The Book of Life in the hermeneutics of Johann Georg Hamann
In this article, I consider the philosophy of the Book in the context of reflections on hermeneutics in the works of the 18th-century Königsbergian thinker Johann Georg Hamann. Hamann’s bibliocentric hermeneutics treats the ‘philosophy of the Book’ as the question as to whether the experience of truth as such is possible. In the light of his hermeneutics, the fate of ontology is a function of the quality of reading since its dialogical nature directly determines a person’s special hermeneutic responsibility towards all that exists. In being the Book of Life, all that exists communicates with the human being as if it were the Book. It does so within the complex dialectics of objectivation in the epistemological linguisticality of a prophet, a scientist, or a poet and, through them, reaches out to countless generations of the Reader, who is voluntarily or involuntarily involved in the existential fate of the ontological dialogue. The ‘death of the Book’, or the transformation of the Book into a simulacrum, may confirm the diagnosis given by many modern philosophers: the world of culture is turning into an autochthonous flicker of hybrid quotations ruins.
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