Academic journal article Christianity and Literature

Lifetime Achievement Award. (News and Announcements)

Academic journal article Christianity and Literature

Lifetime Achievement Award. (News and Announcements)

Article excerpt

What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? The work of Paul Ricoeur lets us answer in our first Paul's words, "Much in every way" (Rom. 3:2). Since its beginnings Christianity has sometimes adopted and sometimes rejected elements of the Mediterranean cultures that surrounded it. Augustine used the example of the Israelites despoiling the Egyptians of their gold (Exod. 3:22, 11:2, 12:35-36) for this work of cultural discernment. In our time no Christian thinker has carried forward this work more effectively than Paul Ricoeur. With a generosity and humility too rare in our era of monologues and monomanias, he has entered into a wholehearted dialogue with thinkers of every philosophical orientation. He could truly say with our first Patti, "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. I do it for the sake of the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:22-23). But if he shows how in all charity a Christian can be cosmopolitan, he also shows that cosmopolitanism need entail no relativism or yielding to fashion, that it can keep strict faith with the exhortation to "test everything; hold fast what is good [kalon]" (1 Thess. 5:21).

Born in 1913, Paul Ricoeur pursues with unabated vigor his calling to address as a Christian and a philosopher the challenge to faith and reason that have been posed by a century of tumult. An unbroken line stretches back from his work of the past decade on memory, on justice, and on oneself as another to his first studies of our all-too-fallible will, of evil, and of suffering. A philosopher will rightly value the breadth of his themes and intellectual engagements, the coherence and rigor of his thought, the penetration of his analyses, and the richness of his insights. …

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