Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The theory and methodology of interpretation, especially of scriptural text.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The art or science of interpretation or exegesis; also, the study of or instruction in the principles of exegesis: as, a professor of hermeneutics.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The science of interpretation and explanation; exegesis; esp., that branch of theology which defines the laws whereby the meaning of the Scriptures is to be ascertained.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The study or theory of the methodical interpretation of text, especially holy texts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the branch of theology that deals with principles of exegesis

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Ancient Greek ἐρμηνεύς (ermeneus, "translator, interpreter"), from ἑρμηνεύω (ermeneuo, "translate, interpret"), from unknown origin. The term was introduced c.360 BC by Aristotle in his text Περὶ Ἑρμηνείας ("On Interpretation"). It is often suggested that the Greek word root is etymologically related to the name of the Greek mythological deity Hermes, but cognate to a corrupted composite borrowing from Hebrew Har [ha]Emet (Emes) referring to the Biblical Mount Sinai where Moses interpreted the Jewish Law (known as haEmes ("the Truth")) to the people.

Examples

  • The term hermeneutics, a Latinized version of the Greek hermeneutice, has been part of common language from the beginning of the 17th century.

    Hermeneutics

  • Possessed by madness and in hermeneutics overdrive, he will decipher this bit of the built environment.

    Dan Brown's Campidoglio

  • Possessed by madness and in hermeneutics overdrive, he will decipher this bit of the built environment.

    Archive 2007-09-01

  • This is what fancy theorists call a hermeneutics of belief.

    2010 March 15 | NIGEL BEALE NOTA BENE BOOKS

  • This is what fancy theorists call a hermeneutics of belief.

    The least worst form of Government…

  • It spends a great deal of its time fretting about interpretation, or what it prefers to call hermeneutics, as in Hermes, the most elusive of the Greek gods, the very icon of instability and movement, of zooming out of focus and into enigmatic strangeness, with riddling messages under his wing.

    BREAKFAST WITH SOCRATES

  • It spends a great deal of its time fretting about interpretation, or what it prefers to call hermeneutics, as in Hermes, the most elusive of the Greek gods, the very icon of instability and movement, of zooming out of focus and into enigmatic strangeness, with riddling messages under his wing.

    BREAKFAST WITH SOCRATES

  • One the one hand, Gadamer stalwartly defends the autonomy of the art work and, on the other, despite his resistance to any subsumption of art within philosophy, he insists nevertheless that aesthetics should be absorbed within hermeneutics, which is for the most part understood as a theoretical enterprise.

    Gadamer's Aesthetics

  • In paranoid schizophrenia, for example, patients tend to interpret what other people say with what might be called a hermeneutics of fear and suspicion, and in extreme cases, will have elaborate and fixed fantastic theories about ways in which others are aiming to harm them.

    Mental Illness

  • Meier's contribution to hermeneutics is to argue for the interdependence of hermeneutics and language, introducing a semantic holism in which linguistic obscurities are detangled by reference to language itself, not by reference to extra-linguistic elements such as the intention of the author.

    Hermeneutics

Comments

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  • The word 'hermeneutics' is a term derived from the Greek word for interpreter. This is related to the name of the Greek god Hermes in his role as interpreter of messages, from the gods.

    September 17, 2008

  • Is "hermeneut" a legitimate form of this word? (as in "interpreter"?)

    Kitchsbest

    December 2, 2008