What is Hermeneutics? InterpretationJune 29, 2021
Before answering the question of what is hermeneutics, focusing on what the concept of hermeneutics means and what it means will be the first step in seeking the answer to this question. On this subject, it would be appropriate to take a look at the explanations of Gadamer, one of the important representatives of hermeneutic philosophy of our age: “Hermeneutics is the art of hermeneutics, that is, the art of reporting, informing, translating, explaining and paraphrasing.” says Gadamer.
In Late Greek hermeneuia is very clearly defined as “wise explanation” and hermeneios “explaining”, “translating”. Thus, the “art” of hermeneutics, that is, hermeneutics, became the activity of explaining what belongs to the holy expedition, especially the sacred and authoritative will, to the mortal, that is, to the listener.
Of course, this meaning of hermeneutics no longer lives in today’s epistemological consciousness. Today, whenever we speak of hermeneutics, we use this term in relation to the scientific tradition of the New Age. Indeed, the development of hermeneutics in the New Age parallels the emergence and development of the concept of modern science and modern method (Gadamer 1995: pp. 11-12).
The Origin of the Hermeneutic Concept
The ancient Greek god Hermes was regarded as the linker between earth (people) and sky (Gods) and the interpreter (hermesneuta) of the above (divine) on earth. This is where the term Hermeneutics (hermeneutics) is derived. We can say that this word called “hermeneutic” takes its source from this function of Hermes.
The word Hermeneutics is used in the sense of finding the inner (esoteric) meaning of a text, understanding the main purpose of a text and is considered as a science of interpretation.
Hermes, the messenger/messenger of the gods, delivers the messages of the gods to mortals. What he preaches, however, is by no means a straightforward transmission of the messages of the Gods; It is an explanation of divine commandments. So much so that Hermes translates them into the language of mortals in a way they can understand.
Hermeneutic activity has always been the activity of transferring/translating a context of meaning belonging to another “world” into the current world. This also applies to the essential meaning of hermeneuia as “expression/declaration of thought”. The concept of “expression” itself is a very meaningful concept, including expression, explanation and translation.
The concept of hermeneutics takes its name from the God Hermes, the messenger and interpreter of the Gods.
What is Hermeneutics?
Hermeneutics (hermeneutics) is the science of hermeneutics and involves an interest in both the content and form of what is being interpreted.
The birth of the term hermeneutics is based on the practice of interpreting scriptures. Its fundamental principle is that we can grasp the meaning of a statement only in relation to the whole discourse or worldview of which it is a part.
For example, we can only grasp explanations of monetarist economics in the context of all contemporary cultural phenomena with which it is related and beyond.
To understand the parts we have to refer to the whole, to understand the whole we have to refer to the parts (the so-called hermeneutic loop). This will require us to put ourselves in the place of the author of the text and to look at the meaning of the thing produced within its context.
Although the interpretations of the Bible aim to reach the right meaning, it is now generally accepted that there is no such self, although many philosophers believe that it is possible to approach the truth. For example, the German hermeneutic philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer is of the opinion that a common tradition makes this possible (Truth mid Method, 1960).
Relationship between Hermeneutics and Sociology
It should have been clear by now that systematic studies of interpretation largely fall within the domain of the philosophy of social science, and their impact on sociological research involves a variability. Perhaps the most important contribution of interpretive sociology has been in the problem of understanding other cultures, given the possibilities of cultural relativism.
If we embrace Winch’s position, we need to understand a culture on its own ground, with its own rules, and without imposing the framework of our culture.
Winch argued in a classic article entitled “Understanding a Primitive a Society” that we cannot make judgments about the truth or anything else about the Azande’s witchcraft beliefs. In the Azande society there are sorcerers and sorcery, in our society there are science and scientists. The two simply constitute different domains, and neither can be considered superior to the other by a transcendent standard. To us science is better, to the Azande it is witchcraft. All we can do here is just to understand.
Since every society must find a way to regulate and engage with the birth, sexual relations and death of its new members, understanding can only be possible if we share a common human condition.
According to the approaches that foresee the existence of a social structure independent of people’s own understanding of the social world, the problem of the quality of meaning is a much less important one.