Generous to a Fault: A Deep, Recapitulative Pattern of Thought in Ricoeur’s Works

Joél Z. Schmidt


Paul Ricoeur clearly sought to differentiate between and keep separate his philosophical and theological intellectual endeavors. This essay brings into relief a deep, implicit, recapitulative pattern in Ricoeur’s thinking that cuts across this explicit “conceptual asceticism.” Specifically, it highlights this recapitulative pattern in Ricoeur’s treatment of prophecy in the Hebrew Bible; his understanding of utopia and ideology; the functioning of symbols in The Symbolism of Evil and of sublimation in Freud and Philosophy. On these topics Ricoeur extended his typical generosity toward all that might appear to be outdated, primitive, and even regressive in our collective and personal humanity. The frequently recapitulative nature of Ricoeur’s insights indicates the importance not just of the content of his thought but also the way in which he did his thinking, a pattern which above all was generous, even to a fault.



Paul Ricoeur, Methodology, Theology, Philosophy

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2012 Joél Z. Schmidt

License URL:

This journal is published by the University Library System, University of Pittsburgh as part of its D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program and is cosponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Press.

ISSN 2156-7808 (online)