Hermeneutics and Augustine

 

With regard to hermeneutics, I’ve found these lines from Augustine quite interesting to think about.

 

Is there only one objective meaning in the text or is there more to it than that? What do you make of the passage below and how do you relate given your hermeneutical stance? Would you care to join the discussion, either here or by commenting on Facebook?

Thank you

 

“Having listened to all these divergent opinions and weighed them, I do not wish to bandy words, for that serves no purpose except to ruin those who listen. The law is an excellent thing for building us up provided we use it lawfully, because its object is to promote the charity which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience and unfeigned faith, and I know what were the twin precepts on which our Master made the whole law and prophets depend. If I confess this with burning love, O my God, O secret light of my eyes, what does it matter to me that various interpretations of those words are proffered, as long as they are true? I repeat, what does it matter to me if what I think the author thought is different from what someone else thinks he thought? All of us, his readers, are doing our utmost to search out and understand the writer’s intention, and since we believe him to be truthful, we do not presume to interpret him as making any statement that we either know or suppose to be false. Provided, therefore, that each person tries to ascertain in the holy scriptures the meaning the author intended, what harm is there if a reader holds an opinion which you, the light of all truthful minds, show to be true, even though it is not what was intended by the author, who himself meant something true, but not exactly that?” (Augustine’s Confess. XII.27, pp. 288-289, M. Boulding translation).

Hermeneutics and Augustine” üzerine bir yorum

  1. It’s almost like Augustine is heading toward a sort of properly basic way of interpretation.

    That is, if a person says they had dream XYZ there is no way to refute they had XYZ. In fact, we know they precisely had XYZ. Nothing more or less.

    Great post!

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