2. Hermeneutics as a Term
92. Hermeneutics as a Term The term hermeneutics refers to the Greek verb herme- neuein that is translated as “interpret.” The Greek hermeios is a related expression which refers to a priest in a Del- phian oracle and primarily to the name Hermes itself, who was a messenger of gods in Greek mythology. The verb hermeneuein can be found in the ﬁ rst interpreters of Hom- er’s Iliad and Odyssey Pindar and Aeschylus but also in Plato’s dialogues Kratylus, Epinomis, or Ión. Also Aristotle named one of his propaedeutic treatises Peri herméneias. Hermes in Greek mythology was not only a god of traders and thieves but also a god of discourse and com- munication; he was assigned the invention of tools that help understand, preserve, and transfer a meaning – speech and writing. Hermes interpreted into human lan- guage what was beyond language. He adapted the divine to a form acceptable for humane intelligence. 10 The meaning contained in the verb hermeneuein can be expressed as “to say,” “to express,” “to interpret,” “to me - diate” which means “to cause understanding,” “to make something understandable,” or “to bring to understand- ing.”
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