What is hermeneutics? I have read the definition a million times but then authors use phrases like theoretical hermeneutics or hermeneutic exegesis, cyclical hermeneutics.

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I honestly cannot wrap my head around what they mean.

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Think of it like midwifery. It’s something that is done to draw something out, or assist someone else in pushing something out. It’s a process, kind of like the way dialectics is a process, of bringing forth something else that is contained within.

Hermeneutics is a study of *interpretation*, encompassing things like the Bible, legal texts, philosophy, and so on.

The *interpretation process* itself becomes a focus of study — its own subject, its own “research method”: accepting that human understanding can be inherently incomplete and even ‘circular’ in its self-formation rather than foundational.

In some ways, hermeneutics has become linked *not* to clarifying interpretive analysis, but to [obscurantism](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obscurantism) that clouds up any meaning behind a waterfall of words.

An often-mentioned scholarly [hoax article](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair) was designed from the ground up to be garbage. It was still accepted and published, with the title: “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity”

Hermeneutics refers to the attribution of meaning to (usually) text. Hermeneutic “scholars” offer opinions about what an original author intended, typically about what the author “meant.” Since the original source is not available to challenge any interpretations, these opinions are not falsifiable. Thus, these opinions can generate more opinions about those opinions. Ad nauseum. Senseless rhetoric, in my opinion.