This unit explores issues in hermeneutics from a philosophical perspective, keeping in mind the engagement of that perspective with the theological in the interpretation of biblical and other texts. Following a survey of traditional hermeneutic models, the unit addresses modern developments, considering Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, Gadamer and Ricouer, and the contributions of structuralists, poststructuralists and others, while engaging the following questions. What meanings of the term "hermeneutics" link antiquity to modernity? What accounts of truth and meaning emerge from the definitions of hermeneutics that modern philosophy has sequentially offered? Included here are issues of how textual meaning might be authoritatively determined, and whether an adequate "explanation of explanation" is to be had.

Unit code: AP3609P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Philosophy

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

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Learning outcomes


Articulate fundamental issues attending textual interpretation.


Distinguish modern interpretive approaches from traditional methods


Discuss the particular challenges confronting biblical interpretation


Identify a range of interpretive approaches to texts


Critically discuss the relationship between theological stances and interpretive approaches


Lectures and Tutorials; Online module with guided online discussion fora.

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bleicher, Josef (ed). Contemporary Hermeneutics: Hermeneutics as Method, Philosophy, and Critique. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980.
  • Caputo, John D. Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction and the Hermeneutic Project. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.
  • Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Diane Michelfelder and Richard Palmer, eds. Dialogue and Deconstruction: The Gadamer- Derrida Encounter Albany, NY: Suny Press, 1989..
  • Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008.
  • Gadamer, Hans-Georg. Truth and Method. Trans. Willliam Glen Doepel. 2nd Ed. London: Sheed and Ward, 1979.
  • Heidegger, Martin. Being and Time: A Translation of Sein and Zeit. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. Albany, NY: SUNY, 1996.
  • Jasper, David. A Short Introduction to Hermeneutics. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
  • Jensen, Alexander S. The Hermeneutics Reader. Ed. Kurt Mueller- Vollmer. New York: Continuum, 2006.
  • Palmer, Richard E. Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1969. (recommended for purchase)
  • Ricouer, Paul. * Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning*. Fort Worth, TX: Texas Christian University Press, 1976.
  • Schneiders, S.M. The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture. San Francisco: Harper, 1991.
  • Schmidt, Lawrence K. Understanding Hermeneutics. Stocksfield, UK: Acumen, 2006.
  • The Bible and Culture Collective (eds.) The Postmodern Bible. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995.
  • Thistleton, Anthony C. Hermeneutics: An Introduction. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009.
  • Tracy, D. Plurality and Ambiguity: Hermeneutics, Religion, Hope. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987.
  • Wilson, Barrie A (compiler). About interpretation: from Plato to Dilthey: A Hermeneutic Anthology. New York: Peter Lang, 1989.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay (2200 words)

0 40.0

Essay (2200 words)

0 40.0

Essay (2200 words)

0 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2019-02-04 09:04:36 +1100