theory and methodology of text interpretation
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Hermeneutics is the theory of text interpretation, especially the interpretation of biblical texts, wisdom literature, and philosophical texts.

Hermes, messenger of the gods.

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  • The hermeneutic consciousness, which must be awakened and kept awake, recognized that in the age of science philosophy's claim of superiority has something chimerical and unreal about it. But though the will of man is more than ever intensifying its criticism of what has gone before to the point of becoming utopian or eschatological consciousness, the hermeneutic consciousness seeks to confront that will with something of the truth of remembrance: with what is still and ever again real.
  • I do not recommend any legislative action against hermeneutics. I am a liberal person opposed to all unnecessary state limitation of individual liberties. Hermeneutics between consenting adults should not, in my view, be the object of any statutory restrictions. I know, only too well, what it would entail. Hermeneutic speakeasies would spring up all over the place, smuggled Thick Descriptions would be brought in by the lorry-load from Canada by the Mafia, blood and thick meaning would clot in the gutter as rival gangs of semiotic bootleggers slugged it out in a series of bloody shoot-outs and ambushes. Addicts would be subject to blackmail. Consumption of deep meanings and its attendant psychic consequences would in no way diminsh, but the criminal world would benefit, and the whole fabric of civil society would be put under severe strain. Never!

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  • Dasein must be hermeneutical, that is, aware of its own historical formation and indefatigably attentive to the problem of interpretation. Implied in such an awareness of its own interpretive origins is a “destruction” or dismantling of the transmitted conceptual apparatus, a clearing of the congested arteries of a philosophical tradition that has all the answers but no longer experiences the questions—especially the question of its own provenance and purpose.

L edit

  • If we can recover the naturalistic ambitions of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, … philosophy becomes relevant because the world—riven as it is with hypocrisy and concealment—desperately needs a hermeneutics of suspicion to unmask it. And by taking these three seminal figures of the Continental traditions as philosophical naturalists we show their work to be continuous with the naturalistic turn that has swept Anglophone philosophy over the past several decades. … The antipathy to naturalism often thought to be constitutive of “the Continental tradition” is simply an artifact of cutting the joints of that tradition in certain places.
    • Brian Leiter "The Hermeneutics of Suspicion: Recovering Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud" in: The Future for Philosophy, ed. Leiter (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004), pp. 74-105 (Full text online).

P edit

  • Hermeneutics, defined as the study of the understanding of the works of man, transcends linguistic forms of interpretation. Its principles apply not only to works in written form but to any work of art. Since this is so, hermeneutics is fundamental to all the humanities – all those disciplines occupied with the interpretation of the works of man.
  • Those who devote themselves to the study of Sacred Scripture should always remember that the various hermeneutical approaches have their own philosophical underpinnings, which need to be carefully evaluated before they are applied to the sacred texts.”

R edit

  • The term hermeneutics, a Latinized version of the Greek hermeneutice, has been part of common language from the beginning of the 17th century.
    • Ramberg, Bjørn and Gjesdal, Kristin, " Hermeneutics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed).
  • The term hermeneutics covers both the first order art and the second order theory of understanding and interpretation of linguistic and non-linguistic expressions.
    • Ramberg, Bjørn and Gjesdal, Kristin, " Hermeneutics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2013 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed).
  • When you come to a good book, you must ask yourself, “Am I inclined to work as an Australian miner would? Are my pickaxes and shovels in good order, and am I in good trim myself, my sleeves well up to the elbow, and my breath good, and my temper?” And, keeping the figure a little longer, even at cost of tiresomeness, for it is a thoroughly useful one, the metal you are in search of being the author’s mind or meaning, his words are as the rock which you have to crush and smelt in order to get at it. And your pickaxes are your own care, wit, and learning; your smelting furnace is your own thoughtful soul. Do not hope to get at any good author’s meaning without those tools and that fire; often you will need sharpest, finest chiselling, and patientest fusing, before you can gather one grain of the metal.

S edit

  • Ideology critique raises a claim that it shares with hermeneutics, namely, the claim to understand an “author” better than he understands himself. What at first sounds arrogant about this claim can be methodologically justified. Others often really do perceive things about me that escape my attention—and conversely. They possess the advantage of distance, which I can profit from only retrospectively through dialogic mirroring. This, of course, would presuppose a functioning dialogue, which is precisely what does not take place in the process of ideology critique.
    An ideology critique that does not clearly accept its identity as satire can, however, easily be transformed from an instrument in the search for truth into one of dogmatism. All too often, it interferes with the capacity for dialogue instead of opening up new paths for it.
    • Peter Sloterdijk, Kritik der zynischen Vernunft [Critique of Cynical Reason] (1983) p. 19.
  • Talk can neither be verified nor falsified in any rigorous sense. This is an open secret which hermeneutics and aesthetics, from Aristotle to Croce, have laboured to exorcise or to conceal from themselves and their clients. This ontological, which is to say both primordial and essential axiom (or platitude) of ineradicable undecidability needs, none the less, to be closely argued.
  • In place of hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.

T edit

  • That concept of hermeneutics is quite different from that traditionally assigned to the word. Normally it is defined as the science of interpretation

V edit

  • There does seem to be among some members of our profession a rather desperate search for a "fundamental theory of information", which leads them to attempt to derive our practice from disciplines such as epistemology, or hermeneutics, or discourse analysis, or semiotics, or even "cybersemiotics". Their derivations rarely make adequate contact with the realities of information practice … The theory of a science should spring from deep immersion in its practice.

W edit

  • Hermeneutics is defined as the study of the methodological principles of interpretation.
    • Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary quoted by Robert L. Thomas, in “ Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old”, p. 82.

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