Ricoeur is a philosopher/theologian who has had a great impact on the field, most especially, of philosophical hermeneutics. Unlike Gadamer, he emphasizes that we can indeed talk about methods of interpretation, but he is post-critical enough to admit that all interpretations are limited, never complete or final.
One of the interesting ideas he explores in Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning (1976) is that a text, like a conversation between two persons, has a life of its own. Thus, the point of interpretation is not to get back to what the author meant (a al Schleiermacher and Dilthey), but to discover what the text means now. Here’s a quote from the end of the book:
“What indeed is to be understood — and consequently appropriated — in a text?“Not the intention of the author, which is supposed to be hidden behind the text; not the historical situation common to the author and his original readers; not the expectations or feelings of these original readers; not even their understanding of themselves as cultural and historical phenomena. What has to be appropriated is the meaning of the text itself, conceived in a dynamic way as the direction of thought opened up by the text“(92, my italics).
So much for all of that historical-critical crap you learned in seminary, or the psychological reconstructions of Paul that you’ve read.
Later he writes that every text provides an “arrow” that points forward, and the reader’s job is to follow that arrow into new meanings.