This thesis uses two main shafts, “surplus of meaning” and “intertextuality”, to research on Paul Ricoeur’s study of hermeneutics. The “surplus of meaning” is a central concept of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics, consisting of the mediating and dialectical hermeneutical approach, and the ultimate concern about equivocality language such as symbol, metaphor and narrative. As such, it implies that meaning is not solely objective, but related to “the self”. In this thesis, the writer investigated Ricoeur’s history of life to suggest that Ricoeur’s concept of “surplus of meaning” relates to his life experience. During his difficult circumstances, Ricoeur experienced life with hope. To put it differently, “the possibility of human being” might evoke his concept of “surplus of meaning”.
To oblige with the research, the writer differentiated intertextuality as the method of interpretation from it as the concept of interpretation to analyze Ricoeur’s concept of “nature of Scripture” and the method to interpret the Bible. Moreover, the writer carefully studied Ricoeur’s early interpretation on the Old Testament to understand the evil in his “The symbolism of Evil” and also his later thoughts on the nature of Scripture in his article, ‘The Self in the Mirror of the Scriptures’, to reconstruct the Paul Ricoeur’s comprehension of nature of Scripture. Ricoeur used “polyphony” to describe the nature of Scripture as Julia Kristeva who used polyphony to develop the concept of intertextuality. Besides, in the article of ‘The Bible and the Imagination’, Ricoeur makes use of intertextuality as a method of interpretation to understand “the parable of the sower” and “the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen”. His unique method of intertextuality is based on his metaphor theory. By “metaphorization”, these two parables are connective with the main narrative in the Gospel of Mark, and thus resulted in a new reference that is “surplus of meaning”.
Through the description of Ricoeur’s hermeneutics and biblical interpretation, the author further explored Ricoeur’s concept of revelation and biblical views from the perspective of systematic theology, and then reflect on propositional truth which contemporary evangelicalism strongly advocated. For Ricoeur, revelation is neither objective nor frozen, but a dynamic process of interpretation which cannot be departed from its historical community. Furthermore, the nature of Scripture is not a propositional truth, but the nature that full of equivocal languages such as symbol, metaphor and narrative, which can reflect on the existence of human being and their experiences in order to assist readers to encounter the divinity through the above mediators in the Bible. In the end, through John Calvin’s advocate of knowing God is closely correlated with knowing ourselves, and Paul Ricoeur’s emphasis on the view of self-understanding in biblical interpretation, the writer proposed that reading Scripture is a way that people can know God and also understand themselves.