Definition of hermeneutic in English:



  • Concerning interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.

    • ‘The blinkered tendency to derive all-encompassing, universal answers has dumbed down semantic questions, eclipsed interpretative discussion and blinded scholarship to the ways in which context could cook up hermeneutic content.’
    • ‘The primacy of the practical is what links Aristotle, American pragmatism, Heidegger's hermeneutic phenomenology and environmental philosophy.’
    • ‘Gadamer's hermeneutic theory of text interpretation is called dialectical hermeneutics, which treats the interpretation of text as a dialogue or fusion of horizons between the interpreter and text.’
    • ‘Naturalistic and hermeneutic approaches see the relationship of the subject and object of inquiry as forcing the social scientist to take either the third-person or first-person perspective.’
    • ‘The middle sections include essays considering the hermeneutic significance, force, and limits of God-language.’
    • ‘For Gopin, this hermeneutic dimension of religion is crucial.’
    • ‘History is not ontologically given but is linguistically and textually constructed, and it is therefore subject to the same textual and hermeneutic uncertainties as fiction.’
    • ‘The Chinese notion of literary openness thus grew out of a disjunction between hermeneutic theory and exegetical practice.’
    • ‘But rather than modify those claims, he devotes a great deal of hermeneutic ingenuity to disguising their shortcomings, at times actively reconfiguring his sources to suit the case he defends.’
    • ‘I once called these points hermeneutic windows - partly to counter the idea of music as purely self-sufficient and self-reflective, a windowless monad - and the term seems to have had some currency.’
    • ‘For Pynchon, the hieroglyph hints at, but ultimately frustrates, hermeneutic operations, leaving the interpreter faced with a social text whose key either has been irretrievably lost or never existed in the first place.’
    • ‘These are the key areas where the Chinese and Western concerns with hermeneutic openness converge.’
    • ‘More generally, the opening lines of the poem foreground the hermeneutic processes of reading and evaluation by which meaning will be constructed.’
    • ‘Understanding as involving a fusion of horizons requires the application of what is to be understood to the interpreter's hermeneutic situation.’
    • ‘A close link between phenomenology and hermeneutics has resulted in the interchangeable use of the terms; however, philosophical beliefs differ among phenomenologists and hermeneutic philosophers.’
    • ‘Meese's stated hermeneutic principles are based in the text and in the historic record.’
    • ‘Completing this hermeneutic circle, these articles, having taken their conception of the Irish American immigrant from dialect columns and books, contribute to a further castigation of the Irish American as stereotype.’
    • ‘Consequently it considers healing as a hermeneutic process whose goal is to interpret that reality.’
    • ‘The Conjure-Man Dies, generically and esoterically, presents demanding self-referential problems for the writer and the reader of such hermeneutic texts.’
    • ‘The path that, in answer to his prayer, God had instantly shown Augustine - the path leading from the garden to that verse - could only be seen with hermeneutic eyes.’
    explaining, descriptive, describing, illustrative, illuminative, elucidative, elucidatory, explicative, evaluative, interpretive, expository, revelatory, by way of explanation
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  • A method or theory of interpretation.

    • ‘Second, I will show how Newman's foray into Monophysitism, still operating from the hermeneutic established in his work on Arianism, helped to pave the way for his conversion.’
    • ‘What the novel effects in regard to the Gothic, to parody, and to Catherine's readerly education is a hermeneutic of neither sameness nor difference, but one of ‘not unlike.’’
    • ‘His proposal seeks to move beyond the classic model of simple direct prediction while at the same time rejecting a skeptical hermeneutic that is blind to possible messianic references on the part of OT seers.’
    • ‘Their hermeneutic for interpreting Genesis 1 to fit an old Earth cannot be consistently applied to arrive at a literal Adam and a literal Fall.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, I will need to pass over much of Newman's history; for my purpose his hermeneutic is more important than his recapitulation of the Nicene controversy.’
    • ‘Let it be said, genuine Reformed interpretation has no affinity to the Barthian hermeneutic.’
    • ‘But what motivates these shifts, if not a particular hermeneutic, a particular point of view or collection of views that presents itself within the overall tradition about Manasseh and/or creation?’
    • ‘Among the many achievements of the pontificate of John Paul II, some would say the most important achievement, was to secure the hermeneutic for the interpretation of that great council.’
    • ‘Lesslie Newbigin underscores this need passionately: ‘the only hermeneutic of the gospel is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.’’
    • ‘Conversely, to give any kind of credibility to his misinterpretation because it claims to be an interpretation is to go a long way toward validating the hermeneutic which Williams employs.’
    • ‘Because they were very inconsistent, they adopted a new hermeneutic.’
    • ‘Moreover, the social experiences of African Americans have provided the matrix for both the theological conception and the biblical hermeneutic.’
    • ‘Can we continue to argue for a collectivist hermeneutic when eliciting biblical theology?’
    • ‘However insightful A. H. J. Gunneweg's thesis might be, it betrays the central difficulty of proposing a biblical hermeneutic that includes the subject matter of the Old Testament.’
    • ‘He establishes that Evangelical theology ‘lacks a unitary hermeneutic’ of Catholicism.’
    • ‘It is a hermeneutic which cannot operate in isolation from the community of reason, and this, I believe, marks an important point of departure from Calvin and the Puritan party in England.’
    • ‘Johnson is committed to a hermeneutic in which Scripture, while read critically, is given free rein to address God's people with the force that it properly bears as God's word.’
    • ‘Though we are accustomed to the idea that readers need to be governed by the right hermeneutic, in fact theory and method mean next to nothing in reading.’
    • ‘To take them seriously is to wrestle with their complexities, to bring to them both a hermeneutic of suspicion and a hermeneutic of trust.’
    • ‘Instead of finding an Aristotelean ‘middle,’ Hooker's hermeneutic stands in opposition to both the Puritan movement and the assumptions that eventually led to Western secularism.’


Late 17th century: from Greek hermēneutikos, from hermēneuein ‘interpret’.