It is commonplace that postmodern thought has problematized the concept of the self. This poses a particularly sharp problem for Christian theologians, for whom the idea of the person as a Christian self must be central. In this book John Meech addresses this problem by means of a theological hermeneutics that brings together cutting edge scholarship in biblical interpretation and constructive theology. The book comprises three major parts. In the first, Meech reflects on St. Pauls construal of Christian identity in light of what has become known as the new paradigm in Pauline studies. This movement, identified with N.T. Wright, James Dunn, and Terence Donaldson, stresses the communal aspects of Pauls thought and his narrative understanding of the self. In the second part, Meech offers a pivotal analysis of Rudolf Bultmanns phenomenology of the self and its impact on his demythologizing interpretation of Pauls writings. In the third part, Meech engages Paul Ricoeurs late work, Oneself as Another, as a guide to the postmodern problem of selfhood and as a heuristic resource for interpreting Pauls writings. He does not restrict himself to a textual treatment of Ricoeurs work on selfhood and narrative, nor does he stop at an abstract reflection on its significance for theology. Instead he explores in considerable detail the contributions and implications of Ricoeurs later writings for biblical hermeneutics and theology. Investigating the unthematized hints about community presupposed in Ricoeurs work, Meech reconfigures his ontology of the self as an ontology of the self in community. Finally, he correlates Pauls communal understanding of the I with this ontology, articulating a self that is constituted in community but not reduced to a mere locus of community. He argues that the community posited in his study can be understood as the community of the living and dead in Christ.
- Publication Date:
- 17 / 07 / 2006