Saturday, December 17, 2011

Excerpts of The Delicious Destruction of Thomism by Paul Ricoeur

""repentance" belongs to the same thematic universe as trnsgression and merit, and it is no accident that it was precisely Judaism that laid emphasis on this concept. For "repentance" signifies that "return" to God, freely chosen, is always open to man; and the example of great and impious men who have "returned" to the Eternal attests that it is always possible for a man to "change his way." This emphasis on repentance is in conformity with the intepretation of "evil inclination" as occasion of sin and not as radical evil. The ethical universe of Pharisaism is already that of Pelagius: no great contrasts, as in Paul, Augustine, and Luther, between radical evil and radical deliverance, but a slow and progressive process of salvation, in which "pardon" is not lacking to "repentance," grace to the good will." - Paul Ricoeur "The Symbolism of Evil" (131)

"justice, although it is extrinsic to a man as far as its origin is concerned, has become something that dwells within him, as far as its operation is concerned; the "future" justice is already imputed to the man who believes; and so the man who is "declared" just is "made" just, really and vitally. Thus there is no ground for opposing the forensic and eschatological sense of justice to its immanent and present sense: for Paul the first is the cause of the second, but the second is the full manifestation of the first; the paradox is that the acme of outwardness is the acme of inwardness, of that inwardness that Paul calls new creature, or liberty. Liberty, considered from the point of view of last things, is not the power of hesitating and choosing between contraries, nor is it effort, good will, responsibility. For St. Paul, as for Hegel, it is being at home with oneself, in the whole, in the recapitulation of Christ." - Paul Ricoeur "The Symbolism of Evil" (148)

"Such is the symbol in the light of which the final experience of fault is perceived as something in the past that one has got beyond. It is because "justification" is the present which dominates the backward look on sin, that the supreme sin consists, in the last resort, in the vain attempt to justify oneself... Justification by faith, then, is what makes manifest the failure of justification by the law, and the failure of the justice of works is what reveals the unity of the entire domain of sin." - Paul Ricoeur "The Symbolism of Evil" (148)

"evil is not nothing; it is not a simple lack, a simple absence of order; it is the power of darkness; it is posited; in this sense it is something to be "taken way": "I am the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world," says the interior Master. Hence, every reduction of evil to a simple lack of being remains outside the symbolism of defilement, which is complete only when defilement has become guilt." - Paul Ricoeur "The Symbolism of Evil" (155)

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