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Imagination, Hope, and Reconciliation in Ricoeur and Moltmann

Julie Clawson


This article explores how Paul Ricoeur’s interpretation theory of a hermeneutic of imagination makes possible the healing and reconciling modes of being in the world that Jürgen Moltmann’s theology of hope proposes.  It describes how Moltmann’s theology calls the Christian to embrace the kingdom of God neither as “opium from beyond” nor as a “utopia of the status quo.” Instead, he argues that Christians are to anticipate the coming kingdom by meeting it in the present through healing and hopeful acts of discipleship in community with Christ. The article then argues that applying Ricoeur’s interpretive theory to this “already but not yet” position of healing hope can help the Christian navigate its dialogical tensions. It describes Ricoeur’s theory that it is through a hermeneutic of imagination which struggles with the constant extremes of ideology and utopia that the community can interact with and interpret the event of the incarnation. It concludes that this imaginative act of ever interpreting the ongoing event of the Word being made flesh allows one to embrace the eschatological hope of the kingdom of God that offers reconciliation and healing.

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