lunes, 13 de mayo de 2013

Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts

Transcribo aquí unas notas que tomé otrora (otro siglo, otra persona) sobre una colección de escritos de F. D. E. Schleiermacher editados por Heinz Kimmerle, con traducción de James Duke y Jack Forstman, bajo el curioso título de Hermeneutics: The Handwritten Manuscripts. (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986).


Friedrich Schleiermacher 

The Handwritten Manuscripts

Ed. Heinz Kimmerle (1977).

Trans. James Duke and Jack Forstman. Atlanta (GA): Scholars Press, 1986.

Translators' Introduction (1-18).

James Duke: "Schleiermacher: On Hermeneutics" (1-15)

The Art of Understanding

2- Schleiermacher constructs his theory in debate with Enlightenment hermeneutics on the Classics and Biblical exegesis—which are unsystematic and fail to do justice to the phenomenon of understanding.

3- They take understanding as a matter of course; Schleiermacher warns against the equal possibility of misunderstanding. He analyzes understanding in ordinary conversation: based on a shared language (universal) plus a personal message (a particular element); they interact and complement themselves. "The established linguistic system 'allows' one to speak, and by the same token it channels and otherwise conditions one's pattern of thought".

4- "Yet the message one thinks and articulates is one's own. It varies from one's own experience, one's perspective on the world and one's special designs". Three phases: general hermeneutics, grammatical interpreatation, and psychological interpretation.

5- "In effect the interpreter is to trace the stages in the composition of the work, from its original inception to its completion." —To see the author's idea and his decision to comunicate. But there is an interplay of grammar and psychology. A dynamic process— and also an interplay, a dialectical movement, between the comparative and divinatory methods. (The author or text are compared with similar authors or texts).  "The interpreter needs some talent for 'feeling' or 'divining' how language as a living, organic power has affected the fabric of thought and the mode of presentation", and must have an insight into the author's personality. The metaphor of the hermeneutic circle: "The logically vexing proposition that the whole is understood from its parts and the parts from the whole".

6- Part/whole relationship in word vs. sentence, and in text vs. language; in a given statement vs. the personality  development or life of the author. This circular "motion" from part to whole makes hermeneutics an art. Agility is necessary. A perfect or ideal understanding is never attained.

Schleiermacher's Biblical Hermeneutics

7- Schleiermacher was a lecturer in Biblical hermeneutics at halle and Berlin. His New Testament hermeneutics is warranted by a general theory of interpretation (in a way like his Englightenment predecessors). A special hermeneutics is only justified by a special language and content.—e.g. Christianity (a language-producing power).

8- Schleiermacher is in favour of understanding the New Testament authors within their context—but they also create and reshape that context. "Thus the New Testament texts illustrate how universal and particular features intersect to produce a unique literature". Pro seeing the specificity of both a "school" and of authors inside it. Schleiermacher is rooted in a hermeneutic tradition (because of the problems he deals with, etc.).

9- Kimmerle's Interpretation of Schleiermacher

A contribution to the post-Heideggerian reassessment of the hermeneutical tradition. Kimmerle's thesis: "Schleiermacher shifted from a hermeneutics oriented toward language to one oriented toward the subjectivity of the author". The first relies only on language; the second is ideal: its expression is language. Now language does not equal thought.

9-10: "Thought", as a purely ideal reality, is by necessity modified when rendered in the form of empirical language." The Lücke edition is weighted towards the later Schleiermacher, a psychological emphasis. For Kimmerle, "Schleiermacher's preoccupation with pure understanding leads him to abstract hermeneutics from its historical matrix"—

11- this happens both regarding the historicity of the object and that of the interpreter. Schleiermacher's "shift" is challenged by the translators. There is also psychology in the early manuscripts—perhaps developed later? There is a greater continuity than Kimmerle suggests.

12- From the start we find both objective and subjective factors in Schleiermacher's hermeneutics. Are they both in language, or is language fully objective? A crux. And "does attention to the process of composition afford a better grasp of the text itself?" Role of sujective factor in interpretation: how to take it into account?

Schleiermacher's Hermeneutical Legacy

13- Founding hermeneutics on the problem of understanding as a whole. A tension between difference and commonality between persons—hermeneutics spans distances. "For Schleiermacehr, the historical text is not addressed directly to the present interpreter, but to an original audience. The present interpreter is to understand that original communication in terms of its historical context."

14- Dialogue with the past, etc. A relation between historical distance and authority: the classics appear as a norm for the present, or the Bible, but on the other hand there is the problem of applicability, a different question [Cf. Ed. D. Hirsch's notions of "meaning" vs. "significance"]. Schleiermacher's orientation to understanding is still valid now.

The Text and Translation (by James Duke and H. Jackson Forstman, 15-18). Only the Academy Addresses in this volume were meant for publication. The rest are lecture notes by Schleiermacher.

Foreword to the German edition by Heinz Kimmerle (19-20)

19- "The present practice of understanding in the sciences—and even in life itself—is determined by the image of historical-ontical research that developed in the previous century" [meaning of course the 19th century].

20- Schleiermacher tries to develop a science of understanding, but this "methodizing" separates understanding from life and from the application of what has been understood (due to his psychologism).

Editor's Introduction  by Heinz Kimmerle (21-40)

Schleiermacher's manuscripts; dating, etc. Ms. on criticism is not suitable for publication (dealing with philological criticism, previous to hermeneutics, in order to secure an authentic text).

The development of Schleiermacher's Thought on Hermeneutics

27- Schleiermacher is now seen through Dilthey's "Die Entstehung der Hermeneutik" (by Odebrecht, Bultmann, etc.). But Dilthey's description is only valid for the late Schleiermacher, from 1819 ms. on; based on "psychological reconstruction" for understanding, and directed towards the creative process of the origin of a work.

28- The early emphasis on grammatical interpretation is not properly recognized, nor his evolution.

Hermeneutics as a 'philological discipline'

In Kurze Darstellung der theologischen Studiums, 54 (1811), the "art of interpretation" is a "philosophical discipline which deends on principles as those in any other (art)". Idea of hermeneutics as a systematic whole—not a loose collection of rules.

29- Schleiermacher advocates a general hermeneutics; vs. dealing only with special problems. Vs. normative assumption of Ernesti (Biblical interpretation) and Ast & Wolf (classics), which give a special status to their texts. But also from the start, "Schleiermacher's conception of a universal hermeneutics was linked to a fruther, questionable view that hermeneutical method should not be concerned at all with the historical particularity of the item to be understood". Understanding as a special, self-enclosed process. One must become the immediate reader of the text, but somehow historical knowledge is irrelevant for that.

30- "Just as Schleiermacher tried to separate the process of understanding from the appropriation of historical knowledge in order to distill its universal principles, so too he wants to detach the pure conception from the further task of assimilating the thing conceived and to confine hermeneutics to the first" [Cf. Hirsch's objective meaning vs. significance - JAGL].  Vs. Ernesti's inclusion of subtilitas explicandi within hermeneutics. Pure comprehension must precede judgment.

31- Schleiermacher tries to leap over historical distance and be absorbed in the view of those who lived in the past. Language is the only presupposition in hermeneutics. Vs. Ernesti's linguistic theory that one word has only one sense (sensus) which unflods into various meanings (significationes)—for Schleiermacher every word has a general sphere of meaning which can be 'felt' in its concrete applications—'feeling' instead of completeness. Hermeneutic circle:

32- "According to Schleiermacher, one  can escape this apparent circle. One must begin by ascertaining the usage of the given word from the context of the sentence in which it occurs. Then, by comparing all known applications of the word, one can determine the general sphere in a provisional way. This provisional grasp of the general meaning becomes the point of departure for the hermeneutical operations, specifically directed towards determining the special application in each particular case." A comprehensive hermeneutics, dealing with the whole of language, starting with children's acquisition of language.

33- Understanding "is structured as a complex coinherence of universal and particular acts of reason (inner symbol or idea, & language). Grammatical interpretation interprets a word as general language, and "technical" interpretation does so "'positively', as it is dependent on the power and mode of speech of a particular person".

34—individuals thereby develop language through their expressions while remaining bound by the possibilities of language. Technical interpretation interprets style.

35- Hermeneutics as a 'doctrine or art' [Kunstlehre] or a 'technique' [Technik].
In Kurze Darstellung des Theologischen Studiums, 53 (1830), Schleiermacher writes "The full understanding of a discourse or writing is an artistic achievement and this requires a doctrine of art or technique, which we designate by the term 'hermeneutics' . . . Such a doctrine of art only exists insofar as its rules from a system based directly on clear principles drawn from the nature of thinking and language." Schleiermacher tried to incorporate his hermeneutics into his concept of ethics.

