Hermeneutic and Buddhist Meditations
Edited By David W. Jardine, Christopher Gilham and Graham McCaffrey
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Morning Thoughts on Application
Morning Thoughts ON Application
DAVID W. JARDINE
The text…if it is to be understood properly—i.e., according to the claim it makes—must be understood at every moment, in every concrete situation, in a new and different way. Understanding here is always application. (Gadamer, 1989, p. 309)
Below is an amazing passage in light of Gadamer’s thoughts on application and how interpretation makes little sense “in general.” Its character only starts to appear once it is applied to a topic, a case, a locale, an instance. Only in the face of the specific resistances and demands that the case brings, is interpretation able to “work.” The individual case is thus “fecund,” not only in the sense that its new arrival demands that what has been previously established open itself up to the arriving sense of potency and possibility and demand that the new case brings (thus demonstrating the deep and unavoidable impermanence of such establishments). It is also fecund in the sense that facing and working through such moments of arrival, again and again, is how getting “good” at interpretation happens—it is fecund in relation to my ability to work interpretively. That is why it is always I, myself, who must take this venture. It is also why understanding a hermeneutic study requires precisely such a venture from readers.
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