n HTS : Theological Studies - Reflections on Donald Capps' hermeneutical model of pastoral care

Volume 61, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



This article reflects on the hermeneutical model of Donald Capps, William Harte Felmeth Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Princeton Theological Seminary. Capps points to a similarity between pastoral actions and texts, but regrets that often there is a better understanding of texts than of pastoral actions. The article illustrates Capps' conviction that theories of pastoral care lack methodologies for understanding what makes pastoral actions meaningful. He uses hermeneutics to make a contribution to the methodology of pastoral care. The article argues that viewing pastoral actions as texts and exploring the hermeneutical insights of Paul Ricoeur, will contribute to the understanding of the meaning of pastoral actions. Such a hermeneutical model uncovers how pastoral actions can be of world disclosing value to the individuals concerned. The article concludes by demonstrating how the notion of reframing in Capps' theory of pastoral care is based on the concept of the hermeneutical arc in Paul Ricoeur's philosophy.

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