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Invitation to an International Conference

Re-Learning to Be Human for Global Times:

The Role of Hermeneutics in Philosophy and Religious Studie



  ASEAN Studies Center, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University


Department of Philosophy and Religion, Assumption University


Bangkok, Thailand

August 3-4, 2018




Since the 17th century hermeneutics has become a “science” of interpretation of old texts, particularly religious scriptures, it has evolved from a methodology or a technique of “making sense of things,” into the translation or transformation of unfamiliar materials into a familiar language and thence into a process of mediating meanings that proceed from the objective outside to the inside or hidden signification; from a text-based discipline to a fundamental aspect of existence of being. 

Hermeneutics as a theoretical discipline has involved different stages and gone through serious disagreements, debates and developments. Much has been written and discussed about this subject, yet still no fixed definitions or conceptions have been forthcoming. Whatever it may be, all agree that the central concern of hermeneutics is about understanding and interpretation. Indeed, it is the Greek god, Hermes who is the messenger between gods and men and communicates what has been said by either. 

Hermeneutics has its mythical-religious origin, functioning as an interpretation of the sacred texts. It plays an important mediating role, especially in the allegorical interpretation of myth or religious texts; for behind what is literally uttered there are always something more or other, something hidden or beyond. This always leaves more than can be exactly and precisely expressed in written form. Thus, hermeneutic interpretation is a way of discovery which requires efforts to understand and to make sense of something literal or unfamiliar. It is a way of understanding the other in a broad sense: either a scripture or a sacred text, a people or a country, a culture or a religion. The issue of the otherness of the other becomes unavoidable in all aspects of human life. 

Indeed, the other is indispensible in hermeneutic interpretation; without the other, there is no hermeneutics. It is hermeneutics which raises the question of understanding in philosophy for the first time and unfolds this question continuously throughout the centuries. Hermeneutic interpretation is to understand the other in the other’s perspective. This is not only important, but also necessary. It requires empathy and understanding (Verstehen) and goes beyond one’s own visual and taken-for-granted point of view. This is the significant contribution of hermeneutics in understanding the other, whether it is another text, or another people or culture, religion or civilization.  

In these complex and pluralistic global times the importance of “hermeneutics” has urged us to rethink and reevaluate human communities in the field of philosophy and religious studies.  For the mode of proper understanding and adequate interpretation of what has been understood is not merely scientific, but belongs to human experience of the sacred and the secular. It is not only concerned with verification of knowledge, which can satisfy the methodological ideal of science, but also about understanding of human relations to the world. Thus, it resists any attempt to be reinterpreted in terms of scientific method, because it is connected to modes of experience that lies outside sciences.  

According to H.-Georg Gadamer hermeneutics is an art and not mechanical process. With its rich experience in diverse religious life in South East Asia the current interest in hermeneutics of philosophy and religious studies can develop a unique investigation and make a profound contribution to help understand other peoples, other cultures and other religious traditions in this multiculturalist world today.



Nature and characteristics of hermeneutics studies

Philosophical understanding of hermeneutics

The role of hermeneutics in religious studies

The varieties of hermeneutical studies

Hermeneutical understanding of other cultures and religions

The implications of hermeneutics in diverse society



Please send 300 words and a brief CV to Dr. Lampong Klomkul [lklomkul@yahoo.com],  Tikumporn Dhammajoto Rodkhunmuang [lek.tikumporn@gmail.com] and [cua-rvp@cua.edu] by May 20, 2018. 20 minutes will be given to each presentation of accepted papers followed by 20 minutes discussion. Well-developed papers will be considered to be published by the RVP in its publication series "Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Change."



There is no registration fee. The local organizer will provide local transportation and accommodations for 3 days. Participants will cover their own air travel.



Dr. Lampong Klomkul & Tikumporn Dhammajoto Rodkhunmuang

ASEAN Studies Center
Mahachulalongkornrajavidayalaya University
Ayutthaya, Thailand
E-mail: lklomkul@yahoo.com & lek.tikumporn@gmail.com







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