This major new Handbook provides a definitive state-of-the-art review to political theory, past and present. It offers a complete guide to all the main areas and fields of political and philosophical inquiry today by the world's leading theorists. The Handbook is divided into five parts which together serve to illustrate: - the diversity of political theorizing - the substantive theories that provide an over-aching analysis of the nature/or justification of the state and political life - the political theories that have been either formulated or resurgent in recent years - the current state of the central debates within contemporary political theory - the history of western political thought and its interpretations - traditions in political thought outside a western perspective. The Handbook of Political Theory marks a benchmark publication at the cutting edge of its field. It is essential reading for all students and academics of political theory and political philosophy around the world.

History and the Interpretation of Texts

History and the interpretation of texts

Hermeneutics – the art of interpretation – takes its name from Hermes. In Greek mythology Hermes was the winged-foot messenger of the gods and something of a trickster to boot. Like the Sphinx and the Oracle at Delphi, he relayed messages from the gods in an encoded and allusive way, typically in the form of riddles, leaving it to his human hearers to interpret the meaning and significance of any message (Palmer, 1969: 13). Sometimes they got it right, and sometimes not – often with disastrous results.

Students of political theory do not attempt to decode and interpret the meaning of messages of divine origin. But we do, of necessity, attempt to understand messages sent ...

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