Baltic accent

2019 Vol. 10 №4

Back to the list Download the article

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.


Gilmanov, V., 2003. Germenevtika «obraza» I. G. Gamana i Prosveshchenie Kalinin­grad [Hermeneutics of Image by J. G. Hamann and Enlightenment]. Kaliningrad (in Russ.).

Gilmanov, V., 2005. Crusades of J. G. Hamann against Enlightenment. Vestnik MGU. Ser.: Filosofia [Bulletin of Moscow State University. Ser.: Philosophy], 3, pp. 14—26 (in Russ.).

Gilmanov, V., 2013. J. G. Gaman i I. Kant: bitva za chistyi razum [J. G. Hamann and I. Kant: Struggle for Pure Reason]. Kaliningrad (in Russ).

Kant, I., 1994. The Answer for the Question: What is Enlightenment? In: I. Kant. Sobranie sochinenii [Collected Works]. Vol. 8. Moscow: Choro. pp. 29—37 (in Russ.).

Eco, U., 1987. The limits of Interpretations. Munich, Vienna: Carl Hanser Verlag.

Hamann, J., 1949—1957. Collected Works. Vienna: Thomas Morus Presse im Ver­lag Herder Wien.

Hamann, J., 1965. Correspondence. Vol. 5. Wiesbaden: Insel.

Ricoeur, P., 1974. Philosophische und theologische Hermeneutik. In: P. Ricoeur, E. Juengel. Metapher. Zur Hermeneutik religiöser Sprache. Munich: Kaiser.

Ricoeur, P., 1974. Metapher. To the Hermeneutics of religious language. Munich: Kai­ser.