Study Guide

Wolfgang Iser - The Hermeneuticalists

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The Hermeneuticalists

This group held fast to Reader Response's deep roots in hermeneutics and used "Don't ever forget where you came from" as its motto. Weekly meetings honored "Hermeneutist of the Week," and involved close readings, open fora on how to interact with a text, and impromptu dialogues for sharing interpretive strategies.

Hans Blumberg


Hans wasn't chosen just because he was German and a hermeneutist; he was also a big-shot philosopher. Blumberg was a valuable leader for this group because he was way obsessed with metaphors—and everyone knows that metaphors invite all sorts of fun and, okay, sometimes silly interpretations. Although he rarely actually chose "fun" texts—he was really into Husserl and Greek stuff—he could always provide comic relief by riffing on Plato's cave. High hilarity.

Hans-Georg Gadamer 

Meditation Leader

Another German hermeneutist—and another Hans! This guy had some serious street cred because he studied under Heidegger himself. Gadamer's whole idea was: "Never force it." He believed that readers needed to treat texts like gentle babes and not like wild stallions to be tamed. To train readers to practice gentle hermeneutics, he would lead guided meditation that helped meaning unfold for the reader. Incense, Iyengar yoga equipment, and white noise machines were involved.

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