. In the first part of the book, Christina M. Gschwandtner shows that Ricœur’s account of religion would be deepened if it were to take into account not only the biblical texts but also forms of liturgical expression and ritual actions. She challenges Ricœur’s early reading of the symbol and second naïveté, broadens his interpretation of biblical texts and faith to consider religious actions more fully, and suggests that ritual can enhance human capacities. The second part of the book employs Ricœur’s hermeneutics in order to shed light on the analysis of liturgy, demonstrating that his accounts of truth, of the world of the text, of religious language, of the imagination, and of the formation of identity are all eminently applicable to liturgical experience. Reading Religious Ritual with Ricoeur shows that one of the most significant themes in Ricœur’s work—the tension between fragility and hope—is especially helpful for understanding what liturgy does and how it functions. Seeing how liturgy and ritual configure fragility and hope also enriches Ricœur’s account of the role and function of religion in human experience.
Christina M. Gschwandtner is professor of continental philosophy of religion at Fordham University.
Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Works
Part I: Reading Ricoeur toward Ritual
Chapter 1: Symbolism, Myth, and the Move to Second Naïveté
Chapter 2: Scripture, Narrative, and the Move to Action
Chapter 3: Ethics, Justice, and the Move to Wisdom
Interlude:Liturgy and Hermeneutics
Part II: Reading Ritual with Ricoeur
Chapter 4: Liturgical Truth: Fidelity, Attestation, Manifestation
Chapter 5: Liturgical Meaning: Prefiguration, Configuration, Refiguration
Chapter 6: Liturgical Language: Symbolism, Polyphony, Dialogue
Chapter 7: Liturgical Imagination: Memory, Creativity, Tradition
Chapter 8: Liturgical Identity: Confession, Conversion, Community
Reading Religious Ritual with Ricoeur provides a thought-provoking explication of an important part of religious experience that would do well to become standard reading for scholars, philosophers, and those who partake in religious ritual.