Ricœur’s Historical Intentionality and the Great Goddess Freyja
Some Problems in the Phenomenology of Religion and Interpretations in the Study of Religions
Keywords:Historicity, Interpretation, Understanding, Context, Ricœur, Hermeneutic phenomenology
The main question in this article concerns whether hermeneutic phenomenology as a methodology can address some of the problems and critiques raised in the study of religions. Inspired by Gilhus’s proposal in her article ‘The Phenomenology of Religion and Theories of Interpretation’, I investigate the possibilities in this strand of thought concerning interpretation and explanation from the perspective of Ricœur’s hermeneutic phenomenology and language theory, taking Norse mythology and the goddess Freyja as examples of how this method might work. I argue that Ricœur’s contribution to hermeneutic phenomenology is important to methodology in the study of religions, and that the historicity of the interpretation of religious phenomena is based on a lifeworldly intentionality. I also analyse the depth of understanding, the formation of ideas, and meaning in its historical context at the level of the historian’s process of interpretation, and I argue that the method may constitute a theoretical basis for an objective science.
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