Friday, 3 August 2012

Validity in Interpretation… Criticism of the Hermeneutic Circle

HIRSCH, E.D. (1967) Validity in Interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press

“Every interpreter labors under the handicap of an inevitable circularity: all his internal evidence tends to support his hypothesis because much of it is was constituted by his hypothesis. This is another description of the relationship between an intrinsic genre and the implications which it generates. An interpretive hypothesis – that is, a guess about genre – tends to be a self-confirming hypothesis. Thus the distressing unwillingness of many interpreters to relinquish their sense of certainty is the result not of native close-mindedness but of imprisonment in a hermeneutic circle.” (p166)

Hirsch criticises the hermeneutic circle’s circularity of thinking as an imprisonment of thought that can lead to self-confirming hypotheses in the interpreter. 

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