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While many people engage in interpretation, it is not clear what interpretation is. This critical primer examines the nature of interpretation, strategies within interpretation, and negotiations about the adequacy of an interpretation, with special attention paid to possible roles hermeneutics (the theory of interpretation) plays in the academic study of religions. This book addresses a number of fundamental questions posed throughout the history of hermeneutics: • What is an “interpretation”? • What or who determines the meaning of a text? • What helps in navigating competitions or conflicts of interpretation? • What is the place of interpretation in the academy, relative to explanatory sciences and productive arts? Many books have focused on historical developments of hermeneutics, on key modern hermeneutic philosophers, or on specific sacred texts such as in biblical or Quranic hermeneutics. The unique approach taken to interpretation here is based on the fundamental axiom of philosophical hermeneutics—the hermeneutic priority of questioning. Through this, the author makes a case for the critical value of interpretation. Each chapter of this book refines a conceptual element that combines with others into a theory of interpretation useful for the classroom and in scholarship on hermeneutics.

Published: Aug 21, 2023


Section Chapter Authors
Acknowledgements Nathan Eric Dickman
Preface Nathan Eric Dickman
What is the Meaning of a Text? Nathan Eric Dickman
Chapter 1
The Predicaments of Interpretation Nathan Eric Dickman
Chapter 2
The Initiatives of Interpretation Nathan Eric Dickman
Chapter 3
The Mediums of Interpretation Nathan Eric Dickman
Chapter 4
The Objects of Interpretation Nathan Eric Dickman
Chapter 5
The Practices of Interpretation Nathan Eric Dickman
What Lies Beyond Interpretation? Nathan Eric Dickman
End Matter
Appendix Nathan Eric Dickman
Further Reading Nathan Eric Dickman
References Nathan Eric Dickman
Index Nathan Eric Dickman