Hermeneutics

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Hermeneutics /ˌhəːmɪˈnjuːtɪks/ (n.)

1. The branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.

2. In the sense envisaged by Hans Georg Gadamer, the “fusion of horizons” (Horizontverschmelzung) that occurs when interpreting a text as a result of the text and the interpreter sharing a particular historical tradition, or “horizon” expressed through the medium of language to which both text and interpreter belong, and in whose history they participate. This “belongingness” to language is the common ground between interpreter and text that makes understanding possible. As an interpreter seeks to understand a text, a common horizon emerges. This fusion of horizons does not mean the interpreter now fully understands some kind of objective meaning, but is “an event in which a world opens itself to him.” The result is a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

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