Reading the Lamps and Oil: Paul Ricoeur's Hermeneutic Arc and the Parable of the Ten Virgins


Paul Ricoeur
hermeneutic arc
Parable of the Ten Virgins
dialectic of suspicion and restoration
existential themes
ethical meanings
literary research method
cultural biases
universal virtues
narrative identity

How to Cite

Arcilla Jr., F. E. (2023). Reading the Lamps and Oil: Paul Ricoeur’s Hermeneutic Arc and the Parable of the Ten Virgins. AIDE Interdisciplinary Research Journal, 7(1), 78–91.


This study sought to apply Paul Ricoeur's hermeneutic arc to a profound analysis of the Parable of the Ten Virgins, aiming to reveal deeper layers of existential and ethical meanings often overlooked in traditional interpretations. The primary objective was to understand how Ricoeur’s theories on symbolism, metaphor, and the dialectic of suspicion and restoration could elucidate the parable’s complexities. The study employed a literary research method, analyzing the primary text, reviewing scholarly literature, and considering historical context. The analysis revealed that Ricoeur's hermeneutic arc provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the symbols and themes of the parable, such as preparedness, inner virtue, and existential purpose. It also exposed cultural and historical biases while restoring the parable’s universal virtues of preparation, the finite nature of opportunities, and community values. The study concluded that Ricoeur's theories offer a multidimensional tool for understanding this parable and potentially other philosophical and religious texts. Future research was recommended to extend this hermeneutic approach to other parables and religious texts to examine how Ricoeur's theories can provide a broader, more nuanced understanding of complex narratives.


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