Schleiermacher: Hermeneutics and Criticism: And Other Writings

Front Cover
Cambridge University Press, Nov 26, 1998 - Philosophy - 284 pages
2 Reviews
The founding text of modern hermeneutics. Written by the philosopher and theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher as a method for the interpretation and textual criticism of the New Testament, it develops ideas about language and the interpretation of texts that are in many respects still unsurpassed and are becoming current in the contemporary philosophy of language. Contrary to the traditional view of Schleiermacher as a theorist of empathetic interpretation, in this text he offers a view of understanding that acknowledges both the structurally and historically determined aspects of language and the need to take account of the activity of the individual subject in the constitution of meaning. This volume offers the text in a new translation by Andrew Bowie, together with related writings on secular hermeneutics and on language, and an introduction that places the texts in the context of Schleiermacher's philosophy as a whole.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Selected pages


Further reading
Note on the text and the translation
Hermeneutics and Criticism
General Hermeneutics
Schematism and Language

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1998)

The son of a devout Reformed clergyman, Friedrich Schleiermacher was born at Breslau, studied theology at Halle, and was ordained in 1790. In 1796 he became a preacher in Berlin, where he came under the influence of Fichtean idealism through his close association with Friedrich Schlegel. Schleiermacher became famous through the publication of what is still his best-known work, On Religion: Speeches to Its Cultured Despisers (1799). In this he argued that religion is not a matter of theoretical knowledge (whether metaphysical or historical) but rather of the "feeling of absolute dependence" through which the individual self relates itself to the whole of existence. During the next decade he produced a series of works on religion and ethics, and a translation of Plato's dialogues. He held professorships in theology at Halle (1804--10) and Berlin (after 1810). Schleiermacher's greatest theological work was The Christian Faith (1821--22). His philosophical works are some of the best products of the romantic movement. His ethical theory is, broadly speaking, in the Kantian tradition but argues for a more flexible conception of ethical norms than Kant's, making allowances both for cultural diversity and for the idiosyncrasies of the individual personality. His religious thought is characterized by an emphasis on feeling and an attempt to show the affinity of religious with aesthetic feeling. His theology makes the person of the Redeemer central to Christian doctrine. Schleiermacher's theological writings not only emphasize the importance of pious feeling but also show great sensitivity to the empirical history of Christianity and rigorous scriptural scholarship. Through the latter, Schleiermacher made important original contributions to the theory of textual interpretation, and can be considered a forerunner of Dilthey in the "hermeneutic" tradition in philosophy.

Bibliographic information