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Conducting Hermeneutic Research

From Philosophy to Practice


Nancy J. Moules, Graham McCaffrey, James C. Field and Catherine M. Laing

Conducting Hermeneutic Research: From Philosophy to Practice is the only textbook that teaches the reader ways to conduct research from a philosophical hermeneutic perspective. It is an invaluable resource for graduate students about to embark in hermeneutic research and for academics or other researchers who are novice to this research method or who wish to extend their knowledge. In 2009, the lead author of this proposed text was one of three co-founders of the Canadian Hermeneutic Institute. The institute was created as a means of bringing together scholars of hermeneutics and hermeneutic research across disciplines in creative dialogue and conversations of philosophy, research, and practice. An outcome of this was the launch of the Journal of Applied Hermeneutics, with Nancy J. Moules serving as Editor. The work of the institute and the journal make clear that people (both students and professors) seek practical guidance on how to conduct hermeneutic research. This book is a must read for this audience.
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Foreword: The Wisdom of Hermeneutics


I am pleased and honored to offer a word in advance to Conducting Hermeneutic Research. This is a paradoxical invitation for me because in radical hermeneutics everything turns on saying “come” to the coming of what we cannot see coming, of the unforeseeable. So without trying to help the reader see too much in advance, without trying to anticipate everything, let me say that what I find so precious in Conducting Hermeneutic Research is that it catches hermeneutics in the act. It brings home in the most vivid way just what hermeneutics really is—in the concrete. Its authors are concretely engaged and hermeneutically enlightened practitioners who are describing the difficult and delicate conditions under which concrete hermeneutical work takes place. How are research and writing conducted in such a way as not to become absorbed in a data-driven and objectifying culture? How to show that more is given than data without having one’s work dismissed as random, subjectivistic, and impressionistic? How to show that hermeneutics practices a “rigor” that is not reducible to mathematical “exactness,” to invoke a distinction from Edmund Husserl (that is put to work in Chapter Nine)? The task these authors take on is to portray the special place of practice in hermeneutics, to depict the practical wisdom that hermeneutics requires, indeed the practical wisdom that hermeneutics is. ← ix | x →

As practitioners, the authors understand in their bones what the ancients meant when they said that only individuals exist, while universals are...

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