hermeneutics, the theory and practice of interpretation. During the Reformation hermeneutics came into being as a special discipline concerned with biblical criticism. The Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher expanded the discipline from one concerned with removing obstacles preventing readers from gaining the proper understanding of a text to one concerned in addition with analyzing the necessary conditions for readers coming to any understanding of a text. The philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey expanded the discipline still further by conceiving of all of the human and social sciences as hermeneutical enterprises and trying to construct a method uniquely for them, instead of borrowing one from the natural sciences. In the 20th cent. hermeneutics has been developed by the philosophers Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur.

See D. Hoy, The Critical Circle: Literature, History, and Philosophical Hermeneutics (1978); K. Mueller-Vollmer, ed., The Hermeneutics Reader (1985).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Hermeneutic Tradition: From Ast to Ricoeur
Gayle L. Ormiston; Alan D. Schrift.
State University of New York Press, 1990
Transforming the Hermeneutic Context: From Nietzsche to Nancy
Gayle L. Ormiston; Alan D. Schrift.
State University of New York Press, 1990
Theology, Hermeneutics, and Imagination: The Crisis of Interpretation at the End of Modernity
Garrett Green.
Cambridge University Press, 2000
Gadamer's Repercussions: Reconsidering Philosophical Hermeneutics
Bruce Krajewski.
University of California Press, 2004
Re-Interpreting Hermeneutics U-Topias from the Continent
Di Cesare, Donatella.
Philosophy Today, Vol. 49, No. 4, Winter 2005
Strong Hermeneutics: Contingency and Moral Identity
Nicholas H. Smith.
Routledge, 1997
Hermeneutics and the Study of History
Wilhelm Dilthey; Rudolf A. Makkreel; Frithjof Rodi.
Princeton University Press, 1996
Religion and the Hermeneutics of Contemplation
D. Z. Phillips.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Friedrich Schleiermacher: Pioneer of Modern Theology
Friedrich Schleiermacher; Keith Clements.
Fortress Press, 1991
Hermeneutics and Human Finitude: Toward a Theory of Ethical Understanding
P. Christopher Smith.
Fordham University Press, 1991
Hegel's Hermeneutics
Paul Redding.
Cornell University Press, 1996
On What We Have in Common: The Universality of Philosophical Hermeneutics
Wright, Kathleen.
Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, Vol. 56, No. 4, Summer 2004
Hermeneutics and the Heidegger = Schumpeter Theses
Shionoya, Yuichi.
The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Vol. 69, No. 1, January 2010
Deconstructing the Bible: Abraham Ibn Ezra's Introduction to the Torah
Irene Lancaster.
RoutledgeCurzon, 2003
On the Polity of Experience: Towards a Hermeneutics of Attentiveness (1)
Davey, Nicholas.
Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature, Vol. 56, No. 4, Summer 2004
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