36- As with other disciplines, Schleiermacher inadequately posits for hermeneutics "a discrepancy between the ideal inner essence and the empirical external appearance." —> The object of hermeneutics is split into internal thinking and external language—> "Schleiermacher backs off from the thought that dominated his earlier herrmeneutical sketches and that he could formulate as late as 1813: "thought and expression are essentially and internally entirely the same".  Now, no longer a concern about how general, external language is individualized. Language is now only the expression of individuality. "More and more the process by which thinking emerges into empirically graspable linguistic form becomes the proper object of hermeneutics, with special reference to how in thies process of the externalization of thinking the individuality of the speaker comes to be known."

37- For Kimmerle, our thinking is determined by language, and Schleiermacher gives up this insight. A knowledge of the state of language, and a knowledge about the life and thought of the author are necessary for interpretation. In Schleiermacher's "Introduction to the New Testament", he wants to

38- "place us (by gathering historical knowledge) in the position of the original readers for whom the New Testament authors wrote" [But wasn't he supposed to ignore history? I.e. Schleiermacher ignores hindsight and the productive role of historical distance- JAGL] This is preparatory, separate from actual exegesis . In the 1819 account, technicall interpretation does not concern itself with individuality, but with style (even if individuality appears fully represented there). The modification of general language is seen as the individuality of the speaker.

39- Later (in the "Academy Addresses") the work is seen as an act, the object of interpretation is individual and internal thought; the aim is "understanding how something is an empirical modirfication of an ideal reality."

40- A whole series of processes to this end (ms. 6) but only one more section is added, "psychological" interpretation (subdivided into 'psychological' and 'technical').

Friedrich Schleiermacher


1) Against Ernesti's conception - For Schleiermacher, hermeneutics is concerned only subtilitas intelligendi. Subtilitas applicandi involves the production of texts, "and is itself subject to hermeneutics"; "hermeneutics may offer suggestions for the proper use of commentaries, but not for writing them".

3) "Two divergent maxims for understanding: (1) I am understanding everything until I encounter a contradiction or nonsense. (2) I do not understand anything that I cannot perceive and comprehend [construiren] as necessary. In accordance with this second maxim, understanding is an unending task"

4) The failure to understand is failure to understand words—some aspect of "The entire schematic view [Anschauung] present in a word-sphere."

6) "Strictly speaking, grammatical interpretation is the objective side; technical, the subjective. Consequently, grammatical interpretation plays a negative role in hermeneutical construction, masking the boundaries; technical interpretation is positive. These two sides of interpretation cannot always coincide, for that would presuppose both a complete knowledge of and completely correct use of language. The 'art' lies in knowing when one side should give way to the other."

7) Vs. axiomantism in method.

8) "In interpretation it is essential that one be able to step out of one's frame of mind into that of the author"

9) "In reality, each word, even a particle, has only one meaning [Bedeutung], and the various meanings of words must be understood by tracing them back to their original unity" [vs. Ernesti].

10) Thought is to be treated as an act, not as a thing. Various "senses" of a word can be avoided. 

11) 'Sense' as a more precise determination of a word's meaning, "a special instance drawn from its general sphere".

12) "The interpreter must try to become the immediate reader of the text in order to understand its allusions, its atmosphere, and its special field of images."

13) Relation author / reader (a serious work vs. occasional writing) is significant.

14) Some thoughts [images?] are to be seen only as signs of a [subjective] impression or state of mind, a means of representation:
"often the form of a thought is what is being stated, while its substance is merely part of the means of representation"

15, etc.— A concern with understanding the author not the same as understanding parts of the text, a concern with barbarisms, etc.

19) Narrowing extent of Ernesti's hermeneutics, and extending its scope. Pro reconstruction and an understanding of the peculiarities and the common ground of author and reader. (3 parts: 1: common ground; 2: peculiarities of author; 3: peculiarities of reader).

21) 2nd part: two tasks: "The general task is to investigate the idea, the unity of what has been put together, the individuality of the text. The special task is to investigate the various ways in which the elements are combined, the psychological and the personal aspects".

22) Language is not a "general phenomenon"; it fluctuates between general and specific.  [vs. Kimmerle's notion? JAGL ]

26) The problem of assuming emphasis in the text.

27) "The deeper one probes into its elements, the more unexplored the language seems".

28) "An objective view of words leads to a mistaken view of figurative terms".

31) "within the meaning of words, much that was originally organic becomes again inorganic with the passage of time, and therefore one must know in which period an author writes". Etymology should be taken into account.

32) Origin of words, figurative expressions, etc.

35) "To be sure, different styles give rise to different rules of interpretation, but lex narratio and dogma are poor distinctions." (Vs. Morus).

41) Need to know language as a whole and its history too.

42) "One cannot understand a spoken statement without knowing both its most general and its most personal and particular value"

43) Speaking as an elaboration and transformation of "something intensive" into "something extensive".

46) [Schleiermacher conceives of a language as something organic, with a genius of its own]. Observations on speech modes.

48) "If every spoken statement is viewed with language as the center, all personal nuance disappears, except in the case of the true artist of language who individualizes the language anew".

49) Previous terms take understanding as given, and are therefore sets of arbitrary rules, 'special expedients' in the case of misunderstanding.

50) Schleiermacher argues that if we aim at understanding an artist we disregard what is objective and given, except insofar as it leads us to that individuality.

51) Christianity as a language-creating force.

52) "Hermeneutics in the reverse of grammar and even more."

53) "The technical meaning of a term is to be derived from the unity of the word-sphere and from the rules governing the presupposition of this unity" [Note: presupposition.]

55) "Language is the only presupposition in hermeneutics, and everything that is to be found, including the other objective and subjective presuppositions, must be discovered in language" [Does this include history?]

56) [Here, "technical" seems to have a more general sense, similar to the modern sense of "technical term"]

59) "Just as one must begin with the moral law in order to understand man, so in order to understand a language one must begin with its structural law".

60) "Everything complex must be referred back to what is simple: a multiplicity of meanings must be quite consciously reduced to their unity."

61) Language usage is not the same as language rules, and must be respected.

63) On multiple meanings, etc. "In the case of an ambiguous reference, the more grammatical and correct an author is, the more the most natural and most obvious meaning is to be preferred. Often in the New Testament this cannot be determined."

64) Complete understanding needs to appropriate the entire original meaning [i.e. not merely verbal meaning.]

67) "Figurative meanings are subjective meanings which, having emerged from an actual, definite image, have become objective."

68) "Every child comes to understand the meanings of words only through hermeneutics."

69) In grammatical interpretation, the unity of signification is the main principle. In technical interpretation, multiple meanings.

72) "One can speak of figurative meanings only when there already exists a literal expression for what is indicated."

79) History must be dispensed with in the interpretation of things which have not yet happened. [??]

80) The view of language as an abstract entity determines grammatical descriptions.

81) "In order to determine the particular from the universal, one must deal with the formal element first, because that determines how everything coheres." [The grammatical element - particles, etc.]

82) "There are two kinds of determination, the exclusive, which comes from the whole context, and the thetic, which comes from the immediate context."

85) Problem of determining subjective/objective meaning in particles — Limits of technical interpretation.

89) Language is modelled by  literature. E.g. the modes in Greek from epic poetry.

91) "When rightly understood, the infinite significance of the Holy Scriptures is not in contradiction to its hermeneutical limitations."

92) The meanings of words do not expand.

94) "For the technical limitations one must locate the major passages".

95) Notion of school: consists in viewing several authors as one to some extent—a hermeneutical concept.

99) "One must already know a man in order to understand what he says, and yet one first becomes acquainted with him by what he says."

100) Subjective combinations, genres, etc.: there are no fixed distinctions.

101) "The statement of the subject matter and the form in general gives rise to an expectation which is open-ended, like a schema. The schema which arises is only subjective."

102) Predictable authors are poor. "The productive spirit always brings forth someting that could not have been expected."

104) "Lyrical poets, who are said to be the most subjective, are the most difficult authors among the ancients to interpret technically. They speak from epic and gnomic heights."

106) Language: concept or intuition? (passive vs. active combination or arrangement of work).

107)  "The claim that an author's style is arbitrary corresponds to the usual opinion of how words are used."

108) Style must respect the laws of genre (otherwise, it is a mannerism).

109) The unity of the work too must respect genre. Different types of works: formal, linguistic...

