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The Symbolism of Evil

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  125 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
The Primary Symbols: Defilement, Sin, Guilt
Phenomenology of Confession
Recapitulation of the Symbolism of Evil in the Concept of the
Servile Will
The Symbolic Function of Myths
The Drama of Creation & the Ritual Vision of the World
The Wicked God & the Tragic Vision of Existence
The Adamic Myth & the Eschatological Vision of History
The Cycle of the
Paperback, 362 pages
Published November 12th 1986 by Beacon Press (Boston) (first published 1960)
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(showing 1-30 of 454)
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David M
Jun 04, 2015 David M rated it it was amazing
Ricoeur is a humble thinker, especially when compared to the megalomaniacs of twentieth century philosophy. Yet he can be just as radical as any of them. He has an astonishing ability to capture the unexpected twists and turns of thought.

I read Symbolism of Evil a few months ago. I copied down a passage which I think is worth quoting in full. I try and meditate on it on a somewhat regular basis. Please excuse this indulgence:

Guilt cannot, in fact, express itself, except in the indirect language
Erik Graff
Nov 17, 2013 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Ricoeur
Recommended to Erik by: Walter Wink
Shelves: philosophy
My stepbrother handed me a paper entitled "The Myth of Redemptive Violence" by Walter Wink yesterday. Reading it reminded me of his assignment of Ricoeur's The Symbolism of Evil during my first class with him during the first semester at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. Wink is a very clear and compelling writer. Ricoeur, in translation at least, is not.
Jan 03, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing
I read "The Symbolism of Evil" in a seminar class in college. This is not light reading and I found it frustrating at times to decipher; however, when I took the time to read each line carefully and write my own translation in a simplified way, I was usually on track. The ideas can be disheartening because it does question some of our more delicate and possibly naive truths. Half of the students in my class dropped the class before the end for various reasons, and this was an honors college cour ...more
Oct 10, 2008 Mark rated it liked it
I would like to read this book again. Ricoeur is just too deep and profound.I would like to read Ricoeur seriously at some other time.
John Hawkins
Apr 08, 2016 John Hawkins rated it really liked it
I read this in college in January 1976. The first part has stuck with me. The difference between signs and symbols have helped me in many areas of life.
Sep 26, 2007 Carl marked it as to-read
Shelves: philosophy
I want to get to this one day. I've previously read an article by Ricoeur on the subject of evil which I liked (and just bought a hard copy version of it-- though you can find it on JSTOR I believe, under the title of Evil: A Challenge to Philosophy and Theology, if you have access to JSTOR)
Aug 08, 2008 Masha rated it really liked it
A really intersting scholarly discussion of the way that evil exists in contemporary western culture that begins with pre-biblical texts. Kind of dense, but really fascinating.
Michael Mayor
Aug 31, 2013 Michael Mayor rated it it was amazing
Seminal work on language, metaphor, and symbol. Essential to my development as a theological thinker and preacher.
Nov 01, 2008 Deb rated it really liked it
Dense, but fascinating for its content and for Ricoeur's (early) method of reading Scripture.
Mar 14, 2007 Alex rated it it was ok
hermeutics/phenomenologistics are hard. intriguing in many places, however.
Aug 02, 2008 Gabriel rated it really liked it
If I remember correctly this book gets medieval on your ass.
Jul 28, 2010 Joe rated it liked it
i am rereading it
Nov 21, 2009 Jonathan added it
Shelves: philosophy
Oct 08, 2013 Gina rated it really liked it
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Paul Ricoeur (1913–2005) is widely recognized as one of the most distinguished philosophers of the twentieth century. In the course of his long career he wrote on a broad range of issues. His books include a multi-volume project on the philosophy of the will: Freedom and Nature: The Voluntary and the Involuntary (1950, Eng. tr. 1966), Fallible Man (1960, Eng. tr. 1967), and The Symbolism of Evil ( ...more
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