The Purpose of Hermeneutics
By ‘hermeneutics’ we mean the theory of interpretation. The word contains a reference to Hermes, the messenger of the Gods in Greek mythology. Hermes’ task was to explain to humans the decisions and plans of their Gods. Thus, he bridged the gap between the divine and the human realm. Similarly, hermeneutics is concerned with examining the relationship bewteen two realms, the realms of a text or a work of art on the one hand, and the people who wish to understand it on the other. Yet why is such an examination necessary? Do we not always understand the texts or works of art in front of us? Where is the problem which hermeneutics wishes to solve?
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