111) Mannerism is imitation which doesn't gasp the original individual context of a work.

114) In interpreting literature or the New Testament, "one must consider how in any style the speaker thinks of the combination of thoughts and the way in which the hearers understand. No text is intended in such a way that its hearers could not possibly have understood it."

115) "In dealing with historical writings, determining what is pure description and what is mixed with judgments is a matter for technical interpretation, insofar as the author himself is assumed to have been conscious of the difference."

116) An author's distinctive use of language modifies the genre within which he writes.

119) "every individual constructs language; . . . every understanding of a given text contributes to understanding the language. Consequently, the same principle operates in both [grammar and hermeneutics]."

120) "The understanding of a given statement [Rede] is always based on something prior, of two sorts—a preliminary knowledge of human beings, a preliminary knowledge of the subject matter"

121) "The understanding of a particular is always conditioned by an understanding of the whole."

122) One should start with a study of the beginning of the text, which separates its specific sphere from generality.

123) Understanding must stand the text in the sphere of common life.

124) "The whole is frist understood as a genre" Genres develop from life.

125) The meaning of a word is contextually affected.

126) "How to approach indeterminate elements: the less certain one is of the meaning, the more strictly must one hold to the given usage."

128) "The two sides of the hermeneutical task must be separated even before the grammatical operation begins."

129) Definition of meaning as the mutual determination of elements.

133)  The author is both free and guided by the power of the subject matter.

135) Grammatical interpretation is the reverse of grammar; technical interpretation is the reverse of composition.

137) "To some extent in every work a special terminology is formed."

138) Different spans cause differences in writing. Narrow span between subjective and objective elements in literature. Wide span in philosophy or history [? Obscure or vague].

139) "Study the era." Simultaneous interpretation of individual unity and of the train of thought. Interpretation must take into account the extent of leeway allowed by the genre (as regards subjectivity).

142) Problem of 'subjective' element when we know only that author of his class or age: "One comes to have a feeling for what is distinctive, but it will remain a difficult statement."

143) The interpreter must combine the subjective and the objective so as to "put himself 'inside' the author." "On understanding an author better than he understands himself"—increasing and correcting that understanding. Difficulty comes from both objective and subjective causes.

Friedrich Schleiermacher


Holy Scripture must be submitted to the rules of interpretation. Is it subject to a special hermeneutics? OK, "But a special hermeneutics can be understood only in terms of a general hermeneutics."

68- Ernesti is self-contradictory. Schleiermacher is against the usual extension of hermeneutics: "Presenting what one has understood to others is itself a production, therefore a 'text', and so it is not hermeneutics, but an object for hermeneutics."  [One might argue that presenting it is hermeneutics, and that reading makes it an object, rather—JAGL]. Widespread problem of understanding: not only in foreign languages. "In familiar languages, difficult places arise only because the familiar ones were misunderstood"  [Not the case—JAGL]. The task of hermeneutics has a twofold origin: "understanding by reference to the language and understanding by reference to the one who speaks." It is an art, since both are incomplete by themselves—"Grammatical and technical understanding".  "Forgetting the author in grammatical interpretation and the author in technical". "Praise of speech as a language-forming spirit."

69- Variation between the two extremes (grammatical and technical, objectivity and subjectivity). Combining them: "Since each operation presupposes the other, they must be directly combined"—in subjective or in objective texts, since we do not know beforehand. Grammatical interpretation deals with elements, subject matter; technical one with overall coherence, grouped by reading. On misunderstanding: quantitative or qualitative. "Every error is productive." "One must understand as well as and better than the author." [Derived from Schlegel, Athenäum]. Grammatical and technical interpretations are simultaneous but conceptually and methodologically distinct.

70- Grammatical interpretation is first "because in the final analysis both what is presupposed and what is to be discovered is language".  The goal is to avoid misunderstanding.

Grammatical interpretation

"It is the art of finding the precise sense [Sinn] of a given statement from its language and with the help of language." First canon: "One should construe the meaning from the total pre-given value of language and the heritage common to the author and his reader, for only by reference to this is interpretation possible". Nobody possesses the whole language. [Cf. Saussure - JAGL]. "The richness of meaning depends on when and where a work arose"; "every effort to determine and fix the meaning of particular passages by interpreting them separately should be part of a cumulative process that ultimately determines the precise meaning of any particular passage in terms of its context" (70-71).

71- Grasping particular meanings of terms under a common solemn and general meaning: "This contradicts the customary view of the plurality of meanings according to which in many cases the original meaning is regarded as only a distant occasion for the other meanings." This view is not linguistic. It distorts language with a conceptual logic, while language is related to intuition [Anschauung] which determines the range of every word.

72- Problem of the multiplicity of meanings (one word as origin, or a sphere of intuition). Or perhaps:

73- Figurative terms everywhere (vs. the ideal of 'exactness'): "even when that does not seem to be so, it is only because the terms are no longer grasped genetically." Ossification and renewal [—both necessary?]

74- Another reason for multiplicity is allegory; allusions develop from words retaining their literal meaning. Grammatical interpretation is applied all right, but word meaning requires technical interpretation. "The most common example here is when the thought itself, as explained by grammatical interpretation, is not part of what is represented, but only part of the representation, itself a sign. Where and how this occurs can be discovered only by technical interpretation." The unity of meaning principle also applies to structure words [closed system words], particles have a structure, identity, etc.

75- Particles are not the same as modes of inflection. Language grasps objects not as fixed and objective, but as living and developing. The opposition eternal/transient does not apply to individual elements of language—the unity of meaning holds for both formal and material elements of language.

76- "Each usage is related to this basic meaning as a particular to the general and each usage relates to another usage as one particular to another." Each particular usage mixes an essential unity (which never fully emerges) with an accidental element —"an unknown usage can be determined only with the aid of the essential unity"—but the essential unity is not manifest; it is not a presupposition, then, but something to seek. A double task of grammatical interpretation: "(1) the task of determining the essential meaning from a given usage and (2) the task of ascertaining an unknown usage from the meaning" [already a hermeneutic circle]. First getting hold of meaning is the most difficult operation,  and we accomplish it in childhood.

77- Grasping unity of meaning from particulars is an unending task. Only feeling can grasp that unity: "Thus this feeling must be the substitute for completeness." Primitive people ground the correctness of this feeling in their proximity to nature. "One who has lost his philological innocence must for the common cases rely on philological science." "The task can be completed only by approximation." The evolution of a whole language, collective, is analogous to the hermeneutical development of unity in individual person (phases): 1) not yet unity; 2) consciousness of unity; 3) Richness leads to confusions. The unity of words develops historically. "To derive a given usage, one must proceed from that clarity and determinacy of the unity of words which could be common to the author and the original reader." [Note "a reader" as a step which ensures the possibIlity of objectivity].

78- Dictionary compliation: 1) it may rely on a mass of particulars or 2) assume a central unity in the word. Common error of taking most common instance as the true unity. The dictionary "must have a mastery of the spirit of its language". They tend to confine themselves to their single language. Schleiermacher would deny all identification of world spheres here, making them oneself, and discovering unity.

79- At best, "the way of viewing the world [Anschauungweise] peculiar to a given people must emerge." Careful when dealing with stages of development: they may coexist. One should not try to equate elements from different languages—but comparison is all right.

80- "a particular usage is not an expansion or derivation but a delimitation of the entire sphere" —> "this delimitation is determined in each case by the context" (a general rule for grammatical interpretation). "Each element [in the sentence] is the condition for understanding the other"—> also approximation.

(1-) Material elements help determine formal elements—whether they introduce a new topic or not limiting the range of meaning of formal elements.  [Genre] too. Also, opposed formal elements help determine formal elements— e.g. the use of particles or inflections.

81- Mastery of language is necessary. The French language is deaf and dumb: too connected, not free, it is only a tool. Schleiermacher opposes the idea of a universal language.

"The more comprehensive the unity, the more difficult it is to graspt the concrete individual usage".

82- An author's degree of linguistic consciousness must be taken into account. Problem when images coming from two languages mix (as in the New Testament).

(2-) Determination of material elements: through formal elements, or by the material context. Subject matter and form determines the relationship between primary and secondary themes.

83- Main rule: "the subject must be clarified by the predicate and the predicate by the subject." Or, the subject may be clarified by the predicate of its antithesis, etc., for parallel contests or passages. [From Ernesti and Morus.]

84- But there is never a precise identity here: the problem of more or less distance (passages in the same or in another context).

