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Buber's Hermeneutic Horizon

Buber's Hermeneutic Horizon

(p.16) Chapter One Buber's Hermeneutic Horizon
Aesthetics of Renewal
University of Chicago Press

Buber's approach to Verstehen, “understanding,” is manifestly inspired by Dilthey's hermeneutic theory. On the basis of his mentor's doctrine of psychological understanding of the lived experience animating a “text,” Buber developed a distinctive hermeneutic. Elaborating upon the hermeneutic technique of reliving as an act of retelling (Nacherzählen), he describes the emotive and religious meaning informing a “text.” He was concerned not with reconstructing the historical context but rather with reanimating the spiritual core of Hasidism, and deemed it necessary to purge the textual transmission of the teachings of Rabbi Nahman from literary distortions in order to recover their authentic and abiding spirit. Buber applied the same method to the Hasidic sayings, parables, and legends represented in Legende. The amplification of some basic notions of Dilthey's theory enabled him to develop his own hermeneutic approach to the representation of religious experience.

Keywords:   Dilthey, hermeneutic theory, retelling, Hasidism, religious experience, text, Martin Buber

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