Original Research - Special Collection: Hervormde Teoloë in Gesprek

Ricoeur on time: From Husserl to Augustine

Gert J. Malan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 73, No 1 | a4499 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v73i1.4499 | © 2017 Gert J. Malan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 January 2017 | Published: 28 April 2017

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Gert J. Malan, Department of New Testament Studies, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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The development in Ricoeur’s concept of time did not receive as much attention as his move from eidetic to hermeneutic phenomenology and his  Time and Narrative, with which it coincided. This paper attends to the lacuna, specifically departing from Ricoeur’s Husserlian eidetics and moving towards the influence of Augustine’s discussion of the main aporias of time. Initially, Paul Ricoeur’s philosophic approach can be described as a Husserlian eidetic phenomenology, which influenced the way in which he understood time. This changed somewhat when Ricoeur moved from eidetic to hermeneutic phenomenology. Ricoeur has developed his understanding of the concept of time since his initial writings up to the end of his academic career of 70 years. This article focusses on Ricoeur’s initial eidetic approach in Freedom and Nature and, in more existential terms, in Fallible man, but also focusses on the initial phase of his turn to hermeneutics in Volume 1 of Time and Narrative with his exposition of Augustine’s views on time. His eidetic approach stems from his appreciation for and extension of the work of Husserl, Marcel and Kant, while he also drew much from Heidegger and Gadamer after his hermeneutic turn. His initial arguments on the hermeneutic phenomenology of time flow from Augustine’s discussions of the aporias of time. The later extension of his understanding of time to include emplotment was a logical next step.


Ricoeur; time; Husserl; Augustine; phenomenology of time; hermeneutics and time; time and perception; aporias of time; transcendental imagination; being of time; nonbeing of time; measurement of time; intentio; distentio; eternity; narrative time


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