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Interpretation

(1,049 words)

Author(s): Phillips, Craig A.
In the history of the human sciences the distinction is often made between the interpretation of an event, object, or text and its meaning. In antiquity people turned to objects in the natural order to find the meaning of the world around them. The entire cosmos seemed to be connected and interrelated in one comprehensive nexus of meaning. The interpretation of one object potentially might reveal larger meanings in the cosmos. For this reason the entrails of animals, marks on the human body, obj…

Literary Criticism

(4,226 words)

Author(s): Phillips, Craig A.
¶ Literary criticism seeks to appraise the value, quality, form, or meaning of literary and other artistic productions or cultural artifacts. “Criticism” is derived from the Gk. verb krinō, “discern, judge.” In some cases literary criticism is synonymous with hermeneutics or other methods of interpretation. In other cases such criticism focuses on more formal issues, including an investigation of the text or artifact’s lexic…

Hermeneutics

(6,781 words)

Author(s): Boraas, Roger S. | Stuhlmacher, Peter | Phillips, Craig A. | Sauter, Gerhard
The original meaning of “hermeneutics” is “translation” in the broadest sense: the authoritative communication of a message (e.g., from God) that needs a mediator, the rendering of a text from one language into another, and the exposition of something said or written with a view to bringing out its meaning. The term is derived from the Greek hermēneuō, “interpret, explain, translate.” The root derives from the name of t…

Postmodernism

(6,691 words)

Author(s): Phillips, Craig A.
1. Terms Attempts to define or delimit the meaning of the term “postmodernism” often falter in light of the lack of sufficient clarity concerning the scope and meaning of “modernism.” It is helpful, then, to distinguish between “modernity” and “postmodernity,” terms that refer to particular historical eras or periods, and “modernism” and “postmodernism,” terms that are used to refer to particular theoretical or philosophical…

Fundamental Theology

(1,763 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Rolf | Phillips, Craig A.
1. Concept “Fundamental theology” is a comprehensive term used to describe reflection that is basic to theology as a whole. The term has been used in a variety of ways, and the shape and scope of this theology often depend on the specific theological conception or issue under discussion at the time. Some theologians employ the term “foundational theology” and “philosophical theology” interchangeably with “fundamental theology,” while others make a distinction between these terms. Fundamental theol…

Language

(2,300 words)

Author(s): Phillips, Craig A.
1. General Definitions Language is a cognitive faculty and behavior that is central to human life. Languages are complex systems that communicate knowledge, information, thoughts, ideas, and human experience. There are many kinds of languages, ranging from the speech of concrete human communities to elaborate symbolic, mathematical, musical, and computational systems. Although researchers continue to question and investigate the possibility of language in nonhuman populations, it is still clear that language separates human beings from all other species. Language is a soc…