Echoes on the Road
“What seems to me to be constitutive of the religious is, therefore, the fact of crediting a word, in accordance with a certain code and within the limits of a certain canon. I would willingly propose, in order to develop this point, the idea of a series of hermeneutical ‘circles’: I know this word because it is written, this writing because it is received and read; and this reading is accepted by a community, which, as a result, accepts to be deciphered by its founding texts; and it is this community that reads them. So, in a certain manner, to be a religious subject is to agree to enter or to have already entered into this vast circuit involving a founding word, mediating texts, and traditions of interpretation; I say traditions, because I have always been convinced that there was a multitude of interpretations within the Judeo-Christian domain, and so a certain pluralism, a certain competition between traditions of reception and of interpretation.
If pushed, I would agree to say that a religion is like a language into which one is either born or has been transferred by exile or hospitality; in any event, one feels at home there, which implies a recognition that there are other languages spoken by other people.”
– Paul Ricoeur, Critique and Conviction