85- It is easier to decide in scientific, systematic texts. Keeping in account here the difference between authors (or genres in some author) when looking for parallelisms— "a group of authors who belong to the same sphere, period, or school are to be regarded as a single author and used to explain each other." "But this, naturally, belongs to a higher understanding of which the author himself was unaware."

86- Use of parallel passages. Difficult when language is not technical. Both similarity and difference must be taken into account here.

Up to now we have dealt with the quality of meaning. Now we deal with the problem of the quantity of meaning—seeing too much, or too little. The middle period of development of languages is the most adequate to the orderly presence of higher meanings. The whole language is still unified but a duplicity of expression has already arisen. Wrongness of principles in interpreting the New Testament (first period, and a bit of the second).


88- Problem: Understanding is not the same as the task of resolving contradictions in doctrine. How to resolve them? Dogmatic contradictions are not the same as historical contradictions, due to different reports, etc.

89- (Vs. trying too much to resolve dogmatic or historical contradictions; it is not the role of hermeneutics. E.g. the problem of not harmonizing gospels).

Use of previous interpreters is all right, "to direct attention to matters that themselves would have been overlooked," but those opinions must be proven hermeneutically [re-interpreted]. Etc.

91- A loose page from 1810-11. "The task. To discover the distinctive character of the composition from the idea of the work." Taking into account genre, popularity, etc. "One must know all the possibilities that were at the author's disposal."

92- In linguistic interpretation, two tasks: "1) determining the linguistic sphere of the author" and 2) "Determining the distinctive use of language from the linguistic sphere"—

93- —through the use of "Immediate intuition and comparison". Each is insufficient on its own.  [Divination of individuality as aim]

Friedrich Schleiermacher

95- Introduction

I.1. "At present there is no general hermeneutics as the art of understanding but only a variety of specialized hermeneutics." (1818: Hermeneutics and criticism presuppose each other —but the task of criticism ends in theory, "whereas the task of hermeneutics is endless"; "special hermeneutics is only an aggregate of observations and does not meet the requirements of science". Schleiermacher against its use on special occasions.

96- "Hermeneutics deals only with the art of understanding, not with the presentation of what has been understood." Hermeneutics presupposes a  familiarity— not dealing only with foreign languages.

2. Problem of assigning a place to hermeneutics—not logic (applied science), and not philosophy (positivistic)—

3. —but hermeneutics is philosophical.

II.4. "Speaking is the medium for the commonality of thought, and for this reason rhetoric and hermeneutics belong together and both are related to dialectics." Speech as developed thought. Dialectics relies on hermeneutics and rhetoric, because the development of all knowledge depends on both speaking and understanding.

5. "Just as every act of understanding is related to both the totality of the language and the totality of the speaker's thoughts, so understanding a speech always involves two moments: to understand what is said in the context of the language with its possibilities, and to understand it as a fact in the thinking of the speaker" ;

98- "language develops through speaking".

"In every case communication presupposes a shared language and therefore some knowledge of the language"; "each person represents one locus where a given language takes shape in a particular way, and his speech can be understood only in the context of the totality of the language. But then too he is a person who is a constantly developing spirit, and his speaking can be understood as only one moment in this development in relation to all others.
6. Understanding takes place only in the coherence of these two moments."
(1828): Grammatical and psychological interpretation make use of each other).

99- III.7:  Are they "higher" and "lower"? Not in themselves: only in relation to each interpretive task.

100- 8. Each can make the other superfluous.

9. "Interpretation is an art" —a construction of something definite (or finite)= for something indefinite (or infinite). (Language is infinite, and intuition, external influence on people too). Complete knowledge of each is impossible; we need to move back and forth between the grammatical and psychological sides, and no rules can stipulate exactly how to do this."

101- 10. "The success of the art of interpretation depends on one's linguistic competence and on one's ability for knowing people." Competence in rhetoric is necessary too, but it is a different kind of competence. Knowing people is here a "knowledge of the subjective element determining the composition of thoughts."

102- IV.11. Some acts of speaking are more interesting than others hermeneutically. (Business discussions, conversations about the weather...). Significance for either side of hemrmeneutics: linguistic creativity (classics) or high individuality (original texts).

103- We find both in works of genius. All three must be influential.

12. Each side, grammatical or psychological, may weigh differently. Objective (public) genres require a minimum of psychological interpretation, and vice versa. (Epic vs. lyric or letters).

104- There are no other types of interpretation apart from these. Nor for the New Testament. Schleiermacher advocates the historical interpretation of the New Testament, it does not negate the power of the New Testament to create new concepts.

[Note (245): J. A. Turrentinus first called for this and for a general hermeneutic in 1728]

V. Gathering of historical data is only previous work for a historical interpretation. Interpretation cannot begin until data have re-created "the relationship between the speaker and the original audience."

[Note (245): Allegory is used in the Bible as a means to explain contradictory or difficult passages or increasing the significance of trivial events. Luther gave priority to the literal sense. Protestant hermeneutics restricts allegorical interpretation.]

"Allegorical interpretation does not deal with allegories where the figurative meaning is the only one intended, regardless of whether the stories are based on truth, as in the parable of the sower, or as fiction, as in the parable of the rich man, but to cases where the literal meaning, in its immediate context, gives rise to a second, figurative meaning." (Vs. Ernesti's refusal to accept allegory). Allusions introduce a second meaning,

105- —allusions intended by the author, enwined in a mere train of though  which makes them recognizable (the author thinks). Parallelisms [Here one might include metafiction, mise en abyme, etc.— JAGL] "are to be noted only when figurative expressions indicate them." Schleiermacher opposes the common notion that there are no errors or mistakes in the Bible. It is both a divine and a human work.

106- Unmarked allusions are found in Homer and in the Bible as a result of authorship being indefinite: myth in one case, the Holy Spirit in the other. There is the question whether the Holy Scripture should be treated in a different way.

107- "This question cannot be answered by a dogmatic decision about inspiration, because such a decision itself depends upon interpretation." [One would think rather that it depends upon affiliation to a dogma which sets the limits to interpretation- JAGL]. The Apostles wrote not only for everybody, but also more specifically for their own age.  "Our interpretation must take this fact into account." The Holy Spirit spoke through them as they would have spoken.

108- VII. Schleiermacher opposes the tendency to find hidden meanings everywhere—cabalistic interpretations too; one must take into account the interpretation of the original readers. But one should not restrict interpretation to this, either. Interpretation begins only after we remove our differences from the original readers. (But he suggests that the first phase goes along through the second, too). 

109- Hermeneutics is not only for written texts—since oral traits, voice, and gesture, must be interpreted too. Artistic interpretation and ordinary listening are alike in aim.

110- VIII. 15 ['Light' or 'soft'] interpretation involves an assumption of understanding, easy aims. It is based on a shared language and thought by the speaker and hearer.

16. Rigorous interpretation, on the other hand, presupposes misunderstanding. [To be compared with Ricœur's hermeneutics of trust vs. hermeneutics of suspicion.] It uses the two phases; it presupposes difference in the use of language or thought, but also an underlying unity.

111- 17. Qualitative vs. quantitative misunderstanding; also, objective vs. subjective (4 types in all combining them). Qualitative misunderstanding derives from quantitative misunderstanding. Interpretation as avoiding misunderstanding. Are there any positive rules? Interpretation as "the historical and divinatory, objective and subjective reconstruction of a given statement." The combination of these terms gives us 4 kinds of interpretation:

112- Objective historical interpretation: The statement is considered as a (historical) product of the language.

Objective prophetic interpretation studies how a statement will stimulate developments in language.

Subjective historical interpretation sees the statement as a product of a person's mind.

Subjective prophetic interpretation studies how the statement will influence the author in the future.

The task is "To understand the text as well as and then even better than its author." Since we have no direct knowledge of what was in the author's mind, we must try to become aware of many things of which he himself may have been unconscious, except insofar as he reflects on his own work and becomes his own reader. An infinite task, which needs inspiration, an art. The text must evoke inspiration. How far to go in interpretation is something to be determined in each case (it is not a subject for general hermeneutics).

113- 19. "Before the art of hermeneutics can be practiced, the interpreter must put himself both objectively and subjectively in the position of the author" (I.e. beyond the original reader)— "Knowing the inner and outer aspects of the author's life" & language. Only possible through interpretation.

20. The author's works are a part of a bigger whole: the age in which he wrote. "Complete knowledge always involves an apparent circle, that each part can be understood only out of the whole to which it belongs, and vice versa. All knowledge which is scientific must be constructed in this way." Reading the text several times increases understanding, above all in significant texts. There is a movement from part to whole also in the sense of putting oneself in the author's position.

