The text of the Bible projects for its readers a Biblical-textual world. Christians live within the seminal, normative contours of this symbolic Biblical world. In this regard, a Ricoeurian hermeneutics presents a helpful apparatus to the reader of the Biblical text. In his hermeneutical studies, Ricoeur organises his considerations around four poles that operate as guidelines for this study – distanciation, objectification, projecting of a world and appropriation. In this thesis each of these considerations is applied to Proverbs 10:1–15:33 to facilitate an exploration of the symbolic-textual world projected for the reader in this literature.
It is the thesis of the study that the proposed reading strategy is, in terms of the threefold movement within postmodern thought – the movements beyond foundations, beyond totalities and towards the Other – a most productive effort. When this reading strategy is utilised for Proverbs 10:1–15:33, with specific reference to the fear of the Lord, the concept of the fear of the Lord is found to have a functional definition within this collection rather than an ontological or theoretical one. With this approach, the fear of Yahweh-proverbs in Proverbs 10:1–15:33 are understood not to be dogmatised, absolute, universal truths but finds, in line with the movement beyond totalities, its authority in the context within which it is applied. Instead of communicating propositional content, which is in line with the movement beyond foundations within postmodern thought, by their power to disclose a symbolic world, it confronts the reader with the Other, in line with the movement toward the Other, and consequently opens up new modes of being, orienting the reader’s practical actions.