Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index


Hermeneutics (Hermeneutic means interpretive) is a particular approach to the study of texts. It is considered by some as the science of interpretation and termination. The word derives from the greek god, Hermes.

Advocates of this approach claim that such texts, and the people who produce them, cannot be studied using the same methodss as the natural sciences. Moreover, they claim that such texts are conventionalized expressions of the experience of the author; thus, the interpretation of such texts will reveal something about the social context in which they were formed, but, more significantly, provide the reader with a means to share the experiences of the author. Among the key advocates of this approach are Wilhelm Dilthey, a historian and philosopher; the sociologist Max Weber; the philosopher Martin Heidegger; and the philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer. Although Jurgen Habermas attacked the principles of hermeneutics and advocated critical theory as an alternative, Paul Ricoeur has attempted to reconcile and synthesize these two opposing traditions.

A hermeneutic approach might look beyond the clear text written on the page; a hermeneutic approach might look into why the author was driven to write the text on the page. Heidegger, for example, took a hermeneutic approach to metaphysics in bypassing the text of metaphysical treatises to explain why people wrote them. That is, people were driven to answer metaphysical questions like "what is being?" because they forgot their origins as part of nature.

Biblical Hermeneutics deals with various principles related to the study of the Word of God. These include:

Related Topics

External Links