5. Hermeneutics and Protestantism
Approaching the end of the Middle Ages, we have to mention the real hermeneutic revolution which was caused by Protestantism. A radical diversion from a tradition and an exclusive tendency to Scripture in how Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) realised it brought fundamental hermeneutic consequences. A principle “sola scripture” (only Scripture) and a conviction that Scripture is “sui ipsius interpres” (its own interpretative key) became the inverse hermeneutic principles of early Protestantism. Postulating of these convictions presupposed a certain renewal of the patristic thinking, for which Scripture was in the first place, and of the conviction concerning its fundamental intelligibility. Luther, as a professor of Biblical exegesis, refused allegoric interpretation and claims that if a reader understands a text correctly it uncovers its own meaning to a reader. The reader’s ← 27 | 28 → understanding is the realisation of Scripture itself. Interpretation of Scripture is its application in practice. Here comes the renewal of understanding of sensus literalis (literary meaning).
After a short time, an effort to clarify the more unintelligible passages by clearer parallel or exclusive urging on the language competence of a reader was not enough for Protestantism. It can be said that a principal weakness of Protestant hermeneutics was its absence. So the non-contradictoriness of the tradition and Scripture and their mutual support without detriment to its primacy was naturally confirmed at the Council of Trent in 1546.
Shortly after that Matthias Flacius Illyricus (1520 – 1575) writes, within the scope of Protestantism, an influential...
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