114- There are aids to get understanding of an author's language (dictionaries, prolegomena —i.e. introductions,— etc.) —but firsthand knowledge must be gained.

115- Prolegomena themselves depend on interpretation. Schleiermacher advocates using the original sources themselves; it is safer. In all cases, "the interpreter must contribute to extending and verifying this information." Various ways of using background information give rise to critical schools (or rather fads).

XI.  23. A cursory reading is necessary before more careful interpretation.

116- A circle: knowledge of the particulars first which come only from a general knowledge of the language.

[Obsérvese que en su noción de interpretación Schleiermacher no incluye la aspiración a contestar interpretaciones previas: la crítica es para él un obstáculo - JAGL]

The interpreter must identify the leading ideas and a basic train of thought. There is a conceptual separation between grammatical and psychological interpretation.

116-17- "Each side of interpretation must be developed so thoroughly  that the other becomes dispensable, or, better, that the results of the two coincide."

Part 1: Grammatical Interpretation

117- XIII.1. "First canon: A more precise determination of any point in a given text must be decided on the basis of the use of language common to the author and his original public." Every element is in itself indefinite, and must be contextualized. "Some term what a word is thought to mean "in and of itself" it meaning [Bedeutung] and what the word is thought to mean in a given context its sense [Sinn]. ¿Does a complete text have purport [Vernunft] while an isolated sentence can have only sense? If the text is self-enclosed this distinction disappears.

118- But the whole is determined by the reader. [?? - a matter of individual decision?]

The era, the language, etc., of an author are his 'sphere'—this is not found whole in every text, and varies "according to the kind of reader thee author had in mind." [Schleiermacher's version of the concept of the implied reader - JAGL]. We identify that through a cursory reading. Archaisms and technical expressions are exceptions.

XIV. Consciously grasping the author's sphere, as opposed to other aspects of his language, "implies that we understand the author better than he understood himself" [Is tradition not included in this 'grasping' — A difference with Gadamer, who takes this into account. —JAGL.].

119- "we must become aware of many things of which the author himself was unaware." Errors must be due to the author's carelessness, or to us (from early mistakes or from inadequate knowledge of the language). The multiplicity of meanings is inadequately dealt with in dictionaries. "Thus they do not trace the meaning back to its original unity." A distinction is necessary: literal vs. figurative meaning.

120- Figurative use retains literal meaning.
XV. Etymological meanings and relationships are not an hermeneutical question. There is the problem of the relationships between non-literal meanings and sense objects, to decide which are figurative and which not, or the distinction between general and specific meanings (e.g. of "foot", etc.).

121- There is a need to identify the unity of a word—"its determination is not derived from itself, but from its context." Full explanation of a word's unity is impossible.

122- XVI. Grammar and dictionaries are fragmentary. They provide only a guide to the unity of formal or sense elements. One must work them out oneself.

2. Application to the New Testament

A special hermeneutic must be systematic and governed by general hermeneutics.

123- A work must be included in the general development of a language, and we must ask "which is greater, his influence on the langauge or the influence of the language on him." The New Testament in the Greek language, etc. (dialects, development...).

124- XVIII. A period of decay of Greek. Common language in the New Testament, so authors do not try to reconstruct classical Greek. The extent of Aramaic influence.

125- The authors fail to make full use of the richness of Greek, and sometimes we find incorrect usages.

126- XIX. The newness of doctrine of the New Testament is not a matter of hermeenutics, but of judgment of meaning and feeling. Still, it needs to be supported by philological and philosophical research. Different linguistic spheres should be kept in mind all through interpretation.

127- XX. There are Hebrew anomalies, e.g. in religious terminology.


"Second Canon. The meaning of each word of a passage must be determined by the context in which it occurs." (The first canon was that teh linguistic sphere of the word limits meaning). Meaning, more or less, that the text is the context.

128- Parallel or similar passages while remaining inside the same sphere help to determine meaning. Meaning is created by determination: each determination modifies it and excludes others.

XXI. A passage is 'parallel' when it can be considered as identical, "and so can be considered part of a unified context."

129- Determination of formal elements; kinds of formal elements: those that combine sentences and those that combine parts of speech, etc. Types of combination,  more or less organic. The extent and object of the connection must be identified.

130- XXII. Etc. The divisions and cohesiveness of writing are variable;

131- "one ought never presuppose that an author has merely tacked the whole together. Mere connection predominates in description and narration, but even there not completely, for this would make the writer nothing more than a transcriber." "Even if no organic connection is evident, it must be implicit."

XXIII. Application to the New Testament. Special attention to the mixture of Hebrew and Greek.
132- Taking loose style and individual differences into account. Connection:
1) Leading ideas, with materials as the key at a general level.
2) "In the immediate context the way in which the formal elements have been put together is the key; that is, the construction explains the partiles, and vice versa." Attention to coordinations and subordinations.
133- The same inside sentences: subject/predicate or complements, etc.

134- Syntactic connections and determinateness: "Subject and predicate are mutually determinative, but not completely": sometimes there are loose relations, etc.

135- Adjectives help rule out various possible meanings in nouns, etc. But the decisive element for all is "the train of thought".

136- Identities (tautologies) and oppositions, etc.; "the more perfectly the interpreter attends to the whole at every point the better the work will progress".

137- The immediate context is the sentence or sentences with the same subject or predicate. Divide secondary thoughts from the main train.

138- Problem of articulating philological and 'collective' views of the New Testament—one author, or several? The philological view must recognize  the importance and value of doctrine;

139- —e.g., Paul is not to be studied before and after his conversion as if nothing had happened. There are limits to both philological and dogmatic views.

150- "Every passage is an interlacing of common and distinctive traits, and so it cannot be explained correctly solely by refereence to the common ones." And the identification of identity and difference itself results from interpretation; —"the greatest probability of misinterpretation lies with these passsages which do not agree with the others"—but Schleiermacher opposes the use of the dogmatic canon as a solution.

141- Use of similar linguistic spheres, parallels, etc.; "the old rule, that 'one should not look outside of a text for a means of explanation until all of the clues within the text have been exhausted' is considerably limited." [Note: A Luteran rule originally directed against tradition.] Use of other texts: the authors of the New Testament related to their society, etc. "Since meaning is not vested in the individual parts of speech but in their connection, the closest parallels are those in which the parts of speech have been combined in the same way."

142- XXV. Quantitative and qualitative understanding. "The minimum of quantitative understanding is 'pleonasm' [das Abundiren], the maximum is 'emphasis'." The reasons for each—and problems to determine them.

143- Emphasis is relational. Schleiermacher is against the false maxism which would have us take material tautologically or emphatically a priori. The first tendency is more recent, the second is related to the notion that the Holy Spirit does nothing in vain.

144- Both pleonasm and emphasis are possible and normal. Be careful with the emphasizing of similes—"The meaning of a simile must be sought from the sphere within which the simile plays. Otherwise, one ends up merely with application and imposed meanings." Pleonasm, etc., depend on genre and development of subject matter;

145- —new subjects uise more redundant language to avoid ambiguity. The sentences in explanation are not identical.
Quantitative understanding: major vs. secondary thoughts: "A major thought is a statement made for its own sake. A secondary thought is a statement made to explain something, even though it may be far more detailed than a major thought." Attention to context and to connectives should be paid here.

147- Grammatical interpretation and technical interpretation supplement each other. Both language and a knowledge of critics is necessary to make use of criticism.

Part 2: Technical Interpretation

147- 1. Overview in which "the unity of the work, its theme, is viewed on the dynamic principle impelling the author, and the basic features of the composition are viewed as his distinctive nature, revealing itself in that movement." A unified work is artistic. "Extremely loose and extremely tight language are outside the scope of interpretation." "Preliminary task: to know in advance the aim of a work, its circle, and its ideas." The unity of a  work depends on a construction of the linguistic sphere [cf. Kimmerle's reading - JAGL]. Chief feature of composition: "the way the connectives between the thoughts have been constructed. Technical interrpetation attempts to identify what has moved the author to communicate." The author's thought is reflected in the arrangement chosen;

148- —especially in the secondary ideas. Language is renewed by new combinations of subjects and predicates, etc. Complementarity of grammatical and technical interpretation.

2. The ultimate goal is to interpret the whole of the author's thought in terms of its parts, "and in every part to consider the content as what moved the author and the form as his nature moved by that content." Meaning can be exhausted.

3. "The goal of technical interpretation should be formulated as the complete understanding of style"—not only "language".

