Un Entretien Avec Paul Ricoeur. (Special Feature)

By Savage, Alan D. | Christianity and Literature, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

Un Entretien Avec Paul Ricoeur. (Special Feature)


Savage, Alan D., Christianity and Literature


Translated by Ellyn Lockerbie Grosh

(This interview was conducted at Paul Ricoeur's residence in a suburb of Paris on 20 October 2001.--Ed.)

ADS: Je voudrais commencer avec la raison pour ma venue ici et pour cette interview: c'est pour pouvoir vous presenter ce certificat de reconnaissance de la part de tous les membres de la Conference on Christianity and Literature. Donc je veux vous lire ce qui est ecrit: "Conference on Christianity and Literature. Lifetime Achievement Award. Paul Ricoeur. In grateful recognition. 'A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark meanings' (Proverbs 1:5-6)." Donc je veux dire que le travail que vous avez fait sur la philosophie, sur le christianisme, sur la critique litteraire et les interrelations entre tous ces sujets, nous encourage, nous eclaircit bien des choses, nous pose des problemes et des questions, et nous defriche bien des chemins a suivre apres et avec vous. Nous voulons tout simplement vous dire combien nous en sommes reconnaissants.

Let me begin with the reason for my coming here and for this interview: namely, to present to you, on behalf of the Conference on Christianity and Literature, the Lifetime Achievement Award. I'd like to read you the inscription: "Conference on Christianity and Literature. Lifetime Achievement Award. Paul Ricoeur. In grateful recognition. `A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark meanings' (Proverbs 1:5-6)." I want to say that your work in philosophy, Christianity, and literary criticism, as well as in the ways in which these subjects interrelate, is an encouragement to us as it enlightens us, challenges us with problems and questions, and opens up many paths for us to pursue with you and after you. We want simply to express to you how grateful we are for your work.

PR: Il se trouve qu'actuellement je travaille sur le theme de la reconnaissance. Et il est etonnant qu'en francais le mot reconnaissance veuille dire deux choses, c'est avouer, marquer que l'on [reconnait], mais en meme temps il y a l'idee de gratitude et pour l'anglais il faut deux mots, "grateful recognition." Et je crois qu'il n'y a qu'en francais que le mot reconnaissance veuille dire a la fois "acknowledgment" et "gratitude" et je suis donc tres touche que ce mot francais soit deploye dans deux mots anglais.

It just so happens that I'm currently working on the theme of gratitude. Curiously, in French the word reconnaissance has two meanings: to acknowledge, to [recognize], but at the same time there's the idea of gratitude, whereas in English it takes two words to express it--"grateful recognition." And I believe it's only in French that the word reconnaissance means simultaneously "acknowledgment" and "gratitude." So I find it very interesting that this French word requires two words in English.

ADS: C'est bien, parce que je voulais justement placer cet entretien sous le signe de la reconnaissance. Puisque je suis venu vous presenter ce certificat de reconnaissance, je voudrais commencer par vous demander, a ce stade de votre vie, de votre carriere, pour quoi et pour qui etes-vous le plus reconnaissant?

That's good, because I wanted the theme of this interview to be reconnaissance. Since I've come to present you with this Lifetime Achievement Award, I'd like to begin by asking you at this stage of your life, of your career, for what and for whom are you the most grateful?

PR: Il faudrait vraiment une enumeration de mes maitres, car je suis tres tres sensible a la continuite des heritages. Sous le titre meme de cette recompense il y a a la fois la reference au monde biblique et la reference au monde grec. …

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