Hermeneutics

 
Course code:
G_MAHERMN
Period:
Period 1
Credits:
6.0
Language of tuition:
English
Faculty:
Faculteit der Godgeleerdheid
Coordinator:
dr. A.W. Zwiep
Examinator:
prof. dr. M. Moyaert
Lecturers:
dr. A.W. Zwiep
prof. dr. M. Moyaert
Teaching method(s):
Lecture, Seminar
Level:
400

Course objective

You have developed knowledge, understanding and competences in the field
of hermeneutics, with special reference to the interpretation and use of
sacred writings.
(1) You can demonstrate (in writing and/or in oral communication) your
knowledge and understanding of the various definitions of hermeneutics
in current scholarship as a basis for developing an adequate hermeneutic
theory and praxis (= Dublin descriptor 1: knowledge and understanding).
(2) You are competent to apply various hermeneutic theories to a case
study pertinent to your master specialization (= Dublin descriptor 2:
applying knowledge and understanding).
(3) You can integrate hermeneutic theory, where possible and relevant,
into a larger (multi-disciplinary) frame of reference, especially with a
view to the professional community and praxis (i.e. society, academy and
church) and report about this (= Dublin descriptor 3: making
judgements).
(4) You can communicate the conclusions of your research in a position
paper written for a specialist (peer) audience (= Dublin descriptor 4:
communication).
(5) You can show that you are aware of the complexities of
"understanding" (or not-understanding) [hermeneutic gap, text, author,
reader, interpretive community, context, effective history
(Wirkungsgeschichte), your own readerly perspective or stance etc.] and
can deal with them professionally in a largely self-directed
(autonomous) learning process (hermeneutical habitus) (= Dublin
descriptor 5: learning skills).

Course content

Part I: THE DISCOVERY OF ME AS A READER (Zwiep)
Defining the Issues and Exploring the Field || The Discovery of
Historical Consciousness: Dilthey and Gadamer || The Discovery of the
Reader: Reception Aesthetics and Reader-Response Criticism: Iser, Jauss,
Fish, Eco || The Discovery of the Text as World: Structuralism (Rise and
Fall) and Narrative Hermeneutics: Ricoeur || The Discovery of the World
as Text: Post-structuralism and Deconstruction: Barthes, Foucault,
Derrida || Deconstruction and Holy Writ: Caputo. Working Session / Case
Study on Wirkungsgeschichte: "Why Textual Interpretation is NOT
innocent."

Part II: THE DISCOVERY OF THE OTHER AS A READER (Moyaert)
The Discovery of Gender: Feminist Hermeneutics || The Discovery of
Culture: Intercultural hermeneutics || The Discover of Power:
Postcolonial hermeneutics.

Form of tuition

Lectures, working groups, reading assignments, peer review, research
paper.

Type of assessment

Three reflection papers (3 x 10%)
Research paper, depending on specialization (70%, including research
proposal)

Course reading

Arie W. Zwiep, Tussen tekst en lezer 2: Van moderniteit naar
postmoderniteit (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2013, 2e druk 2014)
(for Dutch students, if not studied before), or Anthony C. Thiselton,
Hermeneutics: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), or Stanley
E. Porter and Jason C. Robinson, Hermeneutics: An Introduction to
Interpretive Theory (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011).
Various scholarly articles (accessible via ATLA Religion Database and/or
Canvas).
Highly recommended for reference purposes: Lexikon der Bibelhermeneutik:
Begriffe-Methoden-Theorien-Konzepte. Edited by Oda Wischmeyer. De
Gruyter Texte. Berlin: de Gruyter, 2009 (Hardcover), 2013 (Paperback).
Also helpful: B.H. McLean, Biblical Interpretation and Philosophical
Hermeneutics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

Recommended background knowledge

A basic training in biblical and philosophical hermeneutics at a
BA-level (G_BAHERM or an equivalent course approved by the exam
committee). If this is your very first acquaintance with (general)
hermeneutics, you will much profit from Jens Zimmermann, Hermeneutics: A
Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), and/or
(esp. for biblical hermeneutics) from Bernard C. Lategan,
“Hermeneutics,” in vol. 3 of The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel
Freedman (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 149-154. Further recommended
literature in case of deficiency, Arie W. Zwiep, Tussen tekst en lezer,
vol. 1: Vroege kerk-Schleiermacher (Amsterdam: VU University Press,
2009, 4e druk 2017), Alexander S. Jensen, Theological Hermeneutics, SCM
Core Texts (London: SCM, 2007), Werner G. Jeanrond, Theological
Hermeneutics (London: SCM, 1994), or equivalent literature in
consultation with the teaching staff.
Training in the ancient languages (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Arabic etc.) is
not required; a good command of English is.

Target audience

This is a mandatory course for all MA students: MA Theology (1 year),
Divinity (3 year) and Research Master (2 year). It is also open to
students of EM (= Educatieve Master).

Remarks

As of 2017-2018, "Scriptural Reasoning" is no longer part of this course
but a mandatory part of the course work in period 3.

© Copyright VU University Amsterdam
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