Divination and contemporaneity

different thoughts of Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard on hermeneutics


  • Yufeng Huang The University of Macau


Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard, hermeneutics


This article compares two essential concepts: one is Schleiermacher’s divination, and another is Kierkegaard’s contemporaneity. These concepts cannot be understood without “religiousness”. The first part of this article presents a preliminary study on the convergence and divergence of Schleiermacher and Kierkegaard on religiousness. While Schleiermacher presupposes what being religious is and describes what it is to be a Christian, Kierkegaard focuses on how to be religious and become a Christian. The second part focuses on Schleiermacher’s theory of hermeneutics. A mysterious and intuitive interpretation, namely the divinatory, reveals its similar construction to Schleiermacher’s religiousness. The last part interprets Schleiermacher through Kierkegaard by opposing contemporaneity to divination. While divination can be regarded as a state in which readers become contemporary with the original author, Kierkegaard regards this approach as a leap in the immediacy that focuses on “whatness” instead of “howness”. Compared to Schleiermacher, Kierkegaard introduces an existential mode of understanding.


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