Daily Archives: July 11, 2010

The Hope of Hermeneutics

A.A Khalid

The great religions of the world all have a central text which the faithful adhere to and interpret constantly as their companion in the quest for meaning. Islam is the proto-type example of this typology of religion, a faith with an unmistakably central and crucial text, the Quran. The Quran the ultimate example of a Sacred text which guides intimately the life of Muslims, offering peace and tranquility and its message of mercy.If one is to refine our understanding of religion to tear down assertions of patriarchy and autocracy then a new framework of Quranic hermeneutics has to be established.

Hermeneutics is quiet simply the philosophy of interpretation, it recognizes human agency in the act of encountering the text. Hence in this respect hermeneutics is known within the Islamic traditions as tafsir operating in a traditional exegetical setting. However, the first to use this concept was German Protestant theologian and philosopher, Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), whose founding role is now widely recognized. Others include the great German philosopher and hermeneuticist Gadamer, a modern exponent of hermeneutics. The art of interpretation is a delicate act with many factors and variables in play with the assumptions and presumptions of the reader, the intricacy of the text and the interaction of the two. Continue reading

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