Hermeneutics (Education)

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  • The theory and technique of interpretation. The word is derived from the Greek god Hermes, whose task it was to communicate messages from the gods to ordinary mortals. The development of hermeneutics is owed to the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher through the practice of scriptural interpretation. Other philosophers such as Heidegger, Gadamer, and Dilthey contributed significantly to hermeneutical studies. Dilthey, especially, can be associated with broadening the scope of hermeneutics beyond texts to encompass the study of human behavior and everyday experiences. Dilthey thus inspired generations of interpretivist ideographic researchers, who believe that meaning can only be recovered and understood in context. For more information, see Bleicher (1980) and Ricoeur (1981).

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