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Afterthinking Theology as Hermeneutics

Afterthinking Theology as Hermeneutics

Postscript Afterthinking Theology as Hermeneutics
God Being Nothing
Ray L. Hart
University of Chicago Press

The figure of the hermeneutical circle is problematic on the grounds that a circle can only bring one back to where one started, with a slight enhancement of understanding. The hermeneutical spiral, by contrast, is a figure that itself embodies hermeneutics as a thinking in which neither of the two terms nor their relation is fixed; rather, the relation is unfinished because the circuiting motion proceeds through differing planes. The inverse relation between intension and extension is what makes the hermeneutical spiral move. God godself in extension is enduringly indeterminate, and any presentation or re-presentation of God in intension, qua sign or trace, is temporally determinate and subject to both the ravages and the increments of time. The mental mood of the person who reflects on God and the human person is a Stimmung, a voicing mood, of relinquishing and releasement, in which one hears the receding sound of the relinquished, the tonality of releasement. One relinquishes the blind dogmatisms of the Abrahamic religions and the vain certitudes of the modern natural sciences. This thought-experiment has sought to interrelate two mood-worlds, that of the modern natural sciences and that of the human religious enchantments, each with its own imaginary.

Keywords:   hermeneutical circle, hermeneutical spiral, afterthinking theology, intension, extension, releasement, Stimmung

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