A Sketch for a Ricoeurian Hermeneutics of Religious Identity

Jefferson Macariola Chua


Religious identity has, in recent times, become an important point of inquiry because of the growing awareness of religious diversity. On the one hand, this reality of diversity has served as an impetus to return to the roots of one's religion. On the other hand, others have called for a more pluralist stance, out of the need to open up to other traditions. In light of this polarity, I argue that one can commit to one's religion while opening up to the religious other in a way that does not threaten one's own tradition. This is done through a hermeneutic analysis of the religious identity, taking off from Paul Ricoeur's phenomenological hermeneutics - how this identity is formed and informed by the different significations of meaning within the tradition, and how the believer interacts with this tradition to construct his or her own narrative identity, through his or her imagination, mapping out the constellations of possible human action that root themselves in the necessity in encountering and working with the religious other, for this necessity is constitutive of one's commitment to the tradition, embodied in the biblical narratives that call for this encounter. In sum, it is possible to be committed to one?s faith conviction while being hospitable to the religious other because it is constitutive of religion itself to encounter its other, and it is in this encounter that faith is truly understood as conviction.


philosophy; religion; hermeneutics; identity studies; religious identity; Paul Ricoeur; interreligious dialogue;

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