Hermeneutics refers to the methodology and theory of interpreting language, primarily linguistic text. In the book Hermeneutics, Palmer uses rhetoric and different philosophies of communication to expound issues concerning theology. The view of understanding involves the philological methodology and questions the nature of historical knowledge, the philosophy of language, and the basis of interpretation in existential experience. A key driver to writing this book entails the urge to seek the relevance of the Bultimannian theory of biblical interpretation in understanding the literary theory.
The book provides one with knowledge regarding the philosophy of language as an essential tool for interpretation. The philosophy of language studies the nature of human language, its use, and origin, the truth and meaning of the language. Hirsch propagates that the norm should understand the speaker’s intentions to ascertain the validity of any interpretations of the message (Palmer 60). Another contribution of the book towards personal knowledge on rhetoric and philosophy of communication is the authors’ call for an open mind when dealing with the bible. The author uses Dilthey’s historical relativism, which states that one should not use a single chronological age to judge another. In this writing, Palmer calls for readers not to consider any literary work through the standards of the present world. This ideology plays an essential part in educating the readers on the importance of paying attention to historical and cultural transitions in understanding the history of communication.
Another significance of the book is that it calls for readers first to seek the proof then later seek the meaning to understand communication. The books also advance personal knowledge on communication by necessitating readers to pay attention to translation instead of analysis. A focus on translation to determine the reality is paramount to the literary interpretation of texts or words. The authors state that translation gives one the ability to uncover obscure, unfamiliar, or strange meaning into something clear to the present language.
The book is guided by scholarly questions which different authors attempt to answer within the course of the book. One fundamental literary question seems persistent throughout the book and includes the question of how does one knows. For instance, the book seeks how one can understand the texts on the bible. How can one see the bible, a book from a distant world, space, language, and time (Palmer 27). Individuals need to appreciate the difference in time horizons and develop solutions to deal with the issue instead of sweeping the problem under the rug. A critical translation of the text to eradicate any unfamiliarity is proposed as essential to understanding the bible. A necessary translation interprets the reader to a language that holds significant meaning to the world today. The position taken by the author is, however, limited to certain aspects like biasness that might affect the validity of the translation.
The book gives readers crucial communication skills and tactics to employ in day-to-day activities. Through the use of different metaphors like “souping up” and “sweeping under the rug,” the author indicates different styles one can showcase in the classroom to become more persuasive or attract listeners’ attention (Seargeant et al.). The book grants one with understanding skills that are essential in the marketplace. Understanding helps create harmony with employees, customers, and suppliers, plus all the parties within the supply chain. According to the book, Gadamer notes that the key to understanding is not control or manipulation rather openness and participation (Palmer 215). These assertions call for individuals to remain open and enrol in activities that improve the experience between critical players within the marketplace.
Palmer, Richard Edward. Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger, and Gadamer. Northwestern University Press, 2000.
Seargeant, Philip, et al. “Persuasive Language.” The Routledge Handbook of English Language Studies, 1st ed., Routledge, Abingdon, Oxon, 2018.