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hermeneutic Line breaks: her¦men|eut¦ic
Pronunciation: /ˌhəːmɪˈnjuːtɪk/

Definition of hermeneutic in English:


Concerning interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.
Example sentences
  • These are the key areas where the Chinese and Western concerns with hermeneutic openness converge.
  • The Conjure-Man Dies, generically and esoterically, presents demanding self-referential problems for the writer and the reader of such hermeneutic texts.
  • Gadamer's hermeneutic theory of text interpretation is called dialectical hermeneutics, which treats the interpretation of text as a dialogue or fusion of horizons between the interpreter and text.


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A method or theory of interpretation.
Example sentences
  • Though we are accustomed to the idea that readers need to be governed by the right hermeneutic, in fact theory and method mean next to nothing in reading.
  • Because they were very inconsistent, they adopted a new hermeneutic.
  • Among the many achievements of the pontificate of John Paul II, some would say the most important achievement, was to secure the hermeneutic for the interpretation of that great council.


Example sentences
  • To understand the Bible, we have to work through volumes of literary criticism and hermeneutical theory.
  • The digression is far too short and undeveloped to plausibly stand on its own as an apocalypse without such an intertextual hermeneutical link.
  • Attempts at using allegedly relevant texts as moral guidelines today are subject to serious exegetical and hermeneutical constraints.
Example sentences
  • Furthermore, historically speaking, in the church the rejection of the literal truth of Genesis preceded (and hermeneutically laid the groundwork for) the rejection of the literal truth of the Virgin Birth and Resurrection of Christ.
  • By aiming to recover a genealogy of such radical epistemology, Herbert's project in effect aims to undergird a hermeneutically suspicious project via unsuspicious historicism.
  • It also means, moreover, that in disputes about biblical authority nobody has the high ground morally or hermeneutically.


Late 17th century: from Greek hermēneutikos, from hermēneuein 'interpret'.

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