Sunday, August 4, 2013

Hermeneutics and Interpretation of Religious Texts

Interpreting religious texts is quite a varied approach, hermeneutics is the way we approach and interpret these texts (philosophical texts too).

Hermeneutics comes from the Greek "hermÄ“neutikos - (an) expert in interpretation".

The major approaches to interpreting religious texts I have been looking into are:
  • Religious interpretations: Christian (Orthodox, Catholic, Evangelical...) and other religions which interpret texts in accordance with their dogmas and revealed beliefs, to read through divine revelation.
  • Historical interpretations: Historians explore religious texts through looking into the possible religious influences into that text (external or internal), whether there are political contexts that may affect the readings (i.e Book of Revelations in reaction to events in the Roman Empire).
  • Esoteric interpretations: Kabbalistic interpretations using gematria or a numbering system that uses the Hebrew (Imperial Aramaic) script to interpret words thereby giving secret meanings. Hidden meanings of words and texts understood by mystics/esotericists serve to further direct this understanding or interpretation.

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