This thesis is motivated by my own reading of the story of the rich young man in Mark’s Gospel. My philosophical framework is grounded in Ricoeur’s hermeneutic philosophy. My philosophical contribution lies in justifying the unique value of fictional narrative in producing an intensified, intelligible, emotionally participatory referential world of human action and emotion. My theological reflection follows Ricoeur’s philosophical proposal of a “hermeneutic of self” in the setting of biblical faith. By partnering with Ricoeur, I argue that the figure of the rich young man can serve as a useful hermeneutical key for a contemporary reader. If treated seriously with readerly empathy and patience, this figure may open up a nuanced and complex Gospel world in which profound truth claims about God may be unfolded for the reader in front of the text. His experience can be interpreted as an experience of hesitation. Hesitation is a moment in which a new selfhood is being sought as a plausible yet also doubtable possibility. I argue that this figure helps us to contemplate the recurring themes of our everyday hesitations and indecisions as believers. This story also calls for my social responsibility to take care of others in my process of self-transformation. The rich young man is a leitmotif of the search for self-understanding that each person embarks upon in their own Christian journey.
|School:||Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 81/6(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Philosophy of religion, Theology, Philosophy, Biblical studies|
|Keywords:||Hermeneutics, Hesitation, Paul Ricoeur, Selfhood, Self-understanding, World in Front of the Text|
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