149- 4. Complete understanding is only approximated.  Mannerisms, a defect, result when an idea is inherited, not developed by the author.

5. Before technical interpretation, we must learn about the subject matter and language as they were received by the author: literature, genres, etc. (But be careful with the prolegomena written by critics).

150- On this basis, "the interpreter develops a provisional conception in terms of which the distinctiveness of the author is to be sought." Two methods which refer back to each other: "By leading the interpreter to transform himself, so to speak, into the author, the divinatory method seeks to gain an immediate comprehension of the author as an individual. The comparative method proceeds by subsuming the author under a general type. It then tries to find his distinctive trait, by comparing him with the others of the same general type. Divinatory knowledge is the feminine strength in knowing people; comparative knowledge, the masculine." Divinatory knowledge is based on the assumption that the individual is not only unique, "but that he has a receptivity to the uniqueness of every other person." A presupposition "that each person contains a minimum of everyone else, and so divination is aroued by comparison with oneself."

151- Infinite process of comparison or divination.  They are complementary; alone, divination is fanatical, and comparison does not provide a unity. "The general and the particular must interpenetrate, and only divination allows this to happen."

7. The idea of the work is understood by considering: 1) The content of the text; 2) The range of its effects. The intended effect on the original audience is an "aim" of the work; it determines composition; interpretation is easy if we know how it was and who they were.

Friedrich Schleiermacher

 General Survey

 "I. By a knowledge of the individuality of an author, grammatical interpretation can be brought to a level that it could not reach on its own."

"II. The goal is to reproduce the subjective bases for the combination of particular elements of a text in order to learn how to grasp the train of thought."
Grammatical interpretation opposes wrong understanding; technical interpretation opposes quantitative defects.

154- "Searching for too much meaning is due to false application of the distinctiveness of an author or from an incorrect grasp of that distinctiveness."

Attention to the objective train of though and "everything that expresses the author's immediate relation to the subject matter of the work and all of the elements essential to the composition", but also consider the subjective train of thought, "secondary representations" related to his personality.

The maximum extent: imitation of train of thought. [A suggestion that it is governed by antitheses, and that we must recognize the identity underneath ].

155- —Showing the guiding principles of primary and secondary thoughts and their relations.

Objective and subjective trains of thought are not clearly distinguishable in confused authors; "it is especially important to trace, in addition to the actual train of thought, the sequence of the leading and secondary ideas as they are interwoven."

156- Usually, there are no secondary thoughts (they are not essential). Exceptions: when the leading idea has degeenrated into or occasional secondary ones, and must be gleaned from them—or when the author yields himself to a secondary train of thought. [!] There may be a return to the previous idea, or a move on to the next. Schleiermacher appreciates transition as artistic. "Throughout the process one should sense what will follo" Knowledge of secondary thoughts or of author's taste are necessary to determine "the range and complexity of the leading thoughts." The main thought gives an idea of the work. It is difficult to discover secondary ideaas—they were improvised. Thus, 'divination' can extend only to what is nearest at hand.

157- The division is common in ordinary life. Allusions to secondary purposes are not the same as secondary ideas. Secondary ideas are different when improvised merely on the stimulus of the moment and when they are viewed as a special task. E.g., they are frequent "in the many authors who always let their personality come into prominence" and "in the presentation of a topic which is inseparable from its external relationships" and also "in circumstances where the author is restricted such that not everything can be stated straightforwardly." "The interpreter must distinguish between the character of a pure presentation and that of an occasionalistic effusion, between objective and popular writings [he describes each.]. Objective writings are organized "in accordance with the author's special point of view [!!!!] as opposed to the popular ones (which follow the subject and interest of the moment). The interpreter must attend both to the whole and to the quality of the parts, and details.

159- Examples from the New Testament.

Friedrich Schleiermacher

161- "Grammatical interpretation. To understand the discourse and how it has been composed in terms of its language. Technical interpretation: To understand the discourse as a presentation of thought. Comoposed by a human being and understood in terms of a human being." From the standpoint of grammatical interpretation, the person is seen as "an organ of the language"; for technical interpretation, language is an organ of the person. They are not possible without each other. Ideally, each would aim at complete understanding.

162- Grammatical interpretation builds details into a whole; technical interpretation goes from the whole to the details. Two tasks in each: 1, discovering individuality; 2, how it is expressed. Grammatical interpretation sees the text as a unity, technical interpreation sees the author's works as a unity— all, vs. parts. Unity results from joining partial views. Grammatical interprertation is oriented towards language, technical interpretation towards thoughts, not in the sense of logic,

163- —"but as a function of the nature of the individual person."
Only following rules (of grammar, of logic) does not lead to interpretation. What contradicts the rules would not be understandable. It is not a "method"; the theory is the result of previous explanations.
Grammatical interpretation: "The distinctive nature of a language is the specific modification of its view of the world (Anschauung)."
Technical interpretation: an individual character is a modification of the general ability to think.
Grammatical interpretation: the individuality of a language is connected to other aspects, the individuality of a people—but this is not a concern here [Schleiermacher will focus instead on the role of the author's individuality]. 

164- Differences in both Grammatical interpretation and Technical interpretation result from comparing different languages and authors. The "center of a language" (grammatical interpretation) and the "character of an author" (technical interpreatation) as the keys to complete understanding.—But this goal is reached only approximately. Sometimes,  for easy expressions, grammatical interpretation is enough. "These provide the first general insight into the individuality, and in turn this insight makes the more difficult expressions understandable, thereby improving on the interpreter's initial grasp of the individuality, and so on into infinity."

165- Grammatical interpretation needs technical interpretation, preceding understanding... etc. —Interpretation is an art. Most evident individuality rests on subject matter and form, genre... They are not the author, but the author's style can be recognized beneath.  If there appear traits of style contrary to the author0s character, this is as defect (mannerism).  Mannerisms are conspicuous and inauthentic; Schleiermacher opposes imitation of this kind.

166- "This is the origin of all florid style, flor orationis."  He opposes the classical notion that form (genre) is linked to individuality. Now individuality is best expressed thorugh variety; now authors give up mechanical perfection. "This individual unity remains the most important consideration, and all other matters must be found in terms of it." Each author (or group) has his style, to be grasped intuitively, not conceptually. Beginning with the overall organization, and moving to the peculiar way of using language.

167- One should not omit the first step; a stylistics which pays attention to the second only will emphasize minutiae. "Style refers to both the composition and the treatment of language" (mixed).
Two methods: "Comparing the text with others, and considering it in and for itself). (The second goes first). Only to be used to direct attention to the author's individuality. Elements must be compared to the whole and "Considering what an author has excluded pays a role in the procedure". Also, compare him with the whole of language, and with the whole of the theme.

168- Discovering individuality: "The unity of the whole is grasped", and then seen in its relation to the various sections within the whole." The author's idea is the basis of composition [Schleiermacher emphasizes intentionality and deliberation throughout, but see below —JAGL]. "The degree of harmony between the general view and the details determined the literary merit of the author". The interpreter's insight is corrected as the process goes on.

1) Finding the inner unity and theme is not the same as finding the purpose. [See just above - JAGL]. "The more arbitrary the production of the work, the greater the difference between its idea and purpose." If they are equated, purpose becomes a mere means. Schleiermacher warns us against trusting the author's statements in the work [see just above too]. "In many writings what the author declares to be his subject matter is in fact quite subordinate to the actual theme". The purpose is not the same as the idea of the work.

[On this displacement in thematics, see my paper "Retroactive thematization, interaction, and interpretation: the hermeneutic spiral from Schleiermacher to Goffman".—JAGL]

169-  (1) Different kinds of relationships of beginnings to ends in works. (Genres, etc.). There are elements in each which are related to the purpose, as against those which are realted to the idea of the work. [Schleiermacher's version of deconstruction, or his analysis of intended vs. unintended elements in works—JAGL]. The "true beginning" vs. the beginning, the true end vs. the end too, etc. Question of boundaries: the end as the end of a section, vs. the end of the whole. Is the work separable into wholes?

(2) "Accentuated passages" next. Identified through grammatical interpretation, they lead to technical interpretation.

170- Problem of works with no accentuated passages,  of false accents, etc. —on, "until one reaches as it were a point of rest that forms the immediate context," "the more the degree of emphasis deviates from and clashes with the presupposed idea, the more suspect the presupposition." Schleiermacher argues against presupposing imperfection (e.g. lack of unity) for the moment.

