The following is Doug’s Dissertation submitted to and accepted by The Divinity School of The University of Chicago in 1983. The doctoral adviser was Prof. Paul Ricoeur, and the readers were Profs. David Tracy and Langdon Gilkey.
If one’s intellectual life is an odyssey, it would be a shock to look back over thirty-plus years at this dissertation to find myself entirely in agreement with everything in it. I am by no means shocked. However, back then I had the “clever” idea that one can establish a parallel between the “metaphor” that functions “at the level of the sentence” and the “symbol” that functions “at the level of the narrative.” I have since followed Langdon Gilkey’s wise advice to read Ernst Cassirer’s corpus, especially his Philosophie der symbolischen Formen, to learn that I was addressing only a segment of symbols, that is, religious symbols. In most circumstances, I would be now more comfortable were the reader to substitute “religious symbol” wherever “symbol” occurs. I was unable to find a publisher for this early work (I couldn’t even get a publisher to send it out to readers) so that I am posting it here. Although I have some reservations, I am arrogant enough to believe that there are elements here that justify its being accessible on-line.
On the Soteriological Sitnificance of the Symbol of the Kingdom of God in the Language of the Historical Jesus by Douglas R McGaughey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.