From the Problem of "Evil" to Interpretation. "Hermeneutic Phenomenology" As a Method for Understanding the Religious Discourse

Catalin Vasile Bobb


The purpose of this paper is to explore the concept of hermeneutic phenomenology in Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy. A major thesis of this study is that Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutic phenomenology is never freed from religious insights. If in a text like “Hermeneutics and existence”, written in 1965, one finds, for the first time, “hermeneutic phenomenology” as an elaborated concept with a specific purpose and a specific area of problems to be solved, ten years later, in “Phenomenology and Hermeneutics” (1975), the aim, the problems and even the method change. This study will argue that hermeneutic phenomenology is deeply rooted into the problem of evil. In other words, hermeneutic phenomenology emerges in the early works of Ricoeur as a “tool” for the perpetual problem of evil, even if, later, hermeneutic phenomenology loses its binds with the problem it emerged from and it becomes a landmark for Ricoeurian thought. Moreover, the paper also argues that Ricoeur develops “hermeneutic phenomenology” in order to find a philosophical method for approaching the religious discourse.  


Religious Discourse, Evil, Self, Ontology, Interpretation, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Paul Ricoeur

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