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Hermeneutics Resources | True Freethinker

You may need to familiarize yourself with Hermeneutics if you think that Hermeneutics refers to that guy from the Munsters.


That is not Hermeneutics, that is Herman Munster (incidentally, one childhood memory of mine is watching the Munsters in Peru whilst visiting my aunt and uncle—yeah, but ask me to remember something important: oi vey!).

So, let us get things straight: Hermeneutics has been called the art and science of biblical interpretation and is thus known as a method by which to properly interpret the Bible yet, this is not (technically) accurate.

Hermeneutics is not some method cooked up by Bible thumpers in order to allow them to say, “Out of context!” whenever someone brings up a rather unpleasant text. Technically, one should refer to Biblical Hermerneutics when making art and science of biblical interpretation type of statements.

In fact, the term “Hermeneutics” is derived from the Greek hermeneutike with reference to the Greek god Hermes whose task was to relay messages from the gods. Where this to be a Judeo-Christian invention perhaps it would have been called angelutics (as “angel” refers to messenger).

Hermeneutics is a method whereby to properly interpret—make clear, elucidate—any text and it is a method that is therefore applied to the Bible as well.

Hermeneutics seeks to provide a manner by which to understand that which a text, what an author, is telling to us rather than having us read a text and make of it whatever we please. It involves considering historical context, cultural context, grammatical context, etc.

It asks the basic five “W” questions of journalism: what, when, where, why and how—that is a little journalism joke—very little :o)

Here is an example of the importance of historical/cultural context: why is it that people were astonished at the manner in which Jesus spoke?:

“No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46).

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes (Matthew 7:28-29).

Well, there it is, the context tells us that it was because he did not speak as did the scribes.

Yes, but how did the scribes speak?

Well, you can find about 10,000 examples in the Judaism (Rabbinic, Messianic, etc.) section. The manner in which they spoke was to make statements such as, “Rabbi so and so says that Rabbi so and so said thus and such in the name of Rabbi so and so…”

This is a (not necessarily fallacious) appeal to authority: I am not merely saying this, expressing my personal opinion, but am saying it according to the elucidation of one authority after another. This is meant to lend weight to the conclusion.

Jesus did not do this, He did not even make statements that were prefaced by, “Thus saith the LORD” but He merely said, “I say unto you…” and this simply blew people way.

Well, one could write volumes on Hermeneutics methodology and fascinating examples as to its application and many have done just that so I will offer the following links and boos for further reading:


My own, How Do You Read the Bible and Show Me the Scripture!!! …context…context…context… and The HOOK

Greg Koukl, Never Read a Bible Verse and Ignorant & Unenlightened

James Sire, Scripture Twisting Methods of the Cults

Apologetics Index, The Eight Rules of Bible Interpretation

Ron Rhodes, Rightly Interpreting the Bible

Andrew S. Kulikovsky, Biblical Hermeneutics – The Science of Interpreting the Bible

Bob Smith, Basics of Bible Interpretation

Daniel B. Wallace, The Holy Spirit and Hermeneutics

Hermeneutics 101: Old Testament Narratives

Phil Fernandes, Hermeneutics


Find various Hermeneutics books at this Amazon link.


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