171- 2) Finding individuality of composition. This is the first truly subjective aspect. The same idea is presented with different aspects in two authors, etc. This is done in two ways. through immediate intuition [Auschauung] and through comparison. They are to combined. Comparison with others shows the unity of parts in the work, etc.
 Finding the era's context (evident when the author enlarges it creatively). But the individuality of the nation and era is the basis for the author's own individuality. "Therefore, an author is to be understood in terms of his own age." The era's context is found through other works of the age, etc.

172- Sometimes either comparison or intuition must be emphasized. Individuality remains indescribable—it is a "harmony". Main points: the distinctive way of selecting and arranging materials, the inclination to austerity or grace, etc. (Such is "the author's formal literary intention"). It is a function of the individuality of the era.

173- Digressions from the main idea. Their nature and origin, etc.

Friedrich Schleiermacher

The First Address  (August 12 [13], 1829).

175-Three levels of human activity: the mechanical, the experiential, and the artistic.  Also in interpretation.

1) "wherever people converse about common topics in such a way that the speaker always knows almost immediately and with certainty what the other will respond, and language is tossed back and forth as a ball."

2) In schools and universities. But philologians sometimes overlook the best passages of works.

No systematic method of interpretation exists—only compilations of rules (Ernesti)—sometimes ambiguous and arbitrarily arranged. Ast and Wolf are the best.

177- Wolf is asystematic, Ast is systematic. Wolf presents grammar, hermeneutics and criticism as preparatory studies to philology. (Ast sees them as appendixes). In any case, both see that grammar, criticism, and hermeneutics are closely related.

178- Classical works and the Bible are great subjects for hermeneutics. The possibility of hermeneutics contributing an organon for Christian theology—but neither is the essence of the matter. Nor juristic hermeneutics, which is more limited: "in the main it is concerned only with determining the extent of the law, that is, with applying general principles to particular cases which had not been foreseen at the time the principles were formulated."
For Ast, hermeneutics, like all cultural activities, is directed towards the unification of the Greek and Christian life. For Schleiermacher also, but then it is directed owards oriental texts (at the root of both traditions), and to "Romantic literature, which is clearly close to the unity of the two."

179- —Are there any higher origins for all four of them?

Wolf advocates practical investigation (as the ancients), against general and abstruse accounts on the nature and basis of the art. But Schleiermacher sees the need for a theory, "in order that we may determine the extent to which the rules should be applied"—this will always have some influence as practice.

180- (Wolf, Ast, etc.): for Wolf, "hermeneutics is the art of discovering with necessary insight the thoughts contained in the work of an author." This is to be applied to all works—and must have general principles.  The problem of interpreting "something foreign" is relative: "If what is to be unsderstood were so completely foreign to the one trying to understand it that there was nothing in common between the two, then there would be no point of contact for understanding at all." And no reason for hermeneutics either if there is nothing strange, if understanding always took place by itself.

181-  Schleiermache agrees, but the whole central are is for hermeneutics, versus the further restricvtions of Ast and Wolf. "foreign works", "works of genius", etc.— even "newspaper reporters or those who write newspaper advertisements." Hermeneutics is relevant whenever there are strange elements to be made intelligible. "Indeed I must reiterate that hermeneutics is not to be limited to written texts"—it is applied in ordinary conversation too,

182- in fact "whenever we have to understand a thought or a series of thoughts expressed in words." In our native language too, "endeavoring to hear 'between' their words, just as we read between the lines of original and tightly written books." (When gifted people are listened). Hermeneutics involves understanding in an artistic way. These are "two different applications of the same art" We grasp the main points, grasp coherence, and pursue subtle intimations in both books and conversation.

183- Both aspects of hermeneutics need each other. The hermeneutics of conversation is more lively and fresh. The problem is not only one of strange elements—we need to grasp the coherence of what is being said, both in speech and in written texts. Schleiermacher rejects Wolf's definition of the task of hermeneutics as ascertaining the thoughts of the author. This is all right, it is not too stringent a definition, even, but it overlooks many cases. For instance, it ignores investigation into the nature of word-meanings.

184- Sometimes, achieving a "necessary insight" (Wolf) is not possible, and interpreters come to equally probable meanings. And if we see hermeneutics beyond the establishing of factual historical details, to see it also as the grasping of the coherence of a work, of the transition of thoughts, no talk of exactness is possible; "it would be futile to try to pass this account off as a demonstration" even if its convincing.  This is not meant to disparage criticism, as "an assertion is much more than a proof" [Schlegel].

185- "Moreover, there exists a completely different sort of certainty than the critical one for which Wolf is praised, namely, a divinatory certainty which arises when an interpreter delves as deeply as possible into an author's state of mind." E.g. Plato's Ion: interpreters are not equally competent in all areas; they are best on their favourites. And there are kinds of interpreters, one dealing "more with the language and history than with personalities", the second kind "primarily with the observation of persons", with language regarded as an expressive medium. The second class are less susceptible to polemical discussions.

186- But Wolff is sometimes attentive to this; e.g. he requires fluency in classical languages from the interpreter, and knowledge of meter,

187- –if one is to gain "a correct and complete understanding in the higher sense of the term." Therefore, he presents a two-phase entry to the science of antiquity, 1) through grammar and fluency of style; 2) through hermeneutics and criticism.

188- A less demonstrable aspect of the sicnece of interpretation is opened.

Periods in the history of literature. First, formation, development of forms and styles [He also means "registers" —JAGL.] It is necessary to know whether an author belongs to this period, whether he is creating the from from his own resources.

188-89- "However, the more a writer belongs to the seciond period and so does not produce the form but composes works in forms which are already established, the more we must know these forms in order to understand his activity. Even in the initial conception of a work, an author is guided by the established form."

189- The form guides both expression and content; it opens or closes certain areas. Expression and content cannot be fully separated. Forms understood here as helps in creation—a stimulation and guide for the writer; so they must be known by the interpreter.

190- So something more than training in classical languages is necessary (vs. Wolf); "whenever we practice this art, we must remain conscious of both methods, the divinatory and the comparative . . . even the most complex applications of the art of interpretation involve nothing other than a constant shifting from one method to the other. In this interaction the results of the one method must approximate more and more those of the other." The first is more grammatical, the second more psychological; but is each appropriate for either technical or grammatical interpretation?

191- This is not clear in Wolf. [Wolf seems to suggest a divination of grammar - JAGL]. The aim in interpretation is to confine what is not understood within narrower bounds, and to understand the "intimate operations of poets and other artists of language by means of grasping their entire process of composition, from its conception up to the final execution." This is understanding another better than he understood himself; it is achieved through comparison, and divination.

192- Also whenever an expression is truly created by a gifted author. [A highly psychological and punctual notion of creativity.—JAGL]. There exist virtuosi in each kind of interpretation, all right, but still both methods should be used.

193- [It is unclear from Schleiermacher's account how one can divinate what one does not already know. Apparently a thought is intuited and it goes together with a linguistic configuration, —JAGL]—since "there is no thought without words". Cf. children's understanding since the beginning: no comparison is possible; they begin through divination.

193-94- "This divinatory operation, therefore, is original, and the soul shows itself to be wholly and inherently a prescient being." Schleiermacher admires the interpretive energy of children. When we don't understand, we act like children, "we can always begin with the same divinatory boldness", though in later phases more points of comparison are available.

195- But also, "since each person, as an individual, is the not-being of the other, it is never possible to eliminate non-understanding completely." The first human operation is fast and divinatory, later it is slower and more deliberate. Finally, a theory develops (a later phase of hermeneutics). Only when the author is well known guidelines are offered, not "until we have penetrated the language of the author in its objectivity and the process of producing thought, as a function of the life of the individual mind, in relationship to the nature of thinking."
Ast's notion [of the hermeneutic circle:] "the notion that any part of a text can be understood only by means of an understanding of the whole, and that for this reason every explanation of a given element already presupposes that the whole has been understood." This is a central principle to hermeneutics.

The Second Address

The hermeneutic circle applies to many rules (e.g. the rule that the same word is to be interpreted the same way in the same context):
a) to determine the sense of a word within its range of meanings, and in the sentence [This is Schleiermacher's version of the paradigmatic and syntagmatic axes of structuralist linguistics—JAGL.] There is the problem of determining which contexts are similar; it is difficult to decide how far one can go.
b) Also to determine the sense of a sentence in a text. The context modifies the meaning of aphorisms, etc.

197- c) It also applies to combinations of sentences; e.g. the interpretation of irony, etc. —through the way clues in sentences are related to the whole. Other cases too. The problem is to reconstitute the whole to which parts belong, the inherent principle governing a set of sentences.

