History and Hermeneutics

To the extent that New Testament Studies is a historical discipline, it shares the features of other historical disciplines. Among these features are its own historical-affectedness:

If we are trying to understand a historical phenomenon from the historical distance that is characteristic of our hermeneutical situation, we are always already affected by history. It determines in advance both what seems to us worth inquiring about and what will appear as an object of investigation, and we more or less forget half of what is really there—in fact, we miss the whole truth of the phenomenon—when we take its immediate appearance as the whole truth (Gadamer 300).

New Testament students will, therefore, do well to be aware of how their own historical situation shapes how they read the text.


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Hans Georg Gadamer
Hans Georg Gadamer

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