198- And larger sets of sentences are also conditioned by larger wholes.
We begin with provisional understanding, see each section as a unity, encounter difficulties, and begin again. "It is like starting all over, except that as we push ahead the new material illumines everything we have already treated, until suddenly at the end every part is clear and the whole work is visible in sharp and definite countour." According to Ast, we should begin with a presentiment of the whole.

199- There is the problem of how to gain it. Through prefaces and critids, or thumbing through the book. But this is insignificant, the understanding of the whole must be gained otherwise. There are different kinds of wholes—looser texts, etc. We start from our general acquaintance with genre and author.

200- And "Even when a provisional grasp of the whole is not possible, we may still come to understand the whole from the parts." (Memory is analogous to writing in its work, there is the same role in keeping the whole present—but writing corrupts memory).
The process is spontaneous until understanding takes place by itself, and no hermeneutical operation is performed consciously.

201- In more difficult texts, more shifts from parts to whole will be required. The problem of secondary thoughts: "parts that cannot be fully understood in relation to the overall organization of the text." They do not constitute a whole in relation to the genre, but they do so in relation to the author's individuality.
The most difficult works are the greatest, "each of which in its own way is organized in infinite detail and at the same time is inexhaustible in each of its parts." Interpretation would be complete (which is impossible) if we could treat  these works as the minimal ones.

201-2- The interpreter must be skilled in composition, since the divinatory method is awakened mainly by one's won productivity.

202- Ast still raises the level: "every speech and every text is a particular or part that can be completely understood only in relation to a still larger whole," 1) In the body of literature; 2) In the author's life—to be understood only from the totality of his acts. The reader who knows the author has a better understanding.

203- We return to the work and we view it anew; now we oppose the guidance of other opinions, and rework the initial conception through divination. Critics can help us with parts, not with the whole, with character, etc.

204- Linguistically oriented vs. individualist-oriented interpreters. The latter are more divinatory; they have a deeper understanding of identity and of personal existence; they give attention to secondary thoughts. The work's relation to language recedes into the background. Schleiermacher favours attention to both sides of interpretation;

205- —otherwise, the latter class would become "nebulists", sn the more so the more significant the author was to the development of the language. "And we might advise all those who want to be interpreters to work at both sides, even at the expense of virtuosity in either, in order to avoid one-sidedness."

206- In some areas (classical learning) one side may predominate due to the lack of biographical information.  The text is foremost.

207- The latter method (technical interpretation) seems restricted; it confines us within individual, instead of comparing the work with all literature. The aim is not knowledge of the man itself, as this is a means to achieve an objective consideration of his mode of thinking.  Divination is used more extensively here, but one must be careful: it is only usable when no contradictions are found, "and even then only provisionally."

208- The other method (linguistic interpretation) is predominantly comparative. But there is also a measure of divination, in the ways of posing a question about the work. [Cf. H. G. Gadamer's commentary on interpretive "prejudices" in Truth and Method, esp. chapter 9—JAGL.] Here Schleiermacher distances himself from Ast and Wolf. Ast's ultimate "whole" to be interpreted is "the spirit of Antiquity"

209- —this is a vague notion for Schleiermacher—and is not specifically a linguistic whole. (For Schleiermacher hermeneutics only pertains to linguistics): "hermeneutics deals only with what is produced in language. Schleiermacher oppposes Ast's vagueness aand his use of technical language coming from other spheres.

210- Ast distinguishes the following kinds of understanding:

- historical
- grammatical
- of the spirit:
         - of the individual author
         - of Classical Antiquity as a whole.

Are there any phases, kinds? He speaks of a threefold hermeneutic: of the letter, of the sense, and of the spirit). And for him (Ast), understanding of speech is the basis of interpretation (not the same as interpretation)—which is confusing.

211- For Wolf, hermeneutics is merely "the act of discovering the meaning of the text" (S). A confusing division in Ast: Schleiermacher will consider the explanation of words and of contents only elements of hermeneutics, not the whole; "no explanation, that is, no determination of meaning is correct unless it is supported by an examination of the spirit of the author and the spirit of classical antiquity."

212- Actually, Asts offers us a single hermeneutics, hermeneutics of the sense; that of the letter is not yet hermeneutics, and that of the spirit goes beyond his hermeneutics. Cf. Wolf, but for the latter "we must not only explain the words and the content, but comprehend the spirit of the author as well" (S). Wolf divides interpretation into grammatical, historical and rhetorical (but for Schleiermacher it is best named "aesthetic", including "poetic" too). Five hermeneutics? No: Grammatical and historical interpretation should not be made special and distinct in themselves. .

213- Cf. in theology: "grammatical-historical" versus allegorical and dogmatic interpretation. But these latter may not be justified. Schleiermacher opposes the notion that allegorical meaning is "additional", and opposed to the simple one (versus Ast). "If a passage was intended to be allegorical, then the allegorical meaning is the only one and the simple one." If allegory is unintended, either the interpreter is deliberately applying (not interpreting) the text, or is being inadvertent, and then the interpretation is false. The tradition of "moral" interpretation, etc.— Schleiermacher is against the belief "that there are various kinds of interpretation from which interpreters can freely choose. But were that so, it would no longer be worth the effort to speak or write." The bad influence of these [supplements] in hermeneutics will be removed when it is systematized and hermeneutics is a self-contained discipline.

Friedrich Schleiermacher

Notes to Ms. 3

214- Etc.: Both "linguistic" and "personal" sides of interpretation are necessary, both should reach the same results, both require a knowledge of language and human nature. "The rules are to be regarded as 'methods' for 'recognizing' difficulties rather than as observations for overcoming them."

216- The Bible is not special, neither in its double layer of meaning, nor in inspiration. It requires no special hermeneutics, unless it is one dependent on the general one. Etc. Familiarity with the original audience is necessary. Skepticism is necessary, since assumptions change.

217- "The understanding we draw from the beginning of a text is to be confirmed by the rest." "In order to understand the first part correctly, the whole must have already been understood." Initial misunderstanding is "like a skeleton or outline" A need then to reconstruct the process of the author.
 Quantitative vs. qualitative misunderstanding. An instance of the first: not grasping the whole. Of the second: seeing irony when it is not there.

218-  Kinds of misunderstanding, etc. Priority is given to one side of interrpetation at last. Grammatical interpretation: "The common area of language is the act of using language". New words are also subject to the context in which they appear.  "Condition for undisturbed progress in a sentence is the complete determinability of each element in terms of all others. If this condition can't be met, it is necessary to consult a lexicon."

219- Figurative meaning: "Such expressions as coma arborum are not figurative [??]. To translate the expression as "leaves" is a quantitative misunderstanding. "There are no figurative meanings at all." [!!- JAGL].

The hermeneutic principle must be modified according to the the text. In scientific texts, all text is a detail of a main thought. In lyric, "where the thought is only a means of representation", details are essential. In scientific texts interpretation must try to understand as much as possible all at once. There is a gradation:

lyric - epistolary - didactic - historical - scientific texts.

220- Secondary thoughts are not essential. They are recognized by comparison, etc.

221- On the New Testament. One should not hastily extract passages from their context.

Notes to Manuscript 2

223- Psychological and technical interpretation are closest "when an author stuck to his original decision and avoided all accidental interests."
Differences: Psychological interpretation focuses on how thoughts emerge from the totality of the author's life. Technical interpretation focuses on a particular thought or or intention creating thought. The author's initial decision is important, as it determines the form—although it may later be set aside. Discovering of an author's decision: psychological interpretation tries to understand the realization (meditation / composition).

224- Secondary thoughts result from "the on-going influence of the totality of life." [Schleiermacher places great emphasis on the work's unity resulting from the initial choice made by the author as regards genre.] A work is thus initially adjusted to a genre, even when the genre is invented by the author.

225- Sometimes works show a hidden unity, a hidden purpose. [Again, Schleiermacher's version of deconstruction or emergence of hidden patterns, a hidden coherence, in a work—JAGL]. The relation between form and contnet is important only in art [!!].

226- The case of digressions, in the New Testament, etc.—there may be an intentional lack of coherence too.


Afterword of 1968  (Heinz Kimmerle)

Individuality appears as the basic kernel of Schleiermacher's philosophy.

Histories of hermeneutics by Patsch and Dilthey understate the originality and importance of Schleiermacher's philosophy of language; it is seen as too psychologizing.

According to Dilthey, "The aphorisms present to us . . . the compelling thought from which his hermeneutics is developed: the essence of interpretation is the reconstruction of the work as a living